By: Jingshan Yin, MBA’21
Hi, everyone. My name is Jingshan Yin.
I graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago six years ago with my master’s degree in computer science. I am currently a senior software engineer at OpenText in the Indy office. I started the Evening MBA Program at the Kelley School of Business at IUPUI in fall 2019 because I want my career to go beyond the software engineer’s linear path. Being in the software industry and witnessing lots of innovation and growth, I am looking forward to this opportunity to make more significant impacts. I believe Kelley can provide me the knowledge and vision I need to bridge the gap from where I am today to where I want to be in the future.
Now I am halfway through my MBA journey, working full time while taking classes in the evenings. Though challenging, I feel I will never regret this decision. Personally, my experience at Kelley has expanded my perception of the world. For example, it helps me to understand how finance works in a software company, and how important leadership is, especially nowadays, to any firm’s trajectory. On the other side, my thoughts have transformed from one single color to a spectrum. It seems to me there are additional things I can do during my developer career. The entrepreneurial spirit in my heart has woken up, and I genuinely want to prepare for my own software business in the future. With that in mind, I took the Venture Community course with professor Todd Saxton as I hope to get more familiar with the venture environment and experience.
Through that class, I recently attended the 2020 Innovation Showcase virtual event hosted by the Venture Club of Indiana. Scott Jones, a veteran of startups and founder of Eleven Fifty Academy, was the keynote speaker, and he shared his invaluable journey through AI, robotics and the 2005 DARPA Challenge, where he co-led the Indy Robot Racing team as they competed in a field test with an autonomous vehicle. His experience shows us it takes not only an idea, but also hard work, perseverance and a growth mindset for an entrepreneur to be successful.
I was inspired by another speaker as well — Megan Lohman is the co-founder and CEO of Plan Forward, a dental membership software company. Plan Forward was the 2019 winner of the Innovation Showcase. Megan shared more about the chaos and challenges her business faced last year, and she inspired me to just say yes to any possible opportunity to push myself out of my comfort zone.
I also was inspired by Haley and Kevin Keith, co-founders of MITO Material Solutions, who won the Innovation Showcase this year. Haley started their business when she was an MBA student, just like I am today. The only thing she would do differently, she told us, is to take her ideas seriously earlier. I have my ideas, but I always feel there are all kinds of excuses like limited time, technical difficulty, restricted funds, etc. I think what I am really missing is the start of my action, just like the old saying tells us, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
In addition to learning more about each entrepreneur’s ideas and how they turned that into a real growing business, I also learned a lot from the investor’s perspective. Chris LaMothe, CEO of Elevate Ventures, shared the 2020 Indiana Venture report with us. Surprisingly, there are more investments this year than last year in the middle of the pandemic.
On the other side, Scott Dorsey, the co-founder and managing partner at High Alpha, explained to us that Indiana, compared to other states like Utah, still needs more startup companies to break out with scale to boost the venture ecosystem.
I feel fortunate with great pioneers ahead of me, like Scott, Megan and Haley — and the friendly venture environment in Indiana, along with the knowledge and resources I can gain from Kelley. I want to quote what Scott Dorsey said during the event, “Aim high and dream big, and most importantly, go fast.” Going forward, I would like to take my ideas seriously and put hard work into them. With this Venture Community course and the Kelley Evening MBA Program, I am confident that I am moving closer to my target every day.