Berlin Study Trip
Start-ups are the future of business. In the age of start-ups, having the necessary skills along with the zeal for change, and an ability to thrive in a high responsibility environment, makes you a highly valuable target for a start-up. As our economy draws towards entrepreneurism more and more, professionals who understand the intersectionality between law and business, would be highly sought after. Therefore, it is important to understand the functionality of a start-up both for business professionals or those transitioning into business.
The MLB class of 2017 had the opportunity to go to Berlin to visit a few startup companies, a venture capital firm and an incubator (a company that helps new start-ups develop by providing them with funding, training, and often times office space).
The trip provided an outlet to help foster an entrepreneurial environment in the program for the newly implemented entrepreneurship and innovative management specialization. Learning about the development, formation, and inner workings of a start-up within the context of a classroom has its merits, but it does not compare to personal accounts from the companies themselves.
Alumna Yamila Eraso Peña '13 invited us to her firm Lacore to learn what it means to be an entrepreneurial lawyer working at an entrepreneurial law firm. Lacore provides advising services to entrepreneurs, start-ups, and early stage companies on formation and funding of their business ventures.
Furthermore, the class visited two different financial-tech companies, Crosslend and Funding Circle. Crosslend is a growing startup working on a securitization platform that would disrupt the credit loan industry, while Funding Circle is a lending-based platform where investors can choose to invest directly into small businesses. These two companies provided insight into how start-ups are paving the way for innovative change.
After visiting the entrepreneurs and lawyers, it was on to the investors at Atlantic Labs, a venture capital firm, and Rocket Internet, an incubator company. Atlantic Labs labels itself as an early stage active investor that invests in transformative, tech-driven companies. However, Rocket Internet is a company that actively builds and invests in internet companies with the aim of taking their proven business models to new fast growing markets. Both companies provided us with valuable insights into how start-ups and entrepreneurs fund the development of their companies.
Moreover, apart from visiting the aforementioned companies, students also had the opportunity to explore Berlin on their own. Many students had the chance to visit the German Bundestag, the Brandenburg Gate, as well as many other tourist sites. In addition, they were also invited to take a boat tour on the Spree. The trip culminated with a walking guided tour of the city center which highlighted the rich history, landscape, architecture, arts, and life of Berlin.
The Berlin trip embodies and shows the efforts of the MLB program to incorporate both practical and theoretical aspects as a way of enhancing student experiences in anticipation of life after the master’s program.
Joshua Ajamu, MLB Student