First-year MBA candidate Erica Sivertson, MBA ’15, is building the foundation for her targeted career in consulting and entrepreneurial business at the Zell Lurie Institute.
The Institute’s $5.5 million Wolverine Venture Fund has served as a “school within a school,” where Sivertson and fellow MBA students have had an opportunity to learn about venture-capital investing by making real-time investments in promising start-up companies in the advanced-technology, medical-devices, IT and biotechnology sectors. The WVF, which launched in the late 1990s, is one of the world’s first VC funds to engage students as partners in the investment decision-making process. Each fall, a small group of MBA’s is selected to join the fund for two years to gain hands-on VC experience. Student team members source, screen and negotiate investments and receive guidance from an advisory board of professional venture capitalists and entrepreneurs.
Sivertson’s strong background in government affairs has proven to be an asset to the WVF. Prior to entering the Ross School, she worked as a director at Quinn Gillespie & Associates, a public-affairs firm in Washington, D.C., specializing in government relations and strategic communications. At the firm, she assisted a number of technology and financial-services clients, including trade associations, small companies, nonprofit organizations and Fortune 100 corporations. Earlier, Sivertson served as an executive assistant and legislative correspondent for U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, the first woman elected, in 2006, to represent the state of Minnesota in the U.S. Senate.
While Sivertson’s original network is based in the nation’s capital, she now leverages the Zell Lurie Institute to forge valuable new contacts and relationships among Ross’ diverse student body and the Institute’s widespread alumni community. Over the course of her first year on the WVF, Sivertson gained exposure to promising new fields, such as biotechnology and biopharmaceuticals, where the commercialization of breakthrough research, therapies and devices offer hope for improving lives. For the time being, she is keeping her options open and learning as much as possible about a wide swath of industries. Ultimately, Sivertson looks forward to starting her post-MBA career in consulting and, possibly, using her entrepreneurial acumen down the road.