Eight Georgetown alumni feature in Forbes’ “30 Under 30 Class of 2018,” a list of 600 rising stars in the business world in 20 different industries.
The magazine recognized alumni including Mike Dee (MSB ’13), Elizabeth Galbut (COL ’11), Raza Munir (MSB ’11), Diana Tsai Rau (SFS ’12), Luke Schoenfelder (COL ’12), Phil Wong (SFS ’15), Ann Yang (SFS ’16) and Arthur Woods (MSB ’10).
Forbes selected these alumni from thousands of nominees in the categories of social entrepreneurship, food and drink, venture capital, consumer technology and education.
Woods, Wong and Yang were nominated for their work in social entrepreneurship. Wong and Yang co-founded Misfit Juicery, a company that makes cold-pressed juice from fruit that would otherwise have been discarded because of minor cosmetic imperfections. Woods cofounded Imperative, a benefit corporation that helps companies cultivate more efficient workforces.
Both said they were not surprised to see so many Hoyas selected for the Forbes “30 Under 30” list.
“It’s a testament to the fact that the good people at the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative are doing their jobs really well,” Wong said in a university news release.
“I was always inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit and work ethic of fellow Hoyas,” Woods said in the news release.
Rau, Dee and Munir said they found formative influences in their classes and professors at Georgetown.
Rau cofounded Veterati, a digital mentorship platform that connects veterans with volunteer mentors and employment opportunities. She attributes the development of her entrepreneurial skill and spirit to Marc Busch, professor of government and business administration, who taught her “Governments in the Global Economy” course when Rau attended Georgetown.
Busch said the news of Rau’s recognition in Forbes came as no surprise to him; Rau had always exhibited an unrelenting drive to succeed in his classroom.
“She at one point explained to me that her presentation was going to go a certain way and that was that, and I was rather struck by her determination to deliver on her vision and she did it,” Busch said in the news release.
Dee, who cofounded Pilotworks, a culinary incubator that provides shared work space for chefs and food entrepreneurs, cited David Post, former professor of accounting, as a particular inspiration for him to pursue entrepreneurship as a career path.
“Accounting 101 with Professor Post was really influential because he shared stories from his own entrepreneurship experience throughout the semester,” Dee wrote in an email to The Hoya. “It was extremely insightful and much more impactful than the debits and credits we learned about.”
A double major in finance and management during his time at Georgetown, Munir says his entrepreneurship class with former professor William Finnerty led him to a greater understanding of success, which helped him create Climb Credit, a student lending company that offers fast and affordable lons for high-quality education programs.
“It’s effectively a teaching on how to become a successful person and achieve your potential, regardless of what you pursue,” Munir wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Schoenfelder, who cofounded a new smart lock system called Latch, and Galbut, a managing partner at a venture capitalist fund named SoGal Ventures that invests in diverse entrepreneurship teams, said they were pleased to receive the nominations, considering it an indication of their success.
“These types of awards are really just byproducts of building things that matter. Focus on that and everything else will fall into place,” Schoenfelder said in a university news release.
“Keep building and scaling your business, and the recognition will follow,” Galbut said in the news release.
Lucy Flinn, director of strategic communications and operations for the Georgetown University Alumni Association, said the post-graduation ventures of all eight alumni align with Georgetown’s vision of leadership.
“Georgetown University strives to prepare the next generation of global citizens to make a difference in the world, and the eight alumni recognized on the 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 List embody the Jesuit values of service to others and service to the community,” Flinn said in the news release.
Dee echoed the continued relevance of Georgetown’s Jesuit values in his professional life.
“People for others is a value that applies to my life every day. I care about my work because it helps create opportunity for others,” Dee wrote in an email to The Hoya. “Their success is ultimately my success, and the symbiotic relationship between Pilotworks and our customers is at the heart of what we do.”
Munir said in a news release that the meaningful experiences he gained from engaging with Georgetown’s talented and diverse community showed him the power of a good education.
“Georgetown is one of the best things to have happened to me. I believe quality education can fundamentally change the path and legacy of an individual’s life,” Munir wrote. “Creating a company with the express mission of increasing access to quality education was inspired by my personal experience at university.”
Drawing from their post-graduate experiences, both Munir and Dee highlighted the importance of having a flexible mindset toward setting one’s professional goals. They advise current college students to follow their interests rather than a fixed career path.
“Like most students, I experienced life-aim paralysis while in school. I studied finance and did internships in the field by default. The one thing I did right was decide to go a different direction because I knew that wasn’t a life-long career for me,” Dee wrote in an email to The Hoya.
“Rather than focusing on what you want to be, focus on who you want to be. What traits and characteristics define the person you strive to be? Pursue opportunities and circumstances which allow you to become that person,” Munir said in the news release.
Update: A previous version of this article excluded mention of Yang as an alumna recognized by Forbes.