Our Zell Fellows Venture Further

Introduced during the 2013-14 academic year and funded by Sam Zell, the Zell Fellows Program at the Kellogg School of Management is designed to be a unique, applied entrepreneurial experience for a select number of MBA candidates. The program includes New Venture, Acquisition & Ownership, and Healthcare tracks, and will include a pilot of an Emerging Markets track for the 2017-18 academic year.

Zell Fellows are known not only for their intellect, drive and entrepreneurial passion, but also for their humility, collegiality and desire to support other aspiring entrepreneurs. The program provides mentoring, leadership coaching, and guidance that will help each Fellow attain personal as well as professional goals. Whether you’re looking to launch a startup or acquire an existing venture, the Zell Fellows Program offers the tools, resources and community you need to chart your entrepreneurial career.

Kellogg Zell Fellows are also a part of the larger Zell Global Entrepreneur Network, a network of entrepreneurs throughout the world who were also selected to be part of the program. In these few years since the program began, the Zell Fellows program has built a reputation that brings students to Kellogg for the potential of participating in career-changing opportunities.

In 2016, the Kellogg Zell Fellows program received the “Outstanding Contribution to Venture Creation” award from the Greater Consortium of Entrepreneurial Centers.
The deadline for applications is October 2, 2017, 12:00 p.m. Applications will only be accepted electronically, and late applications will not be accepted.

Zell Fellows Stats

Venture Startups

Venture Funding Raised

Venture Jobs Created

Acquisition Pursuits

Featured Fellow Successes


Tyler Wanke ’15 MMM


Mathew Elenjickal ’14 2YMBA


Saumya ’17 2YMBA

New Venture Track

The New Venture track was the original track of the program and is designed for students interested in creating lasting value as they start their own ventures. Businesses that students are working on will be as market-ready and fundable as possible by graduation, but ultimately, the program aims to launch entrepreneurs.

Program Highlights

Among other experiences, students in the New Venture track of the program benefit from:
  • Weekly speakers willing to share their particular expertise
  • Visits and facility tours to area startups
  • Community building activities such as a Second City improv workshop and a visit to the Greater Chicago Food Depository
  • A full leadership coaching program, including a leadership assessment tool and personalized leadership coaching
  • Mentorship and feedback from the Zell Council
  • An annual trek to Israel to visit entrepreneurs and build community with Fellows from IDC Herzliya
  • Conference attendance

Full Listing of New Venture Fellows

2016-17 Cohort
Saumya ’17 / Kheyti
Nathan Cooper ’17 / Wise Apple
Rachael Feuerborn ’17 / Finch
Roshni Khurana ’17 / The Right Hook
Jared Scharen ’17 / eRetirements
Tiffany Smith ’17 / Tiltas
Carolyn Snider ’17 / Well-Tended
Eduardo Uriarte Ruiz ’17 / Kairos
Rachel Xanttopoulos ’17 / Daybreak

2015-16 Cohort
Tushar Garg ’16 / FlyHomes
Jordan Hollander ’16 / Citykey
Nidheesh Patel ’16 / Carvnient
Blair Pircon ’16 / The Graide Network
Bobby Powers ’16 / SharEd
Justin Saeheng ’16 / IFM Technologies 
Beth Santos ’16 / Wanderful
Asaf Segev ’16 / Syteful 
Rebecca Sholiton ’16 / Wise Apple

2014-15 Cohort
Lorena Arathoon ’15 / Snackerie
Jeremy Bolian ’15 /Acentive
Jesse Chang ’16 / MDAR Technologies, Inc.
Michael Jung ’15 / UroProx
Stephen Lane ’16 / FlyHomes
Priya Mathew ’15 / Practico
Luciana Silva De Oliveira ’15 / New Hope Ecotech
Kieren Patel ’16 / Opticent Health
Gaurav Shenai ’15 / Touchtrail
Tyler Wanke ’15 / Innoblative

2013-14 Cohort
Ty Benefiel ’14 / MeterGenius
Christopher Chon ’14 / Leonard & Church
Mathew Elenjickal ’14 / Four Kites
Vaibhov Goel ’14 / Tuplee 
Travis Granger ’14 / Arbyl
April (Yong Kyung) Kim ’14 / Chatting Cat
Daniel Klein ’15 / REPP
Jeremy O’Briant ’14 / License Buddy
Jason Sandler ’15 / Innoblative

Acquisition & Ownership Track

The Zell Fellows Program is designed to be a unique, applied entrepreneurial experience for a select number of Kellogg MBA students. The program combines resources, mentoring, experiences and community to support student-entrepreneurs. The Acquisition & Ownership track is designed for students wanting to prepare for acquiring a company sometime in the future. Students interested in this track may be interested in the search fund model, working as an entrepreneur in residence at a PE firm, becoming involved in their family business, or another of the many paths to owning a company.

Program Highlights

Among other experiences, students in the Acquisition & Ownership track of the program benefit from:
  • Professionals discussing the various paths to entrepreneurship for those not starting a new venture
  • Subject matter experts discussing the how-to’s of acquiring and running a business
  • Visits and facility tours to growth ventures in the area
  • Community building activities such as a Second City improv workshop and a visit to the Greater Chicago Food Depository
  • A full leadership coaching program, including a leadership assessment tool and personalized leadership coaching
  • Professional sales coaching
  • Mentorship and feedback from the Zell Council
  • An annual trek to visit growth companies and build community within the cohort
  • Conference attendance

Full Listing of Acquisition & Ownership Fellows

2016-17 Cohort
Ayu Djaputra ’17
Blair Kessler ’17
Matthew Dellen ’17
Matthew McGarry ’17
Stanley Rodos ’17
Ashish Rohil ’17
Jay Shah ’17

2015-16 Cohort
Shaun Currie ’16
Ray Fan ’16
John Griffin ’16
Tommy Jackson ’16
Elise Krieger ’16
Will Wright ’16
Margaret Yeager ’17

Healthcare Track

In 2016-17, a Healthcare track was added to the program. Students starting healthcare ventures face special challenges that are materially different than students in the other tracks of the program, including regulatory and FDA issues, advanced R&D, intellectual property, strategic partnerships, licensing, etc. The Healthcare track aims to support the needs of students starting these ventures.

Program Highlights

In addition to the program benefits afforded the New Venture Fellows, students in the Healthcare track of the program receive:
  • Membership at MATTER, a community of entrepreneurs working on tech-enabled healthcare innovation
  • A personalized mentorship and education program individually developed for each Fellow by the team at MATTER
  • Regulatory guidance from domain experts

Full Listing of Healthcare Fellows

2016-17 Cohort
Barath Anandakumar ’17 / ActiWit
Gal Ben Dor ’17 / Getoo
Todd Cruikshank ’17 / Surgical Innovation Associates
Smit Naik ’17 / Actualize Therapy
Eloy Vinuales ’17 / PrediCare

Application Process

The Zell Fellows Program will include four tracks for 2017-18: New Venture, for students aspiring to launch a business; Acquisition & Ownership, for students wanting to acquire and grow a business; Healthcare, to address the regulatory and other challenges and issues that students starting these ventures face, and an Emerging Markets pilot, to help students with the unique challenges of starting a venture in a developing country.

The Zell Fellows Program is open to any Kellogg full-time second-year, 1Y, MMM, JDMBA, MDMBA or Evening & Weekend student who can be available for all of the activities.

Key dates for the 2017-2018 program are as follows:

Key Dates - Application Process

Date Time Info
Sept. 22, 2017
12:15 - 1:15 p.m.
Zell Fellows Program Info Session; applications are open
Oct. 2, 2017
12:00 p.m.
Zell Fellows Program Application Deadline
Weeks of Oct. 9 and 16, 2017
Zell Fellows Interviews
Oct. 20, 2017
2017-2018 Zell Fellows Class Announced

Key Program Dates

Date Time Info
October 25
12:00 - 1:30 p.m.
Zell Fellows Welcome Lunch
October 31
12:15 - 1:15 p.m.
November 11-12
7:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 
Fall Trek
November 29
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Beginning in January
Zell Fellows should be available for all activities, the majority of which will take place on Wednesdays
Spring Break, exact dates TBA
Israel Trek


The application is available here. Applications will only be accepted electronically and late applications will not be accepted.

About Sam Zell

Sam Zell is a global, opportunistic, often contrarian, investor. He specializes in identifying market anomalies and emerging trends, and has a long track record in turning around troubled companies and assets, leading industry consolidations, and bringing companies to the public markets. Much of his investment portfolio is in energy, logistics, transportation, manufacturing, communications and healthcare, but he is often best known for his pioneering role and stewardship in creating the modern commercial real estate industry.

Sam is the Chairman of Equity Group Investments, his private investment firm. He chairs five companies listed on the NYSE: Equity Residential; Equity LifeStyle Properties; Equity Commonwealth; Covanta Holding Corporation; and Anixter International Inc. He also chairs Equity International, a private equity firm he founded to focus on opportunities outside of the U.S.

Sam is recognized for his advocacy of corporate governance, particularly in real estate and in the emerging markets. He is an active philanthropist with a focus on entrepreneurial education. He holds a JD degree and a BA from the University of Michigan.


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