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Feature Story on Mark and Jim’s Princeton Grad School Class

By November 17, 2023March 21st, 2024No Comments

GradFUTURES at the Graduate School at Princeton University has developed a robust suite of professional development programs that connect current graduate students to professionals in a variety of industries and in many different roles, with the goal of enabling them to explore potential career options. One way they do this is through interdisciplinary learning cohorts

designed to bring together students, alums, faculty, and industry partners to explore diverse professional pathways and focus on current societal, industry, and/or global trends.  The Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital (VC), and Startups Learning Cohort serves as a“crash course” for Princeton graduate students who want to learn about the startup world. Graduate students participate in interdisciplinary discussions during each session, complete pre-reading and reflection activities, and then develop a capstone presentation.

Venture Capitalists Jim Cohen’ 86 and Mark Poag’ 93 have been leading the Entrepreneurship, VC, and Startups Learning Cohort for the last 5 years. According to Eva Kubu — Associate Dean and Director of GradFUTURES — Jim and Mark, as Princeton alums and partners of Fitz Gate Ventures

, have greatly contributed to the growth in graduate students’ understanding of the startup world over the years. They were awarded the Clio Hall Award in 2022 from the Princeton Graduate School for their efforts.

On Princeton’s campus, where a growing number of startups are emerging from scholarly research and the founders of these young enterprises are often graduate students, the Entrepreneurship, VC, and Startups Learning Cohort serves as a condensed way for them to begin to understand the entrepreneurship realm. The cohort’s purpose is to help graduate students explore this as one of the many paths within and beyond academia– and build the skills and knowledge they will need to move forward.

In discussing his experience leading the program over the past five years, Mark emphasized how “knowledgeable” the graduate students are “in their field of study,” but he acknowledged that “most know very little about startups.”  He added, “It’s been fun to open their eyes to the possibility of starting a company based on their research or joining an existing startup as an alternative career option to academia.”

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