MBA Student Builds Skills, Strengthens the Berkeley Startup Ecosystem

Ryan Jung croppedFor Ryan Jung, MBA 14, it won’t be enough to leave Berkeley-Haas with the skills to build a business.

He is dedicated as well to supporting the entrepreneurial aspirations of others. In his time here, Jung has already vetted startups for two business incubators, co-written a paper covered by Forbes, and launched an experiential cross-disciplinary elective.

“At Haas, it has been a lot about the Defining Principles of Question the Status Quo and Students Always,” says Jung. “To me, this outlook was a huge advantage in thinking about what I wanted to get out of the experience and how I would move toward gaining skills.”

Jung came to Haas with experience managing a portfolio of VC relationships for Silicon Valley Bank. “I got to see a lot of ventures up close through this work and wanted to learn more about building successful startups myself,” he says.

Much of Jung’s opportunity capture has come through the Haas Venture Fellows Program. He applied to Venture Fellows soon after arriving on campus, interested in the opportunities to meet with leading VCs, help fellow students hone their entrepreneurial pitches, and be part of evaluating ventures for Berkeley’s SkyDeck startup accelerator.

Venture Fellows also gain hands-on experience through a required project. For his, Jung teamed up with Byron Deeter of Bessemer Venture Partners to write a white paper exploring pricing strategies in cloud computing.

“Byron is one of the top VCs for enterprise software,” says Jung of the opportunity to work with Deeter, which came through a connection in the Haas Alumni Network. “Byron is very influential in Bessemer’s thinking, and they are one of the top investors in this area.” Their paper has been posted on Bessemer’s site  as well as written about on Forbes.

Jung has also helped launch Cooperative Innovation, a cross-disciplinary team-based course in which students develop and launch new products or services in conjunction with local nonprofits and international organizations. Jung’s team, for example, is working with Sanergy in Kenya on an in-home toilet for use in Nairobi slums that uses chemical waste processing.

Jung also weighs in on pitches from UC Berkeley startups hoping to work with the SkyDeck accelerator and he is a member of the Bay Area investment team for the Dorm Room Fund, a national student-run venture firm investing in student startups. “It’s been a great experience for me to meet passionate student entrepreneurs working to solve big problems and to support the growth of the startup ecosystem at Cal,” Jung says.

These myriad learning opportunities have reinforced Jung’s original goal: “Building the skills to take an idea and turn it into a successful business is fundamentally what I came to Haas to do and what I’m still focused on. Having the freedom to explore at Haas has allowed me the space to pursue these interests and initiatives,” he says, adding, “Access to all of these great opportunities would not have been possible at other business schools.”

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