The Program 4 Entrepreneurs Kickoff at Fuqua

This was the first formal event on campus I attended after arriving in Durham back in the summer. I remember walking into an auditorium full of future classmates who were interested in startups - it was a great feeling to be immersed in such an entrepreneurial environment.

Like the posts on the random events I loved so far in the Fuqua MBA (part 1 and part 2), the next few posts of the blog will be about highlights in my fall semester. Hope that it'll help those who are applying for round 2 and 3!

The event began with an introduction on the program. The Program 4 Entrepreneurs (or P4E for short) is a series of experiential courses that is offered in one year. There are 3 courses, called New Ventures 1-3, and so far I've taken New Ventures 1 (NV1) in the Fall 2 term.

I won't go into the course details, as they are all available on the official P4E site, but I will say that my experience in P4E has given me the opportunity to apply what I've been learning in the core MBA courses and grow as a leader. I'll write another blog post or two on my P4E experience in the future.

Now back to the kickoff. Here's the agenda that we used for 2013. All the students introduced themselves and I was happy to see the other Duke schools represented, including the Pratt School of Engineering, the Law School, and the Nicholas School of the Environment. I'd guess there were about 60 students who were there. Everyone shared their background and why they were interested in entrepreneurship. During lunch the healthcare folks gathered around and we introduced ourselves.

The highlight of the day for me was the invited entrepreneurs, both of which were in life sciences startups, and a general partner at a local VC firm. Again, another great perk of being in the Research Triangle Park (RTP) area! One of them was co-founder and CFO of a local biotech, and the other was co-founder and COO of an agricultural firm that was recently acquired by Monsanto. They each shared great insights on entrepreneurship and also how their MBAs were helpful for their careers.

It was a wonderful afternoon. I remember telling people afterward that I probably learned more about entrepreneurship that than I did in a year on my own - before school. It was just great to be in an academic setting to learn about diverse topics and have the opportunity to try out new things and take some risks in a safe environment.


  1. Hi Steven,

    Nice article about your P4E experience. Did you start Duke ventures as a result of attending the P4E program? How easy or difficult is it to start a club at Duke?

    1. Hi Karthik, thanks for your comment! I helped start Duke Ventures around the time I was wrapping up for P4E. I'm not sure it's the result of P4E, but it certainly helped in my work at Duke Ventures because of prior entrepreneurship exposure in the community.

      It's relatively easy to start a new club at Duke, if the need is there. In addition to Duke Ventures, I also participated in a new cocktail and spirits club that was formed when I was a first year. If you're interested in starting a club, all you have to do is check the club list page to see if the club already exists, poll your classmates to see if there's enough interest, then simply kick off with an initial meeting!

      The Duke MBA Association (MBAA)- a panel of students supported by faculty - then reviews the request to form the club and the rest is history. Many clubs at Fuqua are the result of student initiatives, and the student-led culture at Fuqua definitely helps catalyze all of this activity. Overall, it's a very supportive environment for self starters & entrepreneurs!