Get to Know MS in Entrepreneurship Student: Alex Baek

The MS in Entrepreneurship program is made up of a diverse group of students who come from various backgrounds and experiences. We love to highlight students from the current cohort, so read on to hear more about Alex’s journey to the program!

Please tell us your name.

Alex Baek

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon

What did you do before entering this program?

Prior to beginning this program, I was an Account Coordinator at an association management firm and as a Quality Assurance Test Engineer in a third-party test lab. While working in Association Management, I supported various clients at both national and international events (including CES), as well as ensuring client meetings ran smoothly. During my time as a Quality Assurance Test Engineer, I was tasked with ensuring consumer devices operated correctly across different protocols such as BLE, WiFi, and ANT+. My undergraduate degree is in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management from the University of Portland.

When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur? Did you have any entrepreneurship experience before entering this program?

Growing up, I saw my dad build his businesses, travel the world, and make a positive impact on the community. Being able to watch and learn from him as he worked was valuable to my learning experience. Also, while my brother was in college, I watched him launch a luxury clothing line and saw all the work he was putting in from sketches to development and product launch. Seeing this process inspired me to learn more about launching a business and I knew I wanted to get involved in any way I could. While I don’t have experience in launching my own company, I’ve participated in pitch competitions and won first place at the University of Portland’s $100K Venture Challenge in the Innovation Track.

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

Being in this cohort has been a blessing and I’m happy to be a part of such a diverse group of people. We have people from all walks of life and experiences so hearing other points of views has been very beneficial to my learning experience. Coming into this program, I was hoping to get a deeper understanding of business and how companies are launched but I’m realizing it’s much more than that. The program covers a wide range of business concepts and puts you in situations where you’ll be able to test your ideas without getting hurt. In the coming terms, I’m looking forward to continuing my finance, marketing, and business development knowledge. As for connections, I hope to continue meeting entrepreneurs and startups from the UW community. I can’t nail down one favorite part of this program so I’ll mention two: 1) meeting and joining OneCourt, a student-led startup working on accessibility tech for blind and visually impaired individuals, and 2) building a network of highly motivated people working across multiple industries

What advantages do you see to opening a business now?

I don’t think there’s a particular advantage to launching a business right now, but one major highlight is the strength of my growing network and how much information I have access to. I have peers in my cohort who I can reach out to bounce ideas, mentors and professors who can vet my thoughts and help me strategize, and a strong support system that can help me along the way. On top of that, all the benefits that come with being a student (e.g. access to world-class databases and researchers across the university)!

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

In the next 5 years, I see myself either launching a business in tech or continuing to work at the company I’ve worked at prior to joining this program. I plan to return to Portland shortly after graduating and continuing to grow the company my dad founded. I hope to continue being in the entrepreneurial space and I’m excited to see what new technologies are created.

What do you like to do for fun?

I enjoy spending time outdoors, whether it be on the river fishing for steelhead and salmon or skiing down new terrain. I’m a big fan of the Pacific Northwest and everything it has to offer from the beautiful forests we have access to as well as the beach only being a short drive away.

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

If you’re interested in joining the next cohort, I highly recommend it. Email the program contacts, get to know the curriculum better, and make a trip out to UW and audit a class! Also, don’t hesitate to reach out to current students. We’re more than happy to help just as we help each other. With all the benefits of this program and within the UW community, you won’t regret coming here.

Learn About MS in Entrepreneurship

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