"An entrepreneur who loves helping other entrepreneurs”
Yamil Sanchez '10G ‘22G | Reading, PA
Major | Master of Business Administration
I proudly graduated from Lehigh University with my doctoral degree in education in May 2010. Ironically, that was also the year that Lehigh University launched LehighSiliconValley (LSV). Fast forward ten years later, I returned to Lehigh to pursue an MBA and was fortunate to be selected to be part of the LSV cohort during their anniversary year.
To make things even more memorable, this exciting learning experience was transitioned to a virtual environment because of a world pandemic. As I worked through my first year of the MBA, I continuously asked myself if the program was a good fit. I questioned myself (in every class), how do I fit into the business world that the MBA was preparing me for? Unfortunately, I struggled to find a reassuring answer. As I pushed through my first year, I learned about the special learning opportunities that are part of the Flex MBA program such as the Venture Series courses and LSV.
Fortunately, both of these creative learning expansions of the program are helping me see that there is a potential fit in the entrepreneur world as either a founder, Venture Capitalist or some blended role. Part of the difficulty of considering myself to be a potential entrepreneur stems from having extensive work experience in traditional roles within the nonprofit and educational fields. It was challenging to envision how my experience would translate into the business world, more specifically as an entrepreneur. However, LSV speakers like Nicola Corzine - Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center’s Executive Director, Charles Hudson - Managing Partner at Precursor Ventures, and Crystal Callahan - Entrepreneur/Mentor/Investor, were excellent role models to help me see how to build from my past experiences as a nonprofit leader and educator to a potential entrepreneur in the future.
The speakers mentioned personified ways that the business world can offer someone like me the opportunity to blend the passion to serve with the entrepreneurial spirit to build and create. Also, the potential financial resources made available by Venture Capitalists to support mission driven founders is another avenue that I am excited to learn more about and potentially pursue. One of the most important lessons from my LSV experience is the affirmation that there are ways to connect my previous work and educational experience with a potential future in the entrepreneurial world. Despite the need for the Baker Institute to join the pivot culture forced by COVID-19, the LSV experience offered two weeks full of engagement with dynamic, creative, driven, and motivating startup founders and Venture Capitalists. Although limited by the virtual experience, the energy from every one of the speakers was able to travel from their West coast locations via our Zoom screens to our East coast homes – and shine brightly! Reflecting once more on my Flex MBA journey, I can now see how a decision to pursue an additional graduate degree prompted by a job requirement is becoming an entry way to much more. Borrowing Crystal Callahan’s words, I look forward to the next chapter in my professional journey as an entrepreneur, especially as “an entrepreneur who loves helping other entrepreneurs.”