8 Reasons to Choose a Startup Over a Corporate Job

Every year as many of America’s most talented college graduates search for their niche in the post-college world, they are forced to decide between two alluring career paths. The first is accepting a high-paying job with a well-established corporation. The second is joining the ranks of a fledgling startup: a high-risk, high-reward option that offers the opportunity to see first-hand how innovators and entrepreneurs build a company from scratch.

In a recent Fast Company article, expert blogger Kerrin Sheldon gives 8 reasons why recent grads should choose a startup gig over an offer from a large corporation:

1. You’ll have more responsibility.

2. You’ll be given more opportunities.

3. You’ll be able to do a lot of different things.

4. You will learn from true innovators.

5. Your work will be recognized (as will your failures).

6. You’ll work in an awesome atmosphere.

7. You’ll learn to be frugal.

8. You’ll be instilled with the value of hard work, ownership, and self-sustainability.


Check out the full article here. And let us know in the comments section if you agree!

VFA visits Wharton


VFA founder Andrew Yang spoke with a collection of Wharton undergraduates at the University of Pennsylvania on Thursday night, and Nikhil Menezes of student newspaper The Daily Pennsylvanian penned an article recapping the event.  Andrew positioned VFA as an alternative to finance and consulting for those who dream of starting companies – and described its relative merits in both cases.  The reporter described VFA as, “A refreshing change of pace from the investment banks and consulting firms that tend to seek Penn graduates.”  Check out the full text of the article here!

WSJ – For Grads Seeking to Work and Do Good




For Grads Seeking to Work and Do Good


Ivy League senior Ethan Carlson recently turned down a job with a global-energy consulting practice and instead pledged to spend two years working for an entrepreneur, perhaps with a focus on renewable energy, in a struggling U.S. city.

“I want to make an impact not only on myself, my career and my finances, but also society around me, and my local community,” the 21-year-old mechanical-engineering major at Yale University says.

The project he plans to join, Venture for America, was founded by Andrew Yang, the former chief executive of Manhattan GMAT, a test-preparation company acquired in 2009 by Kaplan, a Washington Post Co.

Venture for America says it was inspired by Teach for America, which places recent college graduates at schools in low-income communities for two years. This summer its first crop of about 50 “fellows” will be placed at small businesses such as Drop the Chalk, an education-software firm in New Orleans, and Andera Inc., an online-account-opening firm in Providence, R.I.

The companies will pay participants $32,000 to $38,000 a year, plus health benefits. The program includes a five-week program at Brown University that mimics training for consulting and investment banking.

Firms with fewer than 500 employees created about 65% of the nation’s net new jobs, or jobs created minus jobs eliminated, according to the most recent Small Business Administration data.

The goal of the program, Mr. Yang says, is to help start-ups and early-stage businesses get off the ground, and its target is to create 100,000 jobs by 2025. The program has drawn commitments to donate services and about $500,000 in cash, he says.

Mr. Yang believes there is a disconnect between small businesses seeking to hire successful college graduates capable of wearing many hats, and graduates, like Mr. Carlson, who want to learn about the basics of starting a new company.

Fifty-four percent of the nation’s 18-to-34-year-olds either want to start a business or have already started one, according to a survey by the Young Invincibles, a group focusing on young entrepreneurship, that was funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a research group.

Some of the struggling cities selected by the program have burgeoning start-up scenes but still need talent. Cincinnati, for instance, has a fairly vibrant consumer marketing and branding industry, partly because Procter & Gamble Co. and Kroger Co. are based there.At Andera, the participating fellow will be expected to work as part of a team to conceptualize a new product and to create a business case for it, says Charlie Kroll, the company’s founder and chief executive officer.

The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, a nonprofit strategy and research organization based in Boston, Mass., estimates that 460,000 U.S. businesses are located in inner cities.

Jen Medbery, founder and CEO of Drop the Chalk, says the program will serve as a “professional recruiting firm, picking the best and brightest from the top colleges and making it affordable for me to hire and mentor them.”

The Iliad and the IPO: The case for entrepreneurship-and how Columbia College neglects it

Columbia University senior, Derek Turner, writes about his views on entrepreneurship and why it may just offer benefits that other fields don’t. Read Derek’s article here:

The Eye: The Iliad and the IPO: The case for entrepreneurship-and how Columbia College neglects it

Another View: The Science and Strategy of College Recruiting

Yale senior, Marina Keegan, writes about how “every year around 25 percent of employed Yale graduates enter the consulting and finance industries,” and why she thinks this needs to change. Check out her article at the link below.

New York Times: Another View: The Science and Strategy of College Recruiting

Carpe Diem: Venture for America

By Guest Blogger- Gen Furukawa, Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell

College campuses have an abundance of interesting references to ancient Roman history, through the architectural styles, the study of Roman philosophy, even the mottoes that define the schools (my alma mater is In deo speramus). Yet even after studying Latin for seven years, as an undergraduate student I failed to understand the true meaning of a simple phrase: Carpe Diem. Seize the day. Sure, I knew that I would eventually Seize the Day, but only after working “at a real job” for a few years.

I saw any delay in employment after graduation as a chasm between me and my peers. I can’t turn back time, but I can get a second chance. I am now in business school, which has provided me the chance to hit the figurative “Reset” button. I promised myself that I would maximize all privileges that came with my student status to “become an entrepreneur.”

After graduating from Brown University in 2004, I got swept up with the galloping herd of newly minted graduates and believed that I needed a job ASAP in order to validate my college degree. So I obligingly paid my dues in a corporate job, plotted out my career trajectory, and quickly saw with frightening clarity how my future could play out for the next thirty years if I didn’t veer off the corporate path. I loved watching the action at Dunder Mifflin, but didn’t want to spend my life in The Office.

So I realized from my first days as a business school student at The Johnson School at Cornell that the experience would be a sprint from start to finish. The ultimate goal: start a business before I graduate. As an undergrad, I missed the opportunity to explore the wealth of resources readily available to entrepreneurial students, and I wanted a sip of the startup kool-aid too. Despite warnings of a Cornell contagion called FOMO (an acronym for “Fear of Missing Out”), I was going to do everything I could that included “Entrepreneurship” in the title.

Business school has helped me solidify a foundation (at least academically) to start a business when that time does come. And I have weaved my way into the epicenter of the startup community at Cornell, which is pulsing with entrepreneurial energies everywhere. I have immersed myself in the community in a number of ways: MBA Fellow for Entrepreneuership@Cornell, where we are building a mobile app to help students, alumni, and faculty network and engage with fellow Cornell entrepreneurs; eLab Fellow, where I mentor and help undergraduate entrepreneurs at Cornell’s incubator; a VP of the Entrepreneurship Club, where I organize weekly University-wide events and treks to NYC; and Teaching Assistant for several entrepreneurship-related classes. These are all fulfilling activities that have exposed me to the dynamic nature of entrepreneurs that I love.

Venture for America is the first innovative program that captures this vibrant entrepreneurial spirit of college campuses and translates it into a program that helps recent graduates create immediate value in their organization and impacts communities, cities, and America in a very tangible way. I wish that something like this existed when I was an ambitious undergrad looking for a small nudge in the right direction. Venture for America combines the vision for a better world that resounds so loudly with many young Americans, and infuses the self-empowering nature of entrepreneurship. The result: the realization that we can shape our own future. Now. Carpe Diem!

For anyone who can attend, come learn more about Venture for America when Founder & President Andrew Yang visits Cornell on Tuesday, November 15th. Event details can he found here:


Contact Gen at gwf36 [at] cornell.edu or on Twitter @genfurukawa

VFA Board of Directors member Darren MacDonald in The Daily Californian

Check out the opinion piece by Venture for America Board of Directors member Darren MacDonald in UC Berkeley’s The Daily Californian.

 Read the article on The Daily Californian’s website here: Exploring a new path to entrepreneurship

Guest Blogger- Taylor Fleming, Colgate University

Venture for America is excited to feature guest blogger Taylor Fleming. Taylor is a junior at Colgate University, majoring in English with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies:

As the semester rolls along, many Colgate seniors are beginning to wonder about their future plans. Andrew Yang, graduate of the Brown University class of 1996, found himself, only a few years back, in the same boat. After graduation he practiced law for a bit and even got a job as a CEO of Manhattan GMAT. Yet, during his time at Manhattan GMAT he found a common trend among the recent college graduates he encountered. Grads had major interest in the work force and specifically in entrepreneurship. Like young Colgate graduates and students, these grads all had what Yang characterized as “pent up energy” but no where to use it. At the same time, new and eager venture capitalist firms and entrepreneurship startups seemed to have trouble finding a way to connect to the desirable candidates for their open positions.

The need for a connection between the two appeared essential to Yang. This idea, complied with many months, a lot of hard work and what Yang refers to as “a long story,” created Venture for America. The organization, which will launch into action in June 2012, is the construction of a bridge between hiring startup companies and hard-working graduates. Modeled after Teach for America, Venture for America aims at placing eager college graduates in low-cost cities where they can work with and for startup companies. Venture for America hopes that the work at the companies will spark business, create more jobs and help improve the economies of these cities.

Those who are accepted into Venture for America will spend two years in the program. The experience will begins at Yang’s alma mater, Brown University. Fellows will spend five weeks on campus training for the next two years in the “Venture Fellow Summer Institute.” At the Institute, fellows will experience all the hands on technological training necessary for placement in the low-cost cities. They will also have the chance to study and discuss entrepreneurship with successful professionals and investors who have seen it all.

After the institute, Venture for America provides a two-year assignment in groups of ten to twelve at a startup company in a city, such as Providence, Detroit or New Orleans. Yang believes that the assignment ensures that the fellow works in that city “doing what that city needs.” The companies that they are assigned to are ones with great potential and varying interests. Among those involved, Detroit Venture Partners is the largest early-stage company. The company, founded by the majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, describes the group as “street fighters [who] are willing to get down and dirty with our entrepreneurs in order to drive results.” Other companies deal with sustainability and renewable energy sources. At every company, fellows will earn a full salary and health benefits. The Venture for American website, ventureforamerica.org, estimates the salary in the range of $32,000-$38,000.

While at work over the two years, fellows will meet twice a week to confer about their experiences and assignments. The first year concludes with an ‘Intermission,’ or debriefing convention between all the fellows. At the end of the two years, one student, who is selected as the best performing fellow of the class, will be awarded $100,000 to either finance the fellow’s current company or a new company, which the fellow will found or co-found.

For graduates of Colgate University, Venture for America is an amazing opportunity. Applicants do not need a certain major and might even benefit from their background in liberal arts. Venture for America is a young company, and they are looking for people who mesh well with their program. The recent Colgate grad, from the year 2012 or earlier, embodies the description that Yang, founder and now president of Venture for America, depicts for ideal candidates. “We need our best and brightest,” he said. And they are well on their way. The organization, which is in its first year, already has over 700 applicants, but they, “hope to get more.”

In fact, they are so hopeful that Venture for America personally contacted Colgate University to seek more applicants. Yang and his entire staff at Venture for America believes in placing, “people with ambition and ability into places where they can stimulate careers,” and ultimately, help, “the country begin to grow again economically.” And they reached out to Colgate University as a perfect place to obtain the people to fill these roles. If Colgate students have any questions, they are encouraged to visit the VFA website at ventureforamerica.org. Applications are due by two different deadlines, November 28th, 2011 or February 15th, 2012, both for the session beginning in June 2012. The application is available on their website at ventureforamerica.org/apply.