Venture thinking: Not just for entrepreneurs
No matter the stage of your career, it is never too late to launch a new venture, whether it’s a new business, product or even an innovation within your existing organization.
That’s the idea driving Venture Design Bootcamp, a supplemental workshop offered to EMBA students on the Miami and Evanston campuses. Alumnus, entrepreneur and faculty member David Schonthal ’09 (EMP 74) led the first session, held on the Evanston campus on May 11–12, and will repeat the workshop in July in Miami.
Schonthal was recently named one of Crain’s 40 under 40. The serial entrepreneur balances his time between founding MATTER, a health-tech incubator that launched in Chicago this past February, serving as a business designer at IDEO, and acting as director of Kellogg’s Zell Scholars program, a selective venture accelerator program designed to help student-entrepreneurs successfully launch new businesses.
Schonthal shared more about his experience at Kellogg as well as the contents of Venture Design Bootcamp.
Why did you decide to pursue the Executive MBA Program?
I was working in startups in the life science industry in San Diego. I knew that I wanted to get an MBA. I was enjoying my career in business, and it felt like the right format: to get my degree while working with startup companies. I learn by doing, and the ability to apply classroom learnings immediately made the knowledge stick.
What were your biggest takeaways?
The EMBA Program helped me understand aspects of business that I had worked with tangentially but not directly. It gave me a better understanding of functional roles and how to better use all resources. To be a good general manager, you need to understand all functional aspects within your organization.
What has your experience teaching at Kellogg been like?
Teaching has been the most enjoyable professional experience I’ve ever had. What could be better than sharing your passion and experience?
Why did you help create the Venture Design Bootcamp?
Entrepreneurial thinking isn’t just for entrepreneurs. Thinking entrepreneurially is for all people who want to translate insights into offers. It teaches you to go out into the market, consider its unmet needs and create viable offers, whether that is a new product, innovations within an existing organization or new business.
What does the Venture Design Bootcamp cover?
Venture Design is a mash up of customer development, design thinking and lean startup methodology. We start with the users. First, we’ll go out and seek insights by being in the market. When we find questions, we answer them through prototyping. Then, we run experiments to validate or invalidate hypotheses about a venture. Students also have access to mentoring sessions with alumni to vet potential venture ideas.
What’s the value for an EMBA student?
Historically, the EMBA Program is for students looking to progress in an existing career path. But EMBA students are starters – they want to begin and create things. There’s been a fundamental shift in the types of curricula they’re looking for, and Kellogg is reacting to their desire to create.