Straight out of graduate school I took a job for the company started by my Master’s thesis advisor. I thought that I would get some experience as an engineer for a year and then move on. I could not have been more wrong: I actually had no idea what I was in for.
It became apparent that I had a natural talent for organization and management as that engineering job quickly transformed into coordinating the engineering projects. Then I took on the responsibility of managing all operational aspects of the company when the CEO left abruptly. More and more responsibility was directed to me as I proved to be successful and as the company grew.
Unfortunately, the company ultimately failed for many reasons: chief among them being the irreconcilable differences between two main stakeholders which led to lawsuits and the loss of intellectual property licenses. Despite the disappointing conclusion of the company, I was able to extract some amazing experience that no MBA program could ever provide. I learned about contract, intellectual property, and licensing law, business operations, public and private investment offerings and solicitation, managing a team, financials, P&L reporting and planning and more.