Attributes of a Successful Entrepreneur
Essay: Attributes of a Successful Entrepreneur (20% of Grade)
Here’s the scenario for your first assignment: you have to write a five-page essay as part of your
application for the job of your dreams. They liked your resume. Your references were glowing.
And you thought that all in all, your first interview went really well. Now, before the second
interview, they want to see your critical thinking skills at work, so they’ve asked you to write an
essay about The Attributes of a Successful Entrepreneur.
You’re fresh out of Tulane, and the job you’ve applied for is to become a Program Manager at
NOLA COMBINATOR, a nationally renowned hub of entrepreneurial activity. It’s at a startup
incubator in New Orleans, Louisiana, that has an affiliated early-stage venture capital fund. The
incubator attracts the best companies from around the country to move to New Orleans and
build their new businesses by working with local experts in sectors like education, healthcare,
energy, fintech, and agriculture. For the ones that are the best of the bunch, the firm’s affiliated
venture capital fund makes seed capital investments and then the entrepreneurs are off to the
races with their business.
You know that it’s going to be competitive to get the job, so you asked your interviewer what
they were looking for in the essay assignment. Here’s what she advised:
1. Organize the key attributes into a list. Whether it’s five, seven, ten, or however many
attributes, that doesn’t really matter.
2. Come up with a catchy phrase for each of the attributes. She mentioned that the partners
who will be reviewing these essays are busy, and the easier it is for them to recognize that you’ve
put some real hard thought into why you’ve decided on these particular key attributes, the
better. “Like the one about, ‘It’s not who you know, or what you know, it’s who knows you?’” you
asked. “Exactly,” she responded.
3. Make sure the attributes are about the entrepreneur, not the business itself. Your
interviewer stressed the fact that in early-stage investing, it’s hard to know exactly what’s going
to happen with any given business, but the person who leads it needs to have key attributes no
matter what. “As we always say around here, ‘Pick the jockey, not the horse,’” she told you as you left the room and headed to the elevators. Talk about the jockey; don’t describe the horse.
The requirements they’ve given you are as follows:
• The firm’s standard usage guidelines call for the essay to be 1.5 line spacing (note: not single or
double spaced), Garamond typeface, 12-point font, with 1” margins all around. They have asked
you to keep with these same standards for your essay, which you know is one way that the firm
is already testing your attention to detail.
• They have asked you to have an introduction and a conclusion that summarize all of the points
you make, before you get into the explanations of each attribute.
• They insisted that you keep it to five pages max, but no fewer than four full pages. Good luck
with this assignment, which is due in just less than two weeks. Your dream job depends on it.
Answer preview for Attributes of a Successful Entrepreneur
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