Kellogg World Alumni Magazine Spring 2007Kellogg School of Management
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KEO club creates bond and student sounding board

Some Kellogg students can't wait until graduation to get their business ventures running.

In fact, some MBA candidates already got started — before enrolling in school – and they meet regularly to discuss their entrepreneurial experiences. Under the guidance of the Levy Institute, the Kellogg Entrepreneurs Organization (KEO) offers these students a forum to share stories, best practices and new ideas, and to talk about the challenges they face as entrepreneurs.

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

KEO member Meredith Wilson '07 says the participants encourage one another in ventures and offer insights about raising capital, managing personnel and weighing tradeoffs with limited financial resources, for example. "While anyone with creativity and vision can develop an idea for a new business or be a market innovator, there are many skills that come only after having been in the trenches. KEO has given me a tremendous network ... and some great friendships," she says.

Before Kellogg, Wilson was COO of start-up hedge fund Trail Ridge Capital where she oversaw the legal, audit, regulatory, accounting and personnel functions of running a small company.  "I felt inspired by the freedom to come up with an idea and implement it," she says. Conversely, she also felt the anxiety associated with being an entrepreneur. "I know intimately the downside of long hours, fear about funding sources and deal flow, worry about liability and risk management."

 The experience taught her that entrepreneurship demands focus, rather than taking any clients that come along and risking spreading resources too thin.

"Before you start your business, pick a small segment and go after it with a single-minded focus. Once you have fully penetrated that segment, then move on to other areas." 

And keep bouncing those ideas off your entrepreneurial peers.  —Adrienne Murrill

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