Zero to Sixty in 6.1 Weeks

Now that we’ve wrapped up the inaugural session of the Startup Institute and prepare for our next class, I thought I’d take a minute to reflect and share some thoughts I’ve been having recently. This whole thing began some months back while at TechStars and was announced publicly at our favorite Boston tech event, RubyRiot.

At its inception, the Startup Institute was a program to help keep graduating college seniors in Boston (of which there are ~ 62,000 each year), and train a critical population of startup joiners to support all the growing companies throughout the Boston Ecosystem. In general, the response was through the roof. Of course companies wanted amazing talent to join their team – just how we would teach them to be spectacular was another story all together. But as any good startup does, we’d figure it out; and that we did. Our curriculum was developed entirely by practitioners at leading high-growth tech companies throughout Boston and greater New England. We then took on the challenge of adapting and teaching it over our 6-week intensive program.

We’ve also experienced a shift in our vision; it’s gotten way bigger. We’re building a company to train the next layer of critical talent that growing companies need to survive. Human capital is hard to obtain, often harder than financial capital. While we won’t place individuals within companies, we’ll train them on what it’s like to be there and provide them on what it’s like to be there and provide them with tools and mentorship to better make their own career decisions.

Something that feels a little strange [this is somewhat hard to admit] is that each day I find myself stopping to take in what’s going on and just smiling. I’m blown away by what our alumni have achieved since the conclusion of the program. Our instructors were pleased with how eager and engaged everyone was and are excited to teach again. Companies are coming to us and asking how they can get involved too. It’s an awesome feeling harnessing so much energy and motivation into one location and then unleashing it on the community.

While the exact product we’re building is still adapting; the foundation on which we’re building is strong and the direction we’re going is clear. We’ve just released the application for our Fall 2012 class and the response so far has been overwhelming. If you know anyone looking to switch careers and join a startup or a promising recent graduate, please tell them to apply to the Startup Institute. There is a clear need in Boston for this type of program and I’m excited to be working towards filling that gap in education.

Aaron O’Hearn is the Co-Founder of the Startup Institute and Head of Special Projects at TechStars Boston. You can follow Aaron on Twitter (@aaron0) by clicking here.