11/24/2008 - Kellogg School student Aziz Gilani ’09 has been chosen as a Kauffman Finalist for the prestigious Kauffman Fellows Program. The Palo Alto-based nonprofit organization, whose mission is “to identify, network and develop future global leaders of the venture capital industry,” made the announcement Nov. 20.
The program, which is highly selective, helps match Kauffman Finalists with a two-year apprenticeship in a venture capital firm where they serve as Kauffman Fellows. Out of 250 applications, only 25-30 people worldwide are selected for each class. In addition to offering the apprenticeship, the program also provides professional mentorships and an extensive curriculum to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the venture capital industry.
Gilani joins more than 10 Kellogg alumni who have been selected for the elite program since its inception in 1994.
The second-year student said that his interest in venture capital was sparked after reading two books on the industry. His passion was further fueled at the Kellogg School after enrolling in venture capital classes and participating in the Private Equity and Venture Capital Club. Gilani also said he benefited from an internship this summer at Houston-based venture capital firm DFJ Mercury, which provided him with additional experience.
“Venture capital brings together the best parts of working on a startup,” Gilani said. “At the end of the day, I want to have the skills that will help me get a successful business off the ground.”
Gilani said the Kauffman Fellows Program provides access into the competitive venture capital industry as well as hands-on experience in that arena. “This program takes the experiential learning we have here at Kellogg to the next step,” he said.
He noted that his Kellogg education, inside and outside the classroom, prepared him for the Kauffman Fellows Program; in particular, experiences with the Kellogg Board Fellows Program, the Venture Capital boot camp and F.C. Austin Scholars were among the helpful academic highlights.
Gilani has real enthusiasm for the venture capital industry, said Shane Greenstein, the Elinor and H. Wendell Hobbs Professor of Management and Strategy.
“Aziz is very deserving. He has an extraordinary range of experience and talents,” Greenstein said. “He’s a good fit for what Kauffman looks for. It’s a good match for them and a great opportunity for him.”
The co-chair of the Private Equity and Venture Capital Conference that will be held at Kellogg in February, Aziz also is co-chair of the F.C. Austin Scholars.
The Kauffman Fellows Program is governed by the Center for Venture Education. The center is a nonprofit, post-graduate educational institute in Palo Alto, Calif.
For more information about the Kauffman Fellows Program, visit www.kauffmanfellows.org