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We all know that a Haas education provides a strong foundation to launch a career. What I didn’t learn until after I graduated, however, is how the Haas Alumni Network can play such a powerful role in helping to expand a business and career. Take my current business venture as a vivid example.
Last year, I pursued a business software concept that I had been contemplating for a while. Since my knowledge of starting a software business was limited, I reached out to Janet McAllister, MBA 84, for advice, given her previous experience as the CEO of a venture-funded business software company and her knowledge of the business intelligence field. I met Janet several years ago when I was a member of the Alumni Council and she was a member of the Development Council. Janet helped me to think through my business strategy, provided me with feedback on the product concept, and introduced me to a business lead.
After pitching the concept to several companies, I could not secure a suitable business partner. I decided to shift direction and offer consulting services with the intention of developing a clientele to then pitch the product concept.
The market for business and technology consulting has changed significantly since my first business venture, which was eventually acquired by Hewlett-Packard in 2006. So I reached out to Jeff Baum, MBA 99, whom I had met when we were both members of the Alumni Council. I wanted to understand Jeff’s perspective of the current economic environment and to get his advice on my business development approach since his company, Proxi Management Decisions, is a management consulting and solutions firm. Jeff’s insight and advice helped me to think through the next steps of my business venture.
I am happy to say that my business has successfully secured our first client and I anticipate continued growth.
I believe that the greatest lasting benefit of being a Haas alumnus is the Haas Alumni Network. However, realizing any benefit can only be achieved through participation. As my experience shows, the more you participate, the greater the benefits through lifelong connections.