Technology, Silicon Valley, and the Go Blue Connection: Kleiner Perkins Fellowship Alumni
Imagine a fellowship that includes a summer internship at a company like Airbnb, Coursera, Doordash, Handshake, Nextdoor, Pinterest, Slack, Uber with Tally, or Robinhood (just to name a few). What’s more is that 60 something students from colleges like Harvard, Yale, Cal Poly SLO, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Texas A&M University, Rice University, and yes, the University of Michigan, will all move to Silicon Valley for three months.
This is a unique opportunity that students pursuing their passion for design, engineering and product management can apply for through the Kleiner Perkins Fellowship. With access to startups and companies in Kleiner Perkins’ portfolio, students gain real-world exposure to entrepreneurship in action.
As a venture capital firm, Kleiner Perkins has over 40 years in Silicon Valley and has been at the center of innovation. They have been investing and building companies like Google, Amazon, Square, Slack, Twitter, Uber, Genentech, and many more.
Since launching in 2012, the Kleiner Perkins Fellowship community has grown to more than 500 members. The 2019 cohort featured a 50/50 gender diversity split and 75% of the cohort consisted of minority students.
U-M has had at least ten alumni accepted as fellows for the program during its almost ten year history. Andrew Rauh (CS/BSE alum) now works as a senior software engineer for Apple.
“Being a Kleiner Perkins Fellow allowed me to expand my network beyond the great people I met at Michigan, and gave me a broader perspective on what a career in software would be like,” said Rauh. “Every moment of meeting famous VCs, touring various tech campuses, and working in downtown San Francisco was overwhelming and exhilarating for me since I was only a freshman!”
Fellows not only partake in daily meetings with execs, get assigned their own projects, and participate in one-on-one mentoring sessions, but they also spend time with the other fellows and hear from legends in the entrepreneurial space. Rauh likened these fireside chats to the discussions has in CFE’s E-Hour course, which he attended during his four years at U-M.
These networking opportunities with other technology students showed Jonah Erlich (CS/BSE alum), currently a software engineer at Bubble
working in the No-Code space, how what he had learned at the Center for Entrepreneurship was just the beginning of where he could go.
“The Kleiner Perkins Fellowship introduced me to an incredible group of friends interested in technology and entrepreneurship,” Erlich said. “It allowed me to combine my entrepreneurial learning from the CFE on a much larger scale with people from all over the place.”
This is exactly what the CFE is trying to accomplish through its courses, programs, and fellowships. The idea of an entrepreneurial mindset is exactly what draws students from all over the country to apply for the Kleiner Perkins Fellowship program.
Lawrence Yong (BSI, alum) a current product designer at Honey summed up the fellowship and the relationship with U-M best: “Having gone through the fellowship, though Michigan is not located in Silicon Valley, I developed a new appreciation for the resources and communities offered through the CFE, MHacks, the School of Information, and the School of Engineering — being able to connect with others, gain experience, grow deeper knowledge, and work on cool things in a down-to-earth, communal environment.”
And isn’t that all anyone wants? Just to “work on cool things in a down-to-earth, communal environment.” Pretty sure that’s essentially the Michigan experience in a nutshell.