Ryan Baer

Background: I grew up in San Jose, CA before moving to the Midwest to get my degree in Finance from the University of Notre Dame. I moved to Chicago after graduation, where I spent 4 years working in Deloitte's Risk and Financial Advisory practice with a focus on business continuity, crisis management and contingency planning. Outside of the office, I love to play soccer and am really passionate about Liverpool Football Club.

Ask Me About: Planning and leading a trek, in-year internships, management consulting, career switching, enterprise software, moving to Chicago from somewhere warm

How I’m Involved In Entrepreneurship/VC: Before Booth, I spent time working with Deloitte's Advisory Ventures Fund with a focus in the marketing and advertising industries. While at Booth, I interned at Vitalize Venture Group, co-led the SF VC Trek, and have been taking advantage of the "@chicagobooth.edu" email address to expand my network of VC's and entrepreneurs.

Fun Fact: I've been scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef

Kyle Birmingham

Background: I grew up outside of Philadelphia and still call Philly "home." I attended the University of South Carolina (the real USC! ... well, we were first) and majored in Finance and International Business. After my stint in the South, I started my career at Vanguard in the Philadelphia area. I completed a rotational leadership program and then worked in product management and strategy roles. Most recently, I was working on corporate development projects and helped build out the Corp Dev function for the firm.

Ask Me About: In-semester internships, NYC Startup Trek, career switching, pre-seed startups, choosing the right stage company, entrepreneurship classes, working remote (I'm currently working for a SF-based startup), EIP program, Polsky Exchange, and anything really!

How I’m Involved In Entrepreneurship/VC: I am currently interning for a pre-seed SF-based resale startup (think Craigslist meets Amazon Lockers). I co-led the NYC Startup trek this year and plan on working for a seed-stage company this summer. I am working my way through Booth's entrepreneurship curriculum and have taken Entrepreneurial Selling, Building the New Venture, Accounting for Startups, Entrepreneurial Finance and Private Equity, and Life Sciences: Innovation and Finance. I'm interested in early stage startups, Pre-Seed through Series A, within health care, automotive, and consumer. I'm recruiting for the east coast mainly Philadelphia and NYC.

Fun Fact: I left my wife on a bus in China by accident. We rescued her and we are still married!

JP Bowgen

Background: I grew up just outside of New York City and graduated from Northwestern University with a B.S. in Organizational Psychology. I started my career at an expert network called AlphaSights focused on growth equity accounts, transitioned to strategy consulting, and spent 2.5 years before Booth on Macy's Corporate Venture team. I've had several early-stage VC internships including VU Venture Partners in San Francisco, OCA Ventures in Chicago, and now Hyde Park Angels through Booth's PE / VC Lab. Industry-wise, I'm focused on all things consumer (software, products, services, etc.), and have a particular passion for food, beverage, and agriculture. At Booth, I'm also Co-Chair of the Wine Club. Outside the classroom, you can find me with a glass of wine in hand, deep sea fishing, scuba diving, or exploring new / exciting restaurants.

Ask Me About: Corporate venture capital, career switching, entrepreneurship / VC classes, interning during the school year, consumer investing, food / agriculture and beverage investing, NYC VC trek, PE / VC Lab, deciding if venture capital is the right career path for you, wine

How I’m Involved In Entrepreneurship/VC: I've taken a handful of entrepreneurship courses, including Commercializing Innovation, Entrepreneurial Finance & Private Equity, Accounting for Entrepreneurship and the PE / VC Lab. I went on the NYC VC trek, participated in VCIC and stay active in the NYC / Chicago VC communities.

Fun Fact: I'm a certified Master Scuba Diver.

Ji Hoon Lee

Background: Prior to Booth, I spent a year at Family Office in Seoul, developing an investment strategy and preparing to launch an overseas fund dedicated to investing in early- and growth- stage start-ups in the United States. I established a joint investment vehicle last year, and has personally invested in 5 early stage start-ups based in New York. Prior to joining the VC world, I spent four years at Mirae Asset Global Investments in its Infrastructure Private Equity Division, responsible for originating and evaluating global infrastructure assets in Utilities, Transportation, and Social Infrastructure sectors. At Booth, I serve as a co-chair for EVC Group and Korean Business Group, and as Venture Partner at Contrary Capital, a network-driven, university-focused venture fund, backed by co-founders of Facebook, Tesla, Reddit, and many others.

Ask Me About: Angel Investment, VC Recruiting, PE vs. VC, Academic-year internship, Moving with a partner, Life at South Loop

How I’m Involved In Entrepreneurship/VC: Seed Con

Fun Fact: When I visited Napa for the first time, I only had 5 hours, but made the most out of it by visiting 7 wineries and not wasting a drop.

Ali Mahmoud

Background: I grew up in the Boston, MA area and attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst. After graduating as an Accounting major, I started my career at Ernst & Young. After a few years I caught the entrepreneurial itch and jumped into startups. Prior to Booth I was a founding team member of SixPlus, where I wore many different hats before leaving as the Head of Business Development. I still love being involved with startups, both inside and outside of the Booth ecosystem.

Ask Me About: Internships, working in startups, VC lab, career-switching, coming to Booth with a partner, and building your network.

How I’m Involved In Entrepreneurship/VC: I’ve held a VC internship during the quarter, taken a number of startup/VC-focused classes in my first year, helped build a startup from day zero, participated in the PE/VC Lab, traveled on the SF VC Trek, led a first-year team in VCIC, volunteered at SeedCon, and learned a lot from the EVC community!

Fun Fact: I drive a 1976 BMW.

Whitney McElwain

Background: I grew up in Texas (think Friday Night Lights) before graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.S. in Advertising. Prior to Booth, I worked in marketing at Red Bull and launched startups at 1-800 Contacts. As a part of a corporate innovation group, I helped grow both a brick-and-mortar vision brand and an e-commerce DTC glasses company to 5x each within a year. I was lucky to be a guest on the All the Social Ladies podcast and to be featured in Forbes Women discussing topics on networking and mentorship. Outside the classroom, I enjoy yoga, walks with my dogs, and exploring the city's neighborhoods... while dreaming of hiking and snowboarding in the mountains.

Summer Internship: New Market Strategy at Curology, a Series B consumer startup

Ask Me About: Early-stage consumer investing and operating, in-year interning, exploring both VC and startups, and personalized recruiting.

How I’m Involved In Entrepreneurship/VC: I currently intern at Listen Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm in Chicago focused on consumer brands. I led the Startup and VC Trek to Austin for its first year and have participated in many events / courses here at Booth including the VC Sequence, Founder Fireside Chats, Startup Networking Night, Entrepreneurial Selling, VC Lab, and Seedcon.

Fun Fact: 2 truths, no lie: I've flown a helicopter and have held my breath underwater for 3 minutes

Kirsten (Kiki) Miller

Background: I grew up in Omaha, and studied Economics & Strategy at Washington University in St. Louis. I started as a consultant, but quickly fell in love with tech and small companies - so packed up that boring life and went to Melbourne, Australia to start the strategy team at a small online marketplace. After running the course at that company, I went to Uber and launched Hobart and most recently was running the background check program for drivers in the US. I love marketplaces and services, all things fraud, trust and safety, and tech regulation. I'm also co-chair of Booth's Wine Club, and love hiking, accidentally using Aussie words, and making my Booth classmates use Google Docs.

Ask Me About: Leaving consulting for startups, trust / safety / fraud, marketplaces, in-person service companies, academic year internships, recruiting in Chicago, being in startups in SF vs. other cities, Big Tech vs. startups

How I’m Involved In Entrepreneurship/VC: Before Booth, I worked at a small tech company, being the business voice for a creative founding team. At Booth, I led the SF Startup Trek in winter 2020, I've taken several entrepreneurship classes and I have had two academic year internships at startups. I try to speak with Booth alums at Chicago startups at least once per week.

Fun Fact: I name all of my electronics with Swedish names - need to explain that every time someone has to airdrop me @ "Sven".

Wendy Wang

Background: I moved around a ton growing up, so I say I'm from New York since that's where I lived the longest. I studied Finance at NYU and started my career in healthcare investment banking before transitioning to a finance role at BuzzFeed. During that time, I opened a ramen restaurant with some friends - TabeTomo (subtle plug)! My experiences there connected me with a sushi ghost kitchen founder, so I spent the summer before Booth helping him launch lunch delivery while eating sushi every day :)

Ask Me About: Ask me anything! In-year internships, entrepreneurship at Booth, Polsky resources, VC/investing versus startups, VC networking, VC trek, Startup Summer, Chicago vs NYC, best restaurants in Chicago

How I’m Involved In Entrepreneurship/VC: I divide up my time between VC and entrepreneurship, so I currently intern at Corazon Capital while brainstorming business ideas and getting involved in Polsky. I love EVC and have attended all the programming and the NY VC trek and Seedcon. For classes, I've taken: Entrepreneurial Discovery, New Venture Strategy, and VC lab.

Fun Fact: My first job was scooping ice cream, and it was a dream because ice cream is my favorite food.