On Friday, September 13, 2019, fifth and sixth form students enrolled in Hill’s new Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise course had the opportunity to meet with and talk to The Hill School alumnus who had the vision for the class. Mike Vaughan ’93, former COO of Venmo and lifelong entrepreneur, visited campus to meet the 16 young men and women who are enrolled in the course, which is being taught by Ms. Twila Fisher, Hill's director of community and economic development.
Mike feels passionately about educating young people on entrepreneurship. He and his wife, Krista, have made a generous gift to get the class off the ground.
According to Mike, many colleges and universities have great MBA programs, but there are not many top undergraduate business programs like Wharton, where he went to school and with which he still has close connections. He saw an opportunity to teach students about starting a business and entrepreneurship from people who have succeed at doing so and decide there was no better place to start than his alma mater.
“I wanted to take what I had a Wharton and bring it down a level to high school students,” he remarked.
The entrepreneurship course serves as an introduction to the methods and mastery of business planning and practice. Students will receive both theory and hands-on experience in the various components of entrepreneurship, including marketing, finance, management, business plans, and global markets. However, a key component of the class is for students to learn from individuals – ideally Hill alumni – who have had success with their own business ventures. Mike was the first of many guest speakers who will engage with our students.
“We really want to give the students a chance to have a dialogue with alumni about their experiences and how it relates to what we will be working on in the class,” notes Twila. “We hope alumni will be excited about sharing their stories with future Hill entrepreneurs!”
While at Hill today, Mike spoke about his time at Venmo and working with Andrew Kortina and Iqram Magdon-Ismail, the two co-founders of the company. He also talked about his experience at Hill and how it prepared him well for college.
While this is only week two of the school year, Mike is excited about the opportunities outside of Hill that may come about as a result of this course.
“When I decided to go to Wharton, I was prepared thanks to my Hill experience. You (the students) have the benefit of being at Hill where you gain a foundation of skills – including writing and oral communication - to build upon in college.
“We’re creating something together as we go along (with this class) – that is what entrepreneurship is all about.”
Twila and Mike are inviting Hill alumni and parents to join them as a guest lecturer - in person or via video – during the upcoming school year. They are interested in hearing from alumni with different types of backgrounds and experiences across all sectors (tech, business, biotech, medical fields, family businesses, nonprofits, government, professional services, creators, artists, finance, marketing, sales, etc.). Learn more.