“I don't know where we would be without some of the mentors that I've met throughout my MBA experience,” says Jessica Rothstein—elite lacrosse player, tech entrepreneur, and MBA candidate at Temple University’s Fox School of Business.
Before joining Fox, bored of communicating with friends and family on Facetime from afar, Jessica started developing her own mobile gaming app, to bring users together through fun, shared experiences.
On Play Bucket, users can set their friends fun tasks—like balance a pencil on your nose, high-five a bouncer at a club, do a yoga pose with someone you don’t know—engaging in real-world activities in real-time, even if geographically divided.
Jessica is using her MBA experience to develop her app prior to launch. At the same time, she’s looking to develop her career elsewhere. She’s interned at Comcast and angel investment group Robin Hood Ventures, and now at financial services firm Brown Brothers Harriman in Philadelphia.
Jessica went into her full-time MBA with the same mindset she’s applied to her business—build a successful career and have fun at the same time. If she wants a post-MBA job, she’ll likely get one—Fox placed 100% of actively seeking MBA graduates into jobs in 2016.
Still, while you don’t need an MBA to be an entrepreneur, Jessica thinks access to knowledge, resources, and people—like Ellen Weber, executive director of both Robin Hood Ventures and the Fox School of Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute—makes business school the perfect place to develop your own startup venture.
How did the idea to start Play Bucket come about?
Two years ago, I left all my family and friends behind and moved to Israel to play on the National Women's Lacrosse team in the European championships. About two months in, I started to feel my relationships back home suffering. I used Facetime to keep in touch with friends, but something was still missing.
I felt like I was missing out on creating new memories with them, so I made a game where I sent out three task scavenger hunts—or bucket lists—each morning and then we competed to see who could complete all the tasks first. We sent pictures and videos of ourselves doing the tasks, laughed about our experiences—and at the end of the day we created new memories.
When I got home, I realized my friends were playing the game with their friends, who were playing it with their friends. It was at that point we realized we had something, so I put together an amazing team and we built Play Bucket.
Where are you at right now with your business?
Currently, at Play Bucket, we are focusing on perfecting our app before we launch. We want to make sure that our customer's experience is right—our goal at the end of the day is to help people maintain the meaningful relationships in their lives and to make life with friends more fun!
Why did you decide to pursue a full-time MBA at Fox?
Fox for me was simple decision. I grew up in Philadelphia, so I limited my schools to the surrounding area in order to live at home and also be close to my startup business. Fox was by far the best program for the price. Fox also has an incredible entrepreneurship department led by Ellen Weber. Ellen is a leader in the Philadelphia startup community and I wanted to learn from her.
How have you been supported by Fox in developing your business?
Being in school when starting a business is great because you've committed to an environment where you learn fast, fail fast, and try new things. I gained access to investors and other business professionals that have had a significant impact on our visions.
My MBA internships were so valuable because I was working with incredible leaders. At Robin Hood, I've worked with one of the most talented people in the startup space (Ellen) who taught me so much about what it takes to flourish in a startup environment.
At Comcast, I was able to apply my entrepreneurial mindset to an already existing big company with big issues. My boss at Comcast taught me a lot about becoming a champion with internal stakeholders.
Why should entrepreneurs do an MBA?
There's no telling what doors will be opened through an MBA program. An MBA teaches you a new way of thinking about problems, and if you choose the right internship or school program, you'll have access to a variety of mentors with a sea of knowledge that you can and should take advantage of.
I wouldn't be where I am today without the mentors and leaders that invested their time in me throughout my MBA experience, my b-school peers, and my family and friends—that’s what has made me successful.
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