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Summer Internship Options: The Lebor Family Fellowship

For all those RC students debating internship options, there is a great opportunity to work for an early stage startup this summer, and to supplement your salary with a grant from the Lebor Fellowship, administered by MBA Career Services.

The Fellowship was established by Mr. John Lebor (MBA 1930) to encourage HBS students to pursue careers at entrepreneurial companies. Last summer I was fortunate to receive a Lebor Fellowship to conduct an internship for a location-based services, high-tech startup, Rosum Corporation, in Palo Alto, CA.

My summer internship with Rosum was an incredibly challenging and enjoyable experience, made possible thanks to the generosity of The Lebor Family Fellowship. Rosum is an early stage startup in the wireless telecommunications sector. The company provides mobile positioning to locate cellular phones, and can establish the position of a mobile user to within a few meters anywhere in the country. With a patented technology, the company uses digital television broadcasts to triangulate the user’s location.

I was drawn to Rosum partly because the central application of the technology is the saving of lives. By providing the most effective E911 solution, the company has the potential to be a $1Bn opportunity, while serving an incredibly valuable social purpose.

During the summer I was involved in the achievement of key milestones during a period of rapid growth. My central responsibility was to write a business plan for the company and formulate a business model.

The positioning determining equipment market is incredibly complex due to the range of partnerships each player is dependent on – from wireless carriers and handset manufacturers to infrastructure and content providers. As a result, revenue models and billing structures are extremely multifarious. In the course of extensive market and competitor research and industry interviews, I compiled the business plan and constructed a revenue model. I drew extensively on my RC courses, particularly Competition and Strategy, Marketing, and The Entrepreneurial Manager.

Lastly, I created financial forecasts, drawing heavily on the RC Finance I & II courses. It was incredibly satisfying to realize how much I had actually picked up in the course of two terms studying Finance (I didn’t always feel that way sitting in class!), and the scope with which I could apply my skills.

In addition to writing the business plan, I was constantly asked to assist with ad hoc Business Development activities, such as creating presentations to be used in the company’s meetings with the FCC, wireless carriers and handset manufacturers.

I gained a thorough sense of the myriad challenges facing an entrepreneur, and the speed at which difficult decisions have to be made in the face of uncertainty. My MBA studies proved more valuable than I had dreamed at this early stage, but they were also supplemented invaluably by my real world experience. I hugely enjoyed helping to build a successful business while pursuing a significant social purpose.

Anybody considering a summer internship at an entrepreneurial company should not hesitate to apply for the Lebor Fellowship. It is not an easy decision to opt for a high-tech startup internship experience, given the current economic climate. However, the Lebor Fellowship should help make the decision easier. Your work will likely provide you with an exciting entrepreneurial environment in which to consolidate all that you have learnt in the first year of your MBA.

The deadline to apply for funding from the John F. Lebor Family Fellowship Fund is Friday, May 3, 2002 at 5:00 PM. Applications for the fellowship are available on-line on the Career Services homepage or can be picked up at Career Services, Wilder House. For more information regarding the fund, please contact Ron Peracchio at 495-6390, or rperacchio@hbs.edu

April 1, 2002
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