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A Look Inside the Venture Capital Executive Program

Jerry Engel teaching

Venture Capital is a driving force behind entrepreneurship and innovation. It fuels the economy, creates growth opportunities for companies large and small and, it funds the business development strategies of major corporations. The Venture Capital Executive Program is essential for experienced investors, corporate executives and serious entrepreneurs that not only want an exclusive window into this ever-changing industry but also want to gain insider tips on how to succeed with Venture Capital firms.


Jerome Engel: Berkeley is a special blend. Something about our culture here that makes us very open. We really embrace thinking differently. We really embrace adult learning and the honesty and inquisitiveness of being a continuous learner. And we really embrace venture capital as a way of creating value for the context we come from.

Evangelos Kosmidis: This particular program, it had all the things that an entrepreneur needs. It had the pieces of venture capital, pieces of finance, pieces of everything.

Jennifer Riggs-Sautier: I truly believe that for someone to really grow and develop you have to come outside of your comfort zone and that's both in interactions and learning. And so I found that the program here at Haas not only gave me the knowledge base in the interactions with experts in the particular fields of business but it took me out of my comfort zone.

Jerome Engel:  We begin with a day on context setting, because all decisions have context. Then we look at the specific tools, opportunity recognition, assessment, deal flow generation, deal flow negotiation. We look at harvesting. How do we harvest value from deals? How do we harvest value from our firms? How do we harvest value personally?  And then, of course, it wouldn't be a great program unless we ended up on next steps. So everybody leaves with their own direct, programmatic understanding of what they're going to do on Monday morning to put this knowledge to work for them.

Jennifer Riggs-Sautier: This class has surpassed my expectations quite honestly. Not only have I gotten a foundation of the principles of investing and what investors look for, but the access to actually being able to interact with venture capitalists and successful entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley has provided an additional set of experiences and knowledge base that I don't think I would have gotten if I had just sat in a classroom for even a semester.

Evangelos Kosmidis: Professor Engel is very passionate to what he's doing and he's very inspirational. He's explaining both the perception of the VC or venture capitalists and the perception of an entrepreneur and he does this with the passion for both sides. He's not separating the two so you can really understand the pros and the cons.

Jerome Engel:  I think we all recognize that the venture capital community here in the Bay Area has a special way of doing business that energizes and collaborates rather than competes and extracts. This is what we have modeled here in the Venture Capital program. This is what we teach. These are the values we celebrate.

Ayuk Akoachere: I'm so happy being here. I'm so happy to to have made the journey. And I'm happy to go back and implement it. And I bet you the return on investment for me coming here is going to be enormous.

Jennifer Riggs-Sautier: Being able to tap into the expertise within Silicon Valley, talking to people that have gone through these processes before and learning from them, has been an absolutely incredible experience that I had not anticipated before attending the class.