Hisaoka Fellowship Program

The Hisaoka Fellowship Program is designed for first year Smith MBA students who are highly interested in entrepreneurial innovation and/or startups. The program is a partnership between the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship and the Office of Career Services. In order to be selected as a Hisaoka Fellow, students must secure summer internships with VC- or angel-funded startups and early stage companies. Through the Hisaoka Fellowship program, startups benefit from increased access to Smith MBA talent. Students benefit from experience with the challenges of forming and growing new ventures. The Dingman Center provides each Hisaoka Fellow a $5,000 stipend to supplement students’ summer salaries. This presents an excellent opportunity for startups which otherwise may lack sufficient funds to compete for MBA interns.

Advantages of becoming a Hisaoka Fellow

  • Fellows will be awarded, at a minimum, a $5,000 matching scholarship to supplement the summer internship salary
  • Foster connections within and understanding of the local entrepreneurial ecosystem
  • Will be promoted and supported by the Dingman Center within the Smith School, UMD and the startup community
  • Unique access to the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship’s programming and various internal and external events

Qualifications

  • This program is open to current first year Smith MBA students
  • Students must have a strong interest in entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial thinking, and/or working in an early stage company
  • Participation in entrepreneurial focused classes and past involvement with Dingman Center programming
  • Experience in or willingness to accept the untraditional startup work environment
  • Have received an offer from a startup

Roles & Responsibilities

  • Produce high level work and strongly represent the Dingman Center, the Smith School and the University of Maryland
  • Will commit to work during a typical summer internship time frame (early June to early/mid-August) negotiating any vacation dates with the company directly
  • Once designated a Fellow, students are expected to be frequently involved with the Dingman Center

What types of companies can participate in this program?

  • Firm must either have already raised some Angel or VC funding, be a Venture Capital (VC) firm or incubator, or have received grant funding of $500,000 or more
  • Non-profit startups are also eligible
  • Technology commercialization opportunities and incubators will also be considered
  • Self-funded firms will be considered in cases where angel or VC funding is being actively pursued
  • Must be recent startups: less than five years since inception (or since initial external capital, in the case of “ramp-ups” or “speed-ups”)
  • Must offer an approximately 10-week internship, starting in June and ending in August 2015, paying at least $5,000 total (i.e., $12.50/hour, full time)
  • The company is expected to expose the student to strategic decision-making aspects of the company’s operation

Application Process for Students

  • Student works independently (and with OCS and Dingman Center) to secure an internship offer
  • Student applies with offer letter, resume and cover letter explaining 1) why you want to become a Hisaoka Fellow, 2) how you will succeed in an entrepreneurial setting and 3) how this program will further your career goals (see links/contact info below)
  • Dingman Center responds within 48 hours to set up interview (if application qualifies)
  • Results of application review will be either Accept, Deny, or Waitlist

Contact Information & Forms

2017 Fellows

Claire Almand

Claire Almand

Claire Almand grew up on the eastern shore of Maryland and returned there to begin her career after graduating with a B.A. in Psychology from Swarthmore College. Prior to pursuing her MBA, Claire worked as a marketing manager for a local restaurant and art gallery. Finding an unmet demand for marketing solutions, Claire started her own digital marketing consultancy, blending her love of patterns, people, and creative media to produce innovative solutions for her clients. At Smith, Claire is focused on marketing, strategy, and entrepreneurship and was elected by her class as MBA Association Vice President of Marketing and Communications. Taking advantage of the dynamic DC tech startup space, Claire quickly connected with the local ecosystem and has been thrilled to intern at startup MPOWER Financing throughout her first year, contributing to their marketing strategy and creative media design. Claire is refining her diverse backgrounds in psychology, marketing, and the arts in order to start her own business after receiving her MBA. When not working, Claire enjoys trail running, landscape photography, and reading.

Summer Internship: MPOWER Financing

Elle Phuong Le

Elle Phuong Le

Elle Phuong Le is from Vietnam, but she grew up in Singapore. She has a degree in Maritime Studies from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Elle is interested in Data Analytics, and Process Optimization. She has spent three years working in the shipping industry, focused on various functions, such as global network design, empty-container flow optimization, and business process management. Elle also has a Minor in Entrepreneurship and co-founded SmartFishya company selling pet fish training equipment when she was in sophomore year. She is the founder of Only Rice Is Not Enough, Singaporea charity that has raised $20k for pupils in Dien Bien, Vietnam. 

Summer Internship: StartBlox

Kelly Zhang

Kelly Zhang

Kelly Zhang is from Shanghai, China. She received her Bachelor's degree in English and her LLM (Civil and Commercial Law) at Shanghai University. Prior to Smith, Kelly has been working as a legal specialist for five years with extensive experiences in corporate compliance, contract negotiation and foreign direct investment. As a maximizer, she always thinks about how to bring things to the next level. At Smith, Kelly is focused on Operations, Strategy and Consulting. She is also a member of mQuest cohort 4 (mQuest is a consulting program that develops sustainable business solutions using design thinking and analytical approaches. mQuest admits a selective group of MBA students at the Smith school of business each year to learn by partnering with outside companies).

Summer Internship: SnobSwap

2016 Fellows

Ashish Agarwal

Ashish Agarwal

Ashish Agarwal has 7 years’ experience working in the startup environment in India with various roles in Analytics and Strategy. His work has helped him earn Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from Project Management Institute (PMI), Six Sigma Green Belt Credential from American Society for Quality (ASQ) and Online Marketing Certified Professional (OMCP) credentials with specialization in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Web Analytics. At the Smith, Ashish is a dual degree MBA and MS in Information Systems student, with a concentration in business analytics. He is also the founding president of Smith’s Graduate Data Analytics Club. In addition to his professional experience, Ashish is an active practitioner of Vedic mathematics, an ancient Indian way of solving math problems. His other interests include cooking, backpacking and teaching.

Summer Internship: MPOWER Financing

Arjun Goel

Arjun Goel

Prior to starting his MBA at Smith, Arjun Goel was a Technical Project Manager at the American Institutes for Research, a non­profit organization involved in, among other things, facilitating online statewide educational assessments for K-­12 students. During his 4.5 years there, Arjun gained valuable experience managing multiple clients across different projects. At Smith, Arjun is focused on Entrepreneurial Finance and is looking to leverage his technical background to transition into venture capital with a focus on early stage technology companies.

Summer Internship: Martin Development Corporation

Jennifer Hwang

Jennifer Hwang

Jennifer is interested in Marketing and Human Capital. Before she decided to pursue an MBA, Jennifer looked to her maternal great grandmother, who started her own tea leaf retail business, for inspiration and confidence. Prior to starting her MBA at Smith, Jennifer worked for four years in higher education and publishing. Since orientation, Jennifer has taken advantage of the resources offered by the Dingman Center such as Dingman Fridays. She is passionate about food and would love to work in the food industry upon graduation.

Summer Internship: Rybbon

Shwetha Reddy

Shwetha Reddy

Prior to starting her MBA, Shwetha Reddy had worked for 8 years mainly in the UK in the telecoms, investment banking, and IT services industries. She’s had extensive product lifecycle and agile experience and has worked in multiple functional areas including software design and development, business analysis, product, and project delivery. She hails from an entrepreneurial family and has been actively involved in the startup community at school. As a board member of the entrepreneurship club, she participated in the school's first ever trek to the Bay Area and attended the TechCrunch conference last year along with a handful of first and second years. She is passionate about product, technology, and innovation and interned at a startup as a product manager last winter. Shwetha is now keen on leveraging her rich experience and her creative abilities to pursue an exciting career in product management.

Summer Internship: SnobSwap

2015 Fellows

Lana Bronipolsky

Lana Bronipolsky

Prior to starting her MBA at Smith, Lana spent 7 years in the financial services industry, most recently at PIMCO in Southern California. Originally from the DC metro area, Lana was excited to return to the area and through the Dingman Center participate in the local startup culture. At Smith, Lana has focused on entrepreneurial finance and is especially interested in financial technology. Her team was awarded first place in the Leadership Under Fire case competition and her team was runner up in the Venture Capital Investment Competition in November 2014 team. She is most interested in helping early stage companies raise capital, develop growth strategies, and run efficient operations.

Summer Internship: MPOWER Financing

Sumanth Jinagouda

Sumanth Jinagouda

Sumanth Jinagouda is passionate about products, technology and entrepreneurship. Prior to Smith, Sumanth worked as a Technology Consultant at Deloitte for 4 years. He has extensive experience in SAP and SAP-mobile consulting. Currently, Sumanth is working with Dingman Center to give shape and direction to his idea.

Summer Internship: Living Social

Mike Mandl

Mike Mandl

Due to overwhelming demand among undergraduate students for startup internships, one of the Hisaoka Fellowships was offered to an undergraduate student, Mike Mandl. Mike is a UMD economics major who’s interested in up-and-coming technology with the potential to disrupt markets. He started his own profit-generating businesses through his landscaping and cell phone repair services, ProTech MD. Mike spent the past year creating virtual reality college campus tours and plans to find his niche in the market after graduation.

Summer Internship: YouVisit in New York City

Justin Taubman

Justin Taubman

Justin Taubman grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and studied Political Science at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. He began his career at the US Department of Homeland Security where he worked for seven years. Justin’s work focused on innovative security and customer service solutions for aviation security. In 2014, Justin resigned as Program Manager of Passenger Innovation to attend Smith and is focused on Entrepreneurial Finance. Justin currently serves as President of the Smith MBA Entrepreneurship Club.

Summer Internship: FoodBAM

Gloria Zhang

Gloria Zhang

Gloria Zhang is a first-year MBA student interested in marketing and data analytics. Before coming to Smith, Gloria Zhang worked at Louis Vuitton, China for two years as a Retail Operations Management Trainee. Her responsibilities included supervising after sales service, creating sales strategy, and optimizing merchandizing and inventory allocation. She also worked for China’s biggest animal shelter for a year.

Summer Internship: Homesnap