Venture Creation Consultants

Specialized Expertise for Advancing New Yale Ventures

Venture Creation Consultants are graduate and professional school students who provide business planning, financial modeling, strategy assistance, competitive assessments, market sizing, business model creation and marketing plan development to YEI startups. Venture Creation Consultants receive access to mentors at top-tier consulting firms. Accepted students receive a stipend for each term of service.

*Applications for the 2014-2015 VCC Program are now closed.*

Questions? Contact Erika Smith, erika.smith@yale.edu

2014-2015 Venture Creation Consultants

Julie Andress is currently a second-year student in the MBA program. She spent the summer interning in Morgan Stanley's Investment Banking Division, where she advised large-cap companies on M&A and capital raising. Before entering SOM, Julie worked as a Project Manager at Quirky, a crowd-sourced consumer products startup. She managed sourcing, P&L analysis, cost negotiation, and product development for small to large scale international distribution. Prior to Quirky, she worked in China as a LEED-certified architectural designer. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, running, volunteering, and design. She received a B.A. in Architecture from Yale University in 2007.

Courtney Bannerot is pursuing an MBA-MPH in the accelerated dual degree program. Her academic and professional careers focus on the application of consumer psychology and marketing principles to the healthcare industry to improve public health and health outcomes. Prior to Yale, Courtney worked at Grey Healthcare Group in the Strategic Planning Department, helping build global brand strategies for pharmaceutical products, conducting market research among patients and healthcare professionals, and developing marketing communications for national nonprofit organizations. Courtney graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in Psychology and Hispanic Studies. She enjoys spending free time playing soccer and going on runs with her rescue dog.

Kristen Barnico is a second year SOM student and an '09 graduate of Dartmouth College and an ’08 graduate of Colby College. Kristen worked as a biomedical engineer at a startup company that was later acquired by Allergan. This past summer she spent her internship in strategic marketing at Covidien.

Peng (Patty) Bi is a second-year MBA student at Yale School of Management with strong research background in computer science and over five years of experience on software development and commercialization. Peng earned her bachelor degree in Computer Science from Tsinghua University in China, and a master's degree, also in Computer Science, from Princeton University. Prior to the MBA program, she worked as a senior software developer in Equities Technology Division at Goldman Sachs, focusing on the development of electronic trading platforms. In this role, she worked with several cross-functional teams to define business cases and collaborated with technical professionals to create innovative solutions for the business requirements. She also worked on a technology startup in the mobile computing sector, which provides online social network to facilitate the communication between smart phone app providers and consumers.

Megan Billman is an MFA student in the Graphic Design department at Yale School of Art. She has worked as an art director and producer in independent film and television and graduated with honors from Brown University in 2009. She will be continuing as a VCC for 2014-15. 

Jonathan Chee is a fifth-year PhD Candidate in the Yale Combined Program of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS) studying inflammation in response to bacterial infection. Jonathan graduated with high honors in microbiology from UC Davis. His interests are innovations and new developments in the healthcare and life sciences sectors. In his free time, Jonathan enjoys listening to improvisational comedy.

Charles Coit is a first year business school student at the Yale School of Management. Before Yale, he spent six years with Forrester Research – a global market research and advisory firm. Most recently he held a product management role at Forrester, working to improve the relevancy and efficiency of the company’s research methodologies. Charles holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Mathematics with a minor in Creative Writing from Colby College. He enjoys traveling, the outdoors, and playing hockey.

Rachel Cooper went on to join the product development team at OXO, a consumer products company specializing in kitchen and other household gadgets, after earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Columbia University. She worked closely in the design and development of new kitchen tools, including researching market landscapes, interacting with design firms, and coordinating production with overseas suppliers. After OXO, Rachel took a role in New Product Development at Coty, managing the timelines for all innovation launches on Calvin Klein fragrances. Rachel is excited to bring her expertise in consumer products and new launches to the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute.

Zach Einterz is a first year student at the Yale School of Management. Zach began his career as an analyst at McKinsey, where his primary focus was evaluating and developing strategies for the emerging market for “smart grid” technology. After McKinsey, Zach worked in Marketing at EnerNOC, a B2B energy software company. Zach looks forward to bringing his experience in energy and clean technology to YEI’s sustainable venture teams. Zach graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in Economics and Environmental Sciences. Outside of his professional interests, Zach enjoys spending time outdoors, and he can often be found swimming, biking or skiing.

Sarah Esty is a second year joint degree in the accelerated JD/MBA program. Throughout high school and college, she ran political campaigns, which are their own special kind of startup. After college, she worked on behalf of low-income children and families as an advocate and researcher at Connecticut Voices for Children. In addition to her policy areas of juvenile justice, healthcare and early childhood education, Sarah also worked on creating social impact measures and using data to measure program effectiveness. This past summer Sarah worked at the White House National Economic Council on community economic development, retirement security and public benefits programs. She received her A.B. summa cum laude from Harvard University.

Brian Lavigne is a first year MBA student at Yale School of Management. Prior to SOM, Brian directed strategic and financial planning at Havaianas, a Brazilian consumer goods company. His work included modeling business decisions, forecasting financial statements and performing competitor and market analysis. He also worked for Teach For All, an international NGO helping independent social enterprises expand educational opportunity in countries across the globe. In his spare time, Brian enjoys competing in triathlons and traveling.  

Kaisi Li worked at China Investment Corporation in Beijing, China, prior to becoming an MBA Candidate at the Yale School of Management, and led an internal consulting project focused on optimizing companywide business processes. From 2012 to 2014, Kaisi worked as an Associate at Hubei Provincial High Technology Industry Investment Co. in the Venture Capital fund, where he focused on technology investment opportunities. He also worked at Deloitte in Toronto in the audit group, where he completed various audit and due diligence engagements. Kaisi holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Honors) from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. He is also a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

Lucyann Murray is a first year MBA student at the Yale School of Management. She graduated from Stanford with a degree in Human Biology, with a focus on nutrition and sustainable agriculture, and also pursued a career as a competitive freestyle snowboarder. Since graduating, she has spent time working in a startup that builds aeroponic farms, a quickly growing health food café, and leading environmental projects for a ski resort. Her interest lies in finding innovative ways for a sustainable future in the union of business and the environment. Though no longer a competitive snowboarder, she now coaches snowboarding at Stratton, VT. In her free time, you will find Lucyann outdoors exploring, adventuring, and passing on the passion, no matter what the season. 

Ramiro Nandez is a 6th year PhD candidate in cellular biology, where he has focused on understanding a rare genetic disease called Lowe syndrome. Outside of the lab, Ramiro has a strong interest at the intersection of business and science. He has worked on identifying commercialization opportunities for intellectual property held by Mayo Clinic Ventures. More recently, he conducted a market analysis for a local medical diagnostics company preparing to launch its first product. As a Project Leader with the Yale Graduate Consulting Club, he is currently developing a comprehensive commercial strategy for a large financial services company interested in introducing an eLearning product to the market. Ramiro also serves on the Graduate and Professional Student Senate at Yale, where he previously rose to the position of Secretary.

Chris Riso is a first year MBA candidate at Yale School of Management. Prior to coming to Yale, Chris spent over two years at Environmental Defense Fund, where he helped multinational firms profitably improve energy management. Previously Chris worked with companies in all sectors of the economy to report on their greenhouse gas emissions performance and climate change risks and opportunities. Chris graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University with a degree in Finance and International Business. His interests include cooking, food businesses and real estate.

Amy Sharma is a postdoctoral associate in the lab of Dr. Ruslan Medzhitov, PhD, Howard Hughes Investigator, at Yale University. She obtained her BS in medical toxicology and chemistry from 2004–2008 while working for the Ontario Ministry of the Environment in the Physical Chemistry and Litigation Services Branch as a data analyst and toxicologist technician. From 2009–2013, she completed a PhD under the supervision of Dr. Jack Uetrecht, MD, PhD at the University of Toronto, Canada. Her doctoral work focused on immune-mediated adverse drug reactions and dermal and hepatic toxicology. She has been awarded numerous awards for her dermal toxicology work and has authored and co-authored several papers in the field of medical toxicology. She serves as a reviewer for Drug Metabolism Reviews. She is also an officer for the Biotechnology and Dermatology sections within the Society of Toxicology. Her current research focus is innate control of adaptive responses in the regulation of host immunity, and immune-mediated communication in host protection mechanisms. In her spare time, she loves to paint, cook/bake and play soccer.

Nancy Tao is the Lead Venture Creation Consultant and is a 5th year PhD candidate in the Department of Chemistry at Yale, where she is developing molecules that amplify the immune response against HIV in collaboration with scientists at Bristol-Myers Squibb. Prior to her PhD studies, Nancy worked in Process Research at Merck & Co. on new chemical methodologies for drug development. She is currently the President of the Yale Graduate Student Consulting Club, where she has had the opportunity to lead diverse consulting projects including the development of de novo metrics to evaluate the strategic success of a large Yale-affiliated organization and devising a U.S. commercialization strategy for an e-learning course developed by Bloomberg Institute. She has trained as a classical violinist for 18 years, and also enjoys outdoor recreation, cooking spicy Chinese food and building wooden puzzles.

Meet our former Venture Creation Consultants here!