Kellogg World Alumni Magazine Spring 2007Kellogg School of Management
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KEIP keeps it real for budding entrepreneurs

No book can top actual experience, especially when it comes to entrepreneurship.

The Kellogg Entrepreneurship Internship Program (KEIP) does just that by providing students an opportunity to spend a summer working at a small business in the Chicago area.

Related articles:
So you want to be an entrepreneur. Here's how to make the jump
KEO club creates bond and student sounding board
Myths and realities of entrepreneurship
KEIP keeps it real for budding entrepreneurs
Jonathan Weatherly '97, CEO of Your Choice Living and KEIP intern Ryan Clark '07  
Jonathan Weatherly '97, CEO of Your Choice Living (left), and KEIP intern Ryan Clark '07  Photo © Loren Santow  

"It's a testing ground for their desire to be an entrepreneur," says Scott Whitaker '97, associate director of the Larry and Carol Levy Institute for Entrepreneurial Practice.

KEIP students gain experiential learning insights over eight weeks in the summer. They meet as a group with the program facilitator to discuss their experiences and prepare a midterm report. More than 100 students have interned since the program's inception in 1996, Whitaker says. 

Many entrepreneurs seek Kellogg expertise through the program, including Your Choice Living (YCL), which hosted an intern in 2006. The company creates software for major managed care organizations, hospital systems and senior living companies. CEO Jonathan Weatherly '97 says it was the optimal time for the business to work with an intern because he was planning a third financing round.

Intern Ryan Clark's primary role was to enhance the company's financial model and draft an updated business plan to reflect changes since the company's launch. He says KEIP gave him an edge in entrepreneurship unavailable anywhere else. "You understand the requirements of people running the business and how they think about reacting to changes," says Clark, who assists the organization with a new operating plan a few hours a week as he completes his Kellogg MBA.

Thane Gauthier '05 also interned through KEIP at start-up incubator and private equity fund Sandbox in 2004. Working with two other Kellogg interns, he performed preliminary investment analysis on several potential portfolio companies.

Says Gauthier: "In addition to introducing me to some practical aspects of due diligence, KEIP introduced me to many of the 'blocking and tackling' aspects of entrepreneurship that you sometimes miss in MBA classes: handling payroll, establishing the corporate infrastructure and vetting and managing employees."

Whitaker says the Levy Institute is continually seeking companies that are interested in hosting an intern. To do so, contact  — Adrienne Murrill

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