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UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business Spotlights Student Startups

300px-Haas_School_of_Business_central_courtyard1An MBA student at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business made the case for why business school can be an ideal place for entrepreneurs to get startups off the ground as part of an article in Forbes this week. At the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley many students have the same idea, and in acknowledgement the school has launched a new series to spotlight student ventures.

Andre Marquis, executive director of the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship, underscored how valuable time at Haas can be for budding entrepreneurs. “The best way to create entrepreneurial leaders is to give them the experience of building startups while they are here,” he said in the latest issue of BerkeleyHaas magazine.

To highlight Haas students doing just that, the school launched the new series, “Student Startup Roundup,” at the end of March. The inaugural installment featured student entrepreneurs from each the undergrad, full-time and evening and weekend MBA programs at Haas working on ventures ranging from an interactive travel magazine to a Bay Area recruiting firm to a mobile app development company.

At the MBA level, the first spotlighted student startup as part of the series is RockIT, a company designed to help Bay Area startups recruit engineers and developers. Jan Buescher, Haas MBA ‘13, teamed up with founding partner Cody Voellinger to launch the firm in June 2011 after an alum from her undergrad alma mater (Duke) suggested the Bay Area as a prime market for matching talent to need. RockIT uses high-tech tools and a high-touch approach to help about 50 area startups build their tech teams, hosting trivia nights and hackathons to tap into the developer community.

“At Haas I’ve learned how to create a business out of an idea and how to build a strong team, which is the most important asset in a knowledge company,” says Gaurav Agarwal, Haas Evening & Weekend MBA ’13. With partners Jimming Chen and Tiffany Yang, Agarwal launched interactive magazine Traverie, which is designed to make travel decisions easier by connecting users through Facebook to share inspiration and recommendations. Launched in November, the venture recently took second place in the Student Startup Madness tournament by South by Southwest. Agarwal credits the venture’s early success to several Haas offerings, including classes such as Problem Finding Problem Solving and New Venture Finance, the Lester Center’s Startup Board of Mentors Program and the UC Berkeley Startup Competition.

Check out Haas’s new Student Startup Roundup.