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  • Writer's pictureBaker Institute Team

LSV2022 Reflections: "What profound problems will my cohort and I be able to solve?"

Read more from LSV2022 student Kelley Allen '24G as she reflects on her experience in the Baker Institute's flagship winter term immersion program this year...

"You might wish to reconsider joining LSV this year," Chris Kauzmann said, "although we would love to have you since you'll be the only graduate student and the only MBA."

Kelley Allen, '24G

Does LSV make sense for me? I'm a mid-level executive in her mid-forties in the middle of her career, complete with an expanding middle-age midriff. This year, the program would also be halved - half online, half in person with half the number of the students. Most daunting, all my cohort would be undergrad students, literally half my age. My career is literally older than every single one of my LSV cohort. Is this a good idea? Would I be perceived to be 'the wet blanket', hanging out to dry, flapping against the wind of youthful ebullience? After all, I'm nearly as old as Elon Musk! I have seen a lot of crazy things in my career. What would I learn and what can I bring to LSV?

I just finished my first semester at Lehigh's exhilarating Flex MBA program and was completely blown away. Strongly encouraged by VentureSeries Professor Dale Falcinelli and 2021 LSV alumni, Dr. Yamil Sanchez, I decided to take the plunge.

Almost immediately, my initial fears were unfounded. My fellow students were all extremely welcoming. Some even perceived me to be an undergrad (sick!) and even told that they simply thought of me as a 'fellow student.' I loved hearing their Lehigh stories and about the culture like bed races, Gryphons, and CJ McCollum. I was even encouraged to run for the Graduate Student Senate.

As for the guest lineup, let's just say that this old dog did absolutely learn quite a few new tricks. Over the course of LSV, Lisa Getzler, Chris, and the Baker Institute Team put together a stellar lineup of 26 experts, ranging from top executives in huge corporations, bestselling authors, eccentric VC billionaires, CEOs of hot tech companies, scrappy entrepreneurs bootstrapping their first startup, and everything in between.

I experienced several epiphany moments at LSV including one very clear overarching theme, a concept that almost every guest brought up during their time with us - The purpose of entrepreneurship is simply to create a solution to fix a problem in the world. The world is nothing more than a huge mess of case studies. Problems to be solved.

Diana Nicholas of vArmour said, 'Silicon Valley is filled with people who have passion projects. I wake every day and think to myself about all the little problems that need to be fixed, things like my coffee mug is cold. How can I fix this for me and for others?'

Kelley Allen (center left) presents with her team during a live case session with VArmour.

In retrospect, I blush to admit I thought I knew everything there was to know about my career. Yet, I'm humbled by the realization that I still have so much more to learn. What profound problems will my cohort and I be able to solve?

Sandy Stelling '91 said it best as she shared with us the story of the Lehigh Professor she challenged over her grades. The Professor responded, 'You're not here to get the answers right. You are here to learn how to learn.'

In Case You Missed It: Read more from our LSV2022 students about their experience in our one-of-a-kind program HERE.

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