Succeeding at a startup takes a lot more than you can learn in the classroom. That’s why every Fellow is required to attend Training Camp before starting at their new companies. Training Camp is five weeks of learning new skills, getting to know your Fellow class, and beginning to think like an entrepreneur.
At Training Camp, you might work harder than you did throughout four years in college, but in the end, you’ll come out stronger. You’ve found your tribe, and can go out into the world knowing you have a community beside you.
“Truly, Training Camp was a life changing and transformative experience. Not only did I learn applicable skills, I learned who I am and who I want to be as a person.– Calum McClelland, '16
What you’ll work on
By the time you leave, we want you to feel confident and excited for your first day. Every week is full of workshops and trainings designed to prepare you for your entrepreneurial career.
You’ll also work closely with your fellow Fellows in a number of group challenges. Just like the startup teams you’re about to join in your cities, you’ll be placed in a team of Fellows with complementary skills and personalities. We’ll give you challenges with tight deadlines and plenty of room to decide how you want to execute.
What you’ll learn
You need both hard and soft skills to excel at a startup, so Training Camp focuses on both.
You’ll be exposed to design thinking, programming, the basics of marketing and sales, and more—and you’ll also brush up on your ability to collaborate, compromise, send good emails (harder than you might think), and tackle complicated projects in a short amount of time. In past years we’ve held trainings by IDEO, Train the Street, the Flatiron School, and plenty of other industry experts.
We want you to feel like no matter what you face at your job (or in your life), you’ll have the adaptability, resilience, creativity, and network of friends to figure things out.
What you'll do
Outside of the structured schedule, you’ll have plenty of time to spend with the other Fellows and the VFA team. You’ll have two years with the Fellows in your city—but this is the time to get to know Fellows heading to other cities, meet a few potential co-founders, and lay the groundwork for friendships that will last a lot longer than two years. You’ll also have the chance to get to know alumni and the VFA team.
I think the best part about Training Camp was hanging out at night. You'd finish working on different tasks or projects around 10:30, and somehow you'd look at your watch and it would be 3 am—just because you were so wrapped up in a conversation with someone that you may have never spoken to before. It's weird to be around kindred spirits all day.– Leigh Sevin ‘14, Co-founder of Arthur
When is Training Camp?
Training Camp takes place for five weeks from the end of June to the end of July, before you move to your city in August.
Is Training Camp mandatory?
Yes! Because it has proven to be an instrumental part of the Fellow experience, it is absolutely mandatory for Fellows to attend and engage for all five weeks.
What if I have a trip planned?
Training Camp is still mandatory. It’s a critical component of the fellowship, when many important relationships are built, and we wouldn’t want anyone to miss it. Feel free to reach out to us if you’re concerned about any potential conflict.
Will I be able to focus on specific skills?
We think it’s important for entry level employees (and budding founders) to be equipped with a wide range of tools. For that reason, you can’t specialize at Training Camp—you’ll pick up all kinds of skills, and we guarantee you’ll be surprised to find what comes in handy down the road. That said, Fellows often divide and conquer when it comes to group challenges, so every new project brings you the opportunity to focus on the skills you’re most eager to develop.