Fair Brings In Growing Companies
Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2013 01:02
The Heights Room was filled with both aspiring entrepreneurs and Boston-area tech firms this Monday during the Boston College Venture Competition’s (BCVC) first annual startup career fair. Companies, some of which were founded by recent BC alumni, had the chance to meet students who were eager to work in innovative and fast-paced tech companies.
Mike Russo, A&S ’13, attended the fair to meet members of the local startup community and to learn about startup job opportunities.
“I’ve had a great time,” Russo said. “There’s a bunch of cool companies here and a lot of them were founded by BC grads. It makes it kind of relatable. You know they were in our shoes back only a few years [ago].”
BCVC, along with hosting its annual competition, has become a major promoter of entrepreneurial awareness on campus. Sophia Papastamelos, CSOM ’13, is a member of BCVC and was the head coordinator of the startup fair.
“Our mission as an organization at Boston College is to get more students involved with entrepreneurship, involved with the innovative startup community in Boston, and so we’re really trying to put on more types of events to facilitate that,” Papastamelos said. “We have our elevator pitch competition, we have speakers come in, we have this—we’re really trying to build it up.”
BCVC’s initiatives are similar to many at universities across the country. Academic institutions are establishing programs to teach students entrepreneurial skills and to recognize business opportunities.
Ryan Traeger, BC ’03, is the founder and CEO of Achvrs, an achievement interface that helps people track personal goals and connect with their friends.
“I’m really happy with what Boston College is doing with this,” Traeger said. “In Boston specifically, this town is just filled with startups, absolutely filled with startups. And you have MIT and Bentley, and all these universities and they’re all doing this and we’re finally getting on the bandwagon, and we’re doing it really well. These are a lot of great Boston-based startups. I’m just so excited to see this happen.”
Chris Bolman, BC ’06, is co-founder of ZoomTilt, a media technology company that delivers social video marketing solutions to brands. He said BC’s startup fair was one of the better things they have done to recruit talent.
“I’m actually really impressed, I’ll just flat out say it,” Bolman said. “I was a BC grad, I graduated class of ’06—when I was here this was just nonexistent. There was no innovation community, no tech community, the computer science major was pretty underdeveloped and, by comparison, seeing what Professor Gallaugher and BCVC have accomplished, it’s just really impressive. I think this is a really good first step in terms of building this as a real tradition.”
The Carroll School of Management has major strengths in finance and accounting, so much so that BC students often shy away from the more unconventional career opportunities that exist in smaller startup firms.
John Gallaugher, associate professor of information systems, is a BCVC advisor and has been a mentor to many of the entrepreneurs that have come out of BC.
“If a student wants to go into finance or accounting, I want to increase the skids for them and help them do that and be a success,” Gallaugher said. “But I think one of the things that concerns me is that a number of students come in and they have blinders on. There’s a lot of mythology around ‘the very best job for any student is going to be on Wall Street,’ and that’s simply not true. By exposing students to the breadth of opportunities that exist, I think we help students in that life discernment outcome that we want Boston College to deliver.”
Alex LoVerde, BC ’11, is the co-founder and CEO of Wymsee, a young tech company that makes software for the TV and film industries. Their production software is being used on the sets of Anchorman 2, Bones, Boardwalk Empire and 30 Rock. He admitted that the startup world is not for everyone.
“It depends on the person, what you want to make of your career,” LoVerde said. “I mean, if you want stability, then there’s nothing better than going to a big Deloitte or something like that. But if you’re not really worried about that, and you know that you’ll always work hard at what you’re doing, and you just want to do something that you love, finding a startup that fills that passion for you is probably the best use of your time—because you’ll actually have a big impact. Like our company, we only have six people.”