Entrepreneurship and…English Majors? Oh, YES.

One of the newest additions to our Alumni Mentoring Network is Timothy Tonella, CEO of Matchstar Venture Search. Tim writes,

I’ve been directly involved in the placement of over 420 technology VPs and C-level executives into venture backed companies across the company….I frequently coach CEOs and presidents on strategies and tactics for finding their next opportunity, positioning themselves (and their personal brand), and how to connect independently (through a private job search) with potential hiring managers – in this case, board members investing in technology companies. I’m also a venture partner in a venture capital fund (www.theexplorergroup.com),”

 

Tim shared how he got his start using English skills to succeed in realms not usually associated with English majors: 

The IEEE branch at U of I (at least back in 1986) was the largest student engineering organization in the nation.  I wanted have something significant on my resume as an interviewing senior and found a small clause in IEEE bi-laws that allowed non-engineering students to become an “affiliate member.”  Truth be told, my college roommate – who is now a big time Silicon Valley CEO – was President of IEEE at the time and helped me identify that exclusion.  As an affiliate member, I could technically run for office.  So I gave a speech – a pitch – to 400 engineering students about what I could do for them as the no. 2 guy (treasurer) of IEEE and beat out 10 engineering students to basically run the largest collegiate engineering branch in the country . . . as an English major!  Funny thing is that no one ever knew I wasn’t an engineering student.”

Entrepreneurship is a huge opportunity – not just for engineering students – but any kid with the drive, ambition, and the creative spirit to build something significant.  Here’s a fun video from about 7 years ago.  I found Google’s no. 1 engineer (had just won the coveted President’s Award at Google for all his work on gmail apps), and we started a company on the side together.  This video was part of a 4-segment highlight show (Tesla was also feature next to us) that ran directly after “60 Minutes” across 20 million cable subscribers:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cbi_Rm5SRE….You don’t have to be a top engineer or 4.0 business student to do some exciting things in the business world.

creative mind is the MOST valuable thing a student can possess, and that’s something you often see with English majors.

For English/CW majors interested in exploring entrepreneurship, there are a couple of upcoming campus opportunities to know about.

  • Entrepreneurship Forum
    Tuesday, April 25 and Wednesday, April 26, Illini Union
    Join the Offices of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Research for the annual Entrepreneurship Forum. There will be workshops on the new Siebel Center for Design; entrepreneurial resources available on campus and funding; and awarding of the $20,000 Illinois Innovation Prize. All students welcome. Register today for this fantastic event!
    Contact: Stephanie Larson

And, of course, we encourage you to join the alumni mentoring network so you can contact Tim and other English/CW alumni currently working in business to learn more about how to use your amazing communication and problem-solving skills in the business world.

By the Numbers: English and Creative Writing Majors Get Jobs

.You don’t have to major in a quantitative or preprofessional field to be employable.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has now collected campus-wide data, for the second year in a row, on what students plan to do when they graduate. The numbers in this chart are from the full report on the Illini Success survey for 2015-16.

Why Graduating Seniors Should Talk to the Director of Internships

1. Our department’s “Director of Internships” does a lot of other things, too: putting students in touch with helpful alumni, reviewing resumes, suggesting possible career paths, helping students articulate their skills.

2. There are jobs for people with English and Creative Writing skills, and Kirstin Wilcox can help point you towards them.

3. It will make your parents happy.

4. It’s really not as painful or awkward as you think it’s going to be.

5. It’s easier than locating a job cannon and more likely to succeed.

Drive Off the Spleen and Regulate the Circulation!

rain-122691_1920That interval just before finals: it’s a period that brings the opening lines of Moby Dick to life.

Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off—then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.

The sea is a long way away, and whaling vessels are in short supply, but Reading Day does offer the opportunity to break out of your accustomed study ruts (or procrastination ruts) and try a change of scenery to get the intellectual and creative juices flowing. Here are some Reading Day opportunities around campus this Thursday:

  • ESC will be holding its annual finals study lock-in this Thursday (12/8) at 8 pm in the English Building Atrium. Refreshments will be provided. You do not need to stay overnight and can come and go as you please. You are more than welcome to bring friends who are not English/CW majors/minors. What better way to study than with ESC?
  • Spending too much time in the English Building already? No one likes having to study all night, but if you must, why not study at the Y with the YMCA Student Board? Join your favorite people in your favorite building for snacks, crafts, and a weirdly diverse array of stress balls. We’re keeping the building open until midnight so stop whether it is for a few minutes or many hours. See the FB event page for details: https://www.facebook.com/events/1037075993088517/
  • Are you looking for a new, super awesome place to study for your finals? This Reading Day, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts has got your back.
    Look forward to raffle prizes, coloring, grilled cheese and coffee at the Intermezzo Cafe, and 20% off from the Promenade gift shop for Campus Appreciation Days!
    There will also be plenty of seating with charging stations, an on-site Residence Hall Libraries’ bookmobile, and of course KCPA’s regular, everyday amenities.
    Also feel free to stop by the KCPA Ambassadors table for information on how YOU can get involved with Krannert Center for the Performing Arts!
    https://krannertcenter.com/events/reading-day-kcpa
  • Whatever your study plan is, feel free to stop by EB 200 (Undergraduate Advising) for some Reading Day treats.

Are there any Reading day we’ve missed? Feel free to mention the in the comments.