11 Questions with MS in Entrepreneurship Student Austin Hirsh

We asked current Foster students to tell us why they chose Foster, what they like to do for fun, and to share advice with potential applicants. Meet Master of Science in Entrepreneurship student Austin.
Austin Hirsh

1) Where are you from?

I grew up in Gig Harbor, Washington.

2) What did you do before entering this program?

I graduated in May of 2019 with a BA/BS in Mechanical Engineering at the University of San Diego.

3) Did you have any entrepreneurship experience before entering this program?

For three years during college, I worked to design and build an autonomous lawn mower and launch a venture around it. My team entered this venture into multiple pitch competitions and actually placed second in the V2 Pitch Competition in San Diego. During my senior year, I shifted focus to my current venture, Re:fresh Smoothies. Re:fresh is an instant smoothie mix made out of rescued produce. Just blend it with ice and water and it rehydrates into a real-fruit smoothie!

4) Tell us why you are excited to be a part of the third cohort for the MS ENTRE degree program?

I am really looking forward to developing Re:fresh Smoothies within the sandbox environment of the Foster School of Business. As an engineering undergrad, I only took a few business classes, so I am looking forward to adding new business skills to my repertoire and applying them directly to my venture. Finally, of course, I am looking forward to meeting more amazing peers and mentors over the next year.

5) What are your thoughts on the entrepreneurship scene in Seattle?

I have grown up on the outskirts of Seattle my whole life and have watched it grow into an entrepreneurial hub. I think the great thing about Seattle is that it is the home of some huge companies and ventures, but it still has some small-town qualities. When I started building a network through UW, I realized that everyone in the Seattle entrepreneurial ecosystem is pretty familiar with each other. Once you have met a few good mentors, chances are they will be able to direct you to more mentors who can help with specific questions.

6) What connections are you hoping to make while in the program?

I am hoping to meet passionate peers that will push me to develop as an entrepreneur and an individual. I get really excited about obscure ideas, and it has been great to meet people who like engaging in open-ended conversations.

Perhaps the most valuable asset of the program so far has been the mentorship connections I have made through UW. I am excited to continue meeting experienced mentors who can poke holes in my ideas and supplement the gaps in my knowledge with their expertise.

7) Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

I hope to launch Re:fresh Smoothies online in the next year. Following its initial launch, I hope to continue developing Re:fresh and introducing new products and earth-focused initiatives to build my venture’s brand. I also hope to use my time in this program to grow as an individual and become a better leader, teammate, and friend.

8) What skills and/or knowledge are you looking to develop?

My engineering background has provided me with a toolbox of analytical problem-solving skills that are very useful in venture development. I hope to use this program develop stronger business skills that will complement my engineering background. With these two unique skillsets, I will be able to propel my business through the idea phase and into economic sustainability.

9) What do you like to do for fun?

I pretty much like any board sport involving liquid or frozen water. During the winter, I like to drive up to White Pass or Crystal Mountain to ski. In the summer, I love surfing and wakeboarding (especially on the Fourth of July)!

Austin Hirsh wakeboarding

10) What’s been your favorite part of the program so far?

I have really enjoyed growing close to my cohort of classmates. We take every single class together, so we were already pretty close within a few weeks of starting the program. It has been great to bounce ideas off of my peers, brainstorm about one another’s ventures, and share helpful network connections with each other. Plus, if I’m ever bored outside of class, someone is always willing to do something fun.

11) What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking about applying to the MS ENTRE degree program?

You’re only in the program for 12 months; take advantage of the resources while you can. Through the program, we are connected with an amazing network of mentors, and you would be surprised how many people are willing to help students and aspiring entrepreneurs achieve their goals. Also, take advantage resources of the Foster Library databases. Pitchbook is a little more expensive after graduation!

Learn more about the Master of Science in Entrepreneurship program

This post is part of a series where we ask current students to answer 11 questions about their experience at Foster. Explore the 11 questions tag for more interviews.