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 André’s journey to the program!
Please tell us your name.
Where are you from?
I grew up in Coupeville, WA just north of Seattle on Whidbey Island.
What did you do before entering this program?
Before entering this program, I was a product development engineer and worked for various startups, mainly in the consumer product space. I studied Mechanical Engineering with a focus on Mechatronics during my undergrad here at UW. I’m also a professional host and emcee.
When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur? Did you have any entrepreneurship experience before entering this program?
From a young age I knew I wanted to be an inventor and build products that helped make people’s lives easier. It wasn’t until I started working in industry that I started to get interested in the business side. My curiosity took hold and I wanted to learn all about what it took to make a successful business and run everything. That previously was done behind the scenes. After my first startup experience, I was hooked. However, it wasn’t until helping my friends build their businesses that I realized I wanted to be an entrepreneur so I could better assist them and also bring some of the ideas I had to life. Yes, I’ve been building my own hosting/emceeing brand for the past three years. I’ve worked with various startups and have worked on products from initial inception to delivery.
Tell us why you are excited to be a part of the current cohort for the MS ENTRE degree program?
I’m super pumped about the opportunity to be part of the current cohort. I’ve had this program on my life roadmap for a few years, and while the dates changed a bit due to the pandemic, I’m thrilled to be here! As far as skills I’m looking to develop, I want to learn the ins and outs of building a company, which covers everything from finding the right team and creating company culture to making sure the financials are going to support our short term and long term goals. That was a big one for me after watching the first startup I worked for go under and let everyone go. Connections wise I’m honestly just excited to be in this space and to be able to connect with like minded people that are excited to learn about entrepreneurship and take the leap and build the plane on the way down. It has been an absolute joy and an incredible learning experience to meet everyone from my fellow classmates in the cohort to mentors to professors that have backgrounds ranging from law to VCs to CEOs. My favorite part of the program so far has been the ability to work on our ideas. I feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be and the program and my classmates have all been so encouraging and supportive as we venture into the Seattle startup ecosystem.
What advantages do you see to opening a business now?
There’s a quote by Gary Vaynerchuk that goes: “There’s never a bad time to start a business.” I believe that. To take a chance on your idea, on yourself. To put it all out on the table and follow your dream. What’s more invigorating and exciting and worth doing than that? There are so many things that we can do to help make this world a better place, so why not try! There are some concerns about the economy right now, but building on that last quote there’s this idea that if you have a good idea and believe in it, there’s never a bad time to start a company. I may read too many motivational quotes, but hey, if you have to think, why not think positive!
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
I see myself running my first company that I’ve cofounded. That’s so exciting to say as I believe in manifesting our reality and making our visions come to life. I love my city and would like that startup to be here in Seattle. I’d also like to culture a working relationship with Japan as I am eager to spend more time there, so kill two birds with one stone! I hope to be fully immersed in the startup ecosystem and also helping/advising younger entrepreneurs as they’re getting started just like those that are currently helping me.
What do you like to do for fun?
I love to be outside. Cycling and running around Seattle, trail running, eating out at Seattle’s vegan/gluten-free friendly restaurants, and exploring new events this city has to offer!
What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking about applying to the MS ENTRE degree program?
“Just do it! Don’t let your dreams be dreams!” – Shia LaBeouf. In all seriousness though, know your why. Why do you want to apply to this program? What are you looking to get out of it? Are you running from something or to something? I prefer advising for the latter. Reach out, ask questions! The staff, alumni, and current students here in the MS ENTRE program were incredibly helpful in my decision making process. You can even contact me if you like, I’d be happy to chat with you.
Learn About MS in Entrepreneurship
- Sign up for the MS in Entrepreneurship email list
- Watch the MS in Entrepreneurship On Demand Info Session
- Visit the MS in Entrepreneurship website
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.