Get to Know MS in Entrepreneurship Student: Grayson Ohnstad

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 Grayson’s journey to the program

Please tell us your name.

Grayson Ohnstad.

Where are you from?

I was born in Seattle, but my family moved shortly after. I spent most of the first 6 years of my life in South Dakota and Minnesota, and then the rest of my childhood was in a small dairy town in central California.

What did you do before entering this program?

I studied vocal performance for a few years at a local community college near my hometown before joining the US Navy as a Nuclear Electrician’s Mate. I spent just shy of eight years in the Navy, much of that time spent learning the necessary information and skills to do my job, then spent the rest of my time stationed on an aircraft carrier. After separating from the Navy, I earned a BS in Earth and Space Sciences at University of Washington.

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

I consider myself a bit of a dreamer. There came a time when I realized that I didn’t just want to dream up ideas, but that I could make some of those ideas real. For me that realization wasn’t a single moment, but a slow descent into entrepreneurship’s gravitational well. The metaphorical event horizon, then, was finding out about UW’s MS in Entrepreneurship program while I was an undergraduate.

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

There’s so much which I “didn’t know that I didn’t know” about entrepreneurship before joining this cohort. While it can be intimidating, it has been simultaneously freeing. Understanding how to navigate uncertainty, as it turns out, is an integral part of the entrepreneurial journey and one of the skills we work on in the program. Beyond that, making connections with my fellow cohort members and getting plugged into the entrepreneurial scene in Seattle has been immensely valuable.

What advantages do you see to opening a business now?

My favorite book quote says that the most important step a person can take isn’t the first one–it’s the next one. “Always the next step.” As long as you have a direction you want your life to be headed, and opening a business is the next step in that direction, I say it’s the right choice, regardless of outcome.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

I see myself being the CEO of my own company–whether it’s just getting off its feet because I’ve spent some time being employed, or if it’s reaching a growth stage because I was able to start the business right after graduation.

What do you like to do for fun?

I love learning, but a lot of my learning happens outside of classrooms. One of my favorite ways to learn new things is to ask “what if” questions, then follow the answers as far down the rabbit hole as I can go while learning things along the way. When doing this purely for fun, it’s usually for a personal worldbuilding project that I hope to use for published creative works in the future. Also, I recently learned how to ice skate and have been playing hockey recreationally in the Kraken Hockey League.

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

First, I’d reach out to someone in the current cohort (we’re happy to help, and the program staff are happy to connect you with us). Then, if it sounds like the program can give you the tools you need to accomplish your goals, even if that goal isn’t to start a business right away, go for it!

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.

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