Back in May, a group of students embarked on the iSchool’s annual EntreTech NYC Trip, one of many iSchool Trips where students can learn by going into the field. There, they made 19 visits (scroll to the bottom to see the complete list of those who hosted!), networked with iSchool alumni, and got to take an inside look at the New York City technology world.

Curious about what it was like this year? Here is a glimpse of what you can learn from EntreTech from five of the students who experienced it firsthand:

Val Lacasse ’16: Grit

Whether a founder or an employee at a start-up, grit is what helped many people we visited achieve their goal. It is what allowed me to stand in front of truly inspirational people. And it is what allowed for the development of solutions to problems the world faces.

After observing first hand, I recommend the following things for someone who wants to pursue starting their own company or who wants to help make a star-up grow: push yourself to the limit, ignore giving up, give it your all, and take the time to do it right.

GPA, leadership ability, and SAT scores are things commonly looked at to judge how successful one may be, however, this trip has taught me that there is a better way to anticipate the level of success one may achieve and that is their willingness to persevere in pursuit of long-term goals.

EntreTech NYC 2016 at First Round, speaking with Birchbox co-founder Hayley Bay Barna.

EntreTechNYC 2016 at First Round, speaking with Birchbox co-founder Hayley Bay Barna.

Christopher Chomicki ’19: Transparency

My journey through our various visits revealed a very big underlying theme in how today’s companies are run. The idea of “transparency” kept coming up in conversations at each and every place. It may have not been explained the same way at every company, but they all held this one core value. There must be fluidity and no secrets kept among co-workers. If this does not occur, then no forward progress can be made on projects and the company as a whole.

At Warby Parker, a huge emphasis was placed on how different teams needed to and are encouraged to work together. Each individual team can help bring their best skills to the project in order to collaborate and get the job done the best. Everyone in the office is always included in whatever was going on.

The thing that really reinforced this idea at Warby Parker was the CEO was always involved in the work environment. He was not separate from the normal work office and looked very approachable, a truly “transparent” atmosphere.

I want to continue to leave a mark on this world and know that I will make a lasting impact on multiple people’s lives. If the world can adopt this trusting and transparent lifestyle, I think that we could make the world a much better place.

Oriana McDonough ’19: Passion

The companies we visited yesterday made me think about passion as love and hustle. Warby Parker, Vasu Kulkarni from Krossover, and Scott from Scott’s Pizza Tours, all dealt with this type of passion.

Warby Parker’s set up was intriguing in the business pattern and the feel of the company. Although we did not get to meet the CEO of the company, just from the employees enthusiasm, excitement, willingness to share and work for the company gave off an ideology of extreme passion into what the business is about and why they thoroughly enjoyed working there. From the “Do Good” methodology of donating a pair of glasses for every pair sold, it was evident that the company truly believed in the product and helping people, illustrating a true love for glasses and people.

Many times when you think of passion and especially when people ask what your passions are, it’s mostly expressed as physical objects or activities. Meeting with Hayley Barna, Kenny Rosenblatt, and Wiley Cerilli, gave me another insight into how passion can be defined, as a pursuit of business and success.

EntreTech NYC 2016 at Vox Media, hosted by iSchool alum Billy Ceskavich

EntreTech NYC 2016 at Vox Media, hosted by iSchool alum Billy Ceskavich

Michael Florio ’17: You’re never out of the game

Vasu Kulkarni is the CEO of Krossover and should be an inspirational speaker. His story is the epitome of “you are never out of the game.” Vasu struggled after college to get a job in the IT field and decided to launch his own company with two things he loved: IT and sports.

When Vasu was launching his idea of cutting up game footage of amateur, college, and professional sports games, he received negative feedback from investors. Investors were even more tough to convince because the recession of 2008 was still affecting New York during his launch in 2009.

Despite gaining very few investors and hardly enough money to scrape by, he did not give up and continued to run his business. He stated, “A company is never out of business until the founders walk out.” In other words, unless the founders give upm it does not matter how little employees or money the company has – it still has a shot until they quit.

He believed this motto through hard times and was able to prosper through adversity. Now he is battling with competitors for market share in the sporting industry and has taken over the market in Major League Lacrosse, as well as amateur sporting events.

Sophia Kardaras ’18: Staying Humble

You’re heading into an industry that is constantly growing and adapting.  In some areas you’ll be an expert, while in others you’ll be clueless, and that’s okay! Put yourself out there and be willing to make mistakes. Don’t know what to do next? Ask. People will be there. Use them, and let them use you!

Wondering where EntreTech NYC went this year? Here’s the full list! Explore the companies for yourself: