Alumni at Startups Share Insights with Students in "Start with Startups" Webinar

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“What is it like to work at a startup?”

“How can I determine which type, size, or industry startup with right for me?”

“How should I approach a job search for roles at startups, and how can I position myself as a liberal arts grad?”

We sought to answer these questions and more in the recent webinar, Start with Startups, part of the Career Discovery Series launched this summer by Colgate Career Services and the Colgate Professional Networks.

Three alumni panelists—Ben Ross ’05, principal, Fibonacci Consulting Services; Amulya Uppala ’15, International Marketing Program Manager, Asana; and Matthew Glick ’19, CEO and founder, Gipper—shared their perspectives from across a wide range of startups and roles within them. The conversation was moderated by Carolyn Strobel, director of Thought Into Action. The webinar recording is now available for viewing.

One of the things that the panelists delved into was the different types of startups and the wide variety of experiences depending on the type of startup. While Matthew spoke about his experience founding a company and leading a small team to turn an idea into reality, Amulya outlined how the needs and environment of a startup evolves from that point, from the next wave of employees who come in to build the company beyond its initial small team, to her current environment that's more focused on scaling, where the focus is on building structure and processes and developing the company into a much larger machine. 

When talking about job seeking and what startups are looking for in new hires, Ben cited passion and problem solving as the two most important qualities to demonstrate. He encouraged students to draw from their current experiences, whether in athletics, extracurriculars, internships, or more, to demonstrate the passion and problem solving they used and how they could apply those to anything thrown at them in a startup. Amulya talked about the importance of doing research about the company and the industry to show that the applicant is interested in the space and has ideas about what they can contribute.

The panelists also emphasized the importance of learning about the startup world and staying up to date on the scene. Matthew recommended following people on Twitter to have a pulse on what's happening and being discussed. He also talked about the importance of networking, especially as a student, and using that as an opportunity to learn and ask questions. Ben recommended TechCrunch and Crunchbase as ways to stay informed about developments in the startup space, as well as Twitter and LinkedIn for keeping informed and making connections. 

The conversation covered a wide range of topics in between and concluded with responses to questions from students. Check out the recording to watch the full webinar and hear the panelists’ additional insight.