During her two years at Wharton, this Lauder alumna focused her curriculum on entrepreneurship so that she could work on a venture idea.

“I came to Wharton wanting to start my own business,” said Azita Habibi, a Lauder alumna from Atlanta. She focused her curriculum on entrepreneurship so that she could work on a venture idea during her two years at Wharton.

Because she had an undergraduate degree in business, as well as a background in technology, she waived some core classes. This freed up her schedule for essential electives, including MGMT 801: Entrepreneurship – the prerequisite for all other entrepreneurial electives.

“That was extremely advantageous for me as a Lauder student since I have to take 6.5 credits where everyone else takes 4.5 credits a semester,” she said. “I started taking flex core courses that had an entrepreneurial focus. I also took electives like Management 801 in my first quarter.”

The class helped her flesh out the business idea that she conceived before Wharton – an online wedding dress venture in Brazil. “In the spring semester, I further refined my business plan in MGMT 806 [Formation and Implementation of Entrepreneurial Ventures] and coupled it with MKTG 730 [Special Topics: Digital Marketing and Electronic Commerce], since my idea involved e-commerce in the Brazilian market. All my flexible core choices also centered around entrepreneurship, including ODS 614 [Managing the Productive Core of the Firm: Innovation], MGMT 612 [Management of Emerging Enterprises] and WHCP 615 [Communication Challenges for Entrepreneurs: Pitching Your Business].”

She found both classmates and professors to be great resources. “Professor Guillen brainstormed with me and gave me advice on starting a business in an international setting, especially in Brazil. He’s a champion for starting a business in Latin America. Professor Ethan Mollick was fantastic in Management 801, and Professor Wry helped me flesh out my business plan in Management 806.”

She used her first-year electives during her internship. “I decided to work at a start-up in Brazil this summer so I could gain first-hand knowledge of the culture there and determine if it’s the right place to start a business,” Azita said. “It has been amazing to be hear and see first hand what it’s like to start a business in an emerging market. It’s interesting to experience the startup environment Brazil and compare it to the one in the United States.”

“I was originally thinking wedding dresses, but I’m not sure if Brazil is ready for an online wedding dress business, so I may be switching gears,” she said.

Posted: January 7, 2016

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