Putting entrepreneurship in focus
“I had worked with a lot of people at Berkshire who had a fantastic experience at HBS,” says Jonathon. “I also wanted a school that was known nationally and internationally.” The case study method, too, was important. “My favorite class at Princeton University was based on the case method – and led by a former HBS professor, Ed Zschau. Even as an undergraduate, HBS was on my mind.”
According to Jonathon, the case method is especially valuable for entrepreneurs. “You’re exposed to so many different issues you hadn’t thought about before,” he says. “Case study helps you understand which things you should worry about, what areas you should really focus on. It’s not about a specific set of skills, but about learning how to be sharp in a lot of different areas.”
After an exceptional undergraduate experience at Princeton, Jonathon never expected to find “another close-knit group of friends like that again.” But, he says, “I found a terrific community at HBS. Some of us have similar backgrounds, some have very different backgrounds. But these are all lasting relationships I don’t see going away.”
Choosing a refreshing career
Jonathon found his summer internship through an HBS soccer teammate who led him to an energy-drink start-up in San Francisco. “It opened my eyes to the beverage industry,” Jonathon says. “When I came back to HBS for my Elective Curriculum year, I used my independent study to evaluate opportunities; basically, I put together the bones of a new business.”
Immediately after graduation, he returned to the San Francisco start-up and then, after a few months, formed a company of his own: Humble Brands. “It’s about beauty and health from within,” Jonathon says. “We create products to help you feel, look and perform at your best.” Its first product, reBloom, is a kind of anti-energy-drink that offers a natural alternative to getting more restful sleep.
Reflecting on the significance of HBS and its network, Jonathan says, “I came out of hardcore PE, but I took a different path – toward starting my own business. It’s very possible to go from finance to business school to entrepreneurship. The people you meet at HBS will help. They’re going to take on some of the most interesting positions here in the U.S. and around the globe. Over time, your HBS friends will become even more valuable to you as your career, or your business, moves ahead.”