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Access Alumni Resources

Access Alumni Resources

Access to the Polsky Center does not stop at graduation. Whether you are a new grad or 15 years out, the Polsky Center is a lifelong resource for all University of Chicago alumni.
  • Ways to Get Involved: Alumni can get involved with the Polsky Center in many ways—as mentors, conference speakers, classroom guests, program sponsors, competition judges, angel investors, and financial sponsors. Contact Gorana Kolar, Senior Associate Director at the Polsky Center to learn more.
  • Mentorship: The Entrepreneurs-in-Residence program provides mentorship and coaching to University of Chicago students and alumni. If you are launching a company, or trying to scale your company and are looking for guidance, please contact Polsky Center’s Senior Advisor, Ellen Rudnick, ’89.
  • Make a Gift: The Polsky Center relies heavily on alumni and friends to advance the knowledge and practice of entrepreneurship and accelerate the commercialization of research. To make a contribution, please visit our online giving page.
  • Share Your News: Contact Jessy Tapper, Senior Writer and Content Manager at the Polsky Center if you would like to share recent news and get featured in the Polsky Weekly 10, which is our popular weekly newsletter. Don't miss an issue, subscribe today.
  • Conferences: The Polsky Center hosts several annual conferences which are great resources for alumni including the PE Conference, SeedCon, Machine Learning VC Summit, and ETA Conference.

Opportunities for Alumni

The Polsky Center supports UChicago alumni through a variety of resources and activities. These offerings are designed to help alumni build their businesses, strengthen their involvement with the school, and expand their networks. All UChicago and Chicago Booth alumni are eligible to apply to the following Polsky Center programs:

Alumni New Venture Challenge

Launching in 2018-19, the Alumni New Venture Challenge (ANVC) track will be the fifth track of the Polsky Center's nationally-ranked Edward L. Kaplan, '71, New Venture Challenge. The Alumni New Venture Challenge (ANVC) is open to all University of Chicago alumni who are in the process of launching and developing their startup ventures. In this first year, the ANVC will launch in five regions: East Coast (New York City), Midwest (Chicago), West Coast (Bay area), Europe (London), and Asia (Bangalore). It will follow a similar rigorous, milestone-driven structure that is found in all tracks of the existing NVC. Semifinals will be hosted in each local region and the finals will be held in Chicago on May 2, 2019.

Alumni Entrepreneurs Growth Forum

OVERVIEW // No matter if you’re from the class of ’85, or ’17, entrepreneurs face many of the same challenges, and the Polsky Center believes that great things can happen when founders get together to learn and share their stories with each other. Held in Chicago, San Francisco, and New York, this invite-only program includes faculty-led sessions on topics of greatest interest to growth-stage entrepreneurs, such as scaling the sales organization, HR, leadership, organizational strategies, and company culture. Please check back for more information on the next event in 2019. PAST EVENTS // Chicago, October 2015 Faculty speakers included:
  • Mark Agnew, ’06, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship
  • Harry Davis, Roger L. and Rachel M. Goetz Distinguished Service Professor of Creative Management
  • Michael Gibbs, Clinical Professor of Economics; Faculty Director of Executive MBA Program
  • Steve Kaplan, Neubauer Family Distinguished Service Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance
  • Mary Shea, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Marketing
  • Craig Wortmann, Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurship
  • Luigi Zingales, Robert C. McCormack Distinguished Service Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance
Guest speakers included: Michael Small, ’81, former President and CEO of Gogo, Director of First Midwest Bancorp Michael Alter, former CEO of Tie Bar, Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurship at Chicago Booth Bay Area, June 2016 Faculty speakers included:
  • Michael Alter, Adjunct Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship
  • Ellen Rudnick, MBA ’73, Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship; Sr. Advisor for Entrepreneurship
  • Craig Wortmann, Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurship
Guest speaker: Uzi Shmilovici, ’11: Founder and CEO, Base New York City, April 2017 Faculty speakers included:
  • Ellen Rudnick, MBA ’73, Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship; Sr. Advisor for Entrepreneurship
  • Craig Wortmann, Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurship
  • Stacey Kole, Clinical Professor of Economics at Chicago Booth; Deputy Dean for MBA Programs
Guest speaker: Roopa Gandhi, MBA ’96, President and Cofounder, GEP Chicago, September 2017 Faculty speakers:
  • Nicholas Epley, John Templeton Keller Professor of Behavioral Science and Neubauer Family Faculty Fellow
  • Starr Marcello, AM ’04, MBA ’17, Executive Director of Polsky Center; Adjunct Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship
  • Ellen Rudnick, MBA ’73, Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship; Sr. Advisor for Entrepreneurship
Guest speaker: Amanda Lannert, CEO, Jellyvision Bay Area, September 2018 Faculty speakers:
  • Mark Agnew, MBA ’06, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship
  • Starr Marcello, AM ’04, MBA ’17, Executive Director of Polsky Center; Adjunct Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship
  • Ellen Rudnick, MBA ’73, Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship; Sr. Advisor for Entrepreneurship
Guest speaker: Eyal Lifshitz, MBA ’09, Cofounder and CEO, Bluevine

Entrepreneurial Internship Program

The Entrepreneurial Internship Program (EIP) offers rising second year Chicago Booth MBA students with the opportunity to intern at a startup. EIP provides a stipend to the student, and also requires the company to provide compensation. If you are interested in hosting a student intern in summer 2019, please contact Katherine Darius at katherine.darius@chicagobooth.edu.

Entrepreneurs-in-Residence Appointments

Polsky Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIRs) are seasoned entrepreneurs and business executives who host a variety of skills- and career-based workshops, and are available to meet with students, alumni, and faculty for individual coaching sessions throughout the academic year. EIRs are available to meet throughout the academic year, and have provided key insight and mentorship to dozens of companies. We also host regular small group sessions and workshops with the EIRs over breakfast and lunch. Learn more here.

Polsky Accelerator

Polsky offers a summer accelerator program that is open to any UChicago students, faculty, staff, and alumni on an application basis. Accepted teams receive funding, office space, access to Polsky Center staff, coaching from faculty, mentorship from alumni entrepreneurs and Chicago-area investors, and weekly programming designed to help them overcome many of the hurdles to launching a business. Learn more.

Polsky Incubator

Housed in the Polsky Exchange, the Polsky Incubator is designed for early-stage companies looking for space, guidance, and support to reach critical milestones and grow into a sustainable business. Already graduated? Great -- UChicago alumni are eligible to apply to join the Polsky Incubator. To learn more, check out our Polsky Incubator information page

Startup Summer

Startup Summer offers incoming Chicago Booth MBA students who have expressed an interest in entrepreneurship the opportunity to work for a Booth-led startup seven weeks in the summer before they begin their MBA studies. This program is fully subsidized by Chicago Booth. Learn more here.

UChicago Startup Investment Program

A new initiative launched in 2016 where UChicago co-invests alongside established venture funds in startups led by UChicago faculty, students, staff and alumni. The University has set aside $25 million from its endowment to invest in startups that are raising an early round of funding, known as Series A. A new initiative launched in 2016 where UChicago co-invests alongside established venture funds in startups led by UChicago faculty, students, staff and alumni. The University has set aside $25 million from its endowment to invest in startups that are raising an early round of funding, known as Series A. Learn more here.

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