U Venture Fund provides internships and jobs to U students

By By Alyssa Farley

By Alyssa Farley

Deciding the fate of startup companies is the decision of 25 students working for the University Venture Fund.

The students, the majority of whom attend the U, do research work for the $11-million Venture Fund, providing real world experience for those involved. Their analysis creates a 360-degree view of the business and its competition. The information is used to decide whether to invest in the startup or not.

The UVF is held responsible by the limited partners, who provide the $11 million, to make educated investments.

BJ Flynn, a senior in finance, works 15 to 20 hours a week at the fund, learning the ins and outs of the business world first hand.

His responsibilities include contacting management members of companies, evaluating competitors and ultimately aiding in the investment process by contributing important information and data to the fund.

Nate Jorgensen, a U graduate in economics, started volunteering at the UVF as a junior. He has since obtained a paid job there and feels strongly about the virtues of such a program.

“I learned the differences between a good business and a bad business here,” he said.

Jorgensen also said that the exposure to the different aspects of business and the knowledge gained through volunteering at the UVF is immeasurable, whether a student plans on going into business or any other field.

The opportunity is open to students from all academia. But while students in the business field hear about it through announcements at the beginning of classes, this information is not readily available to the other disciplines on campus.

Taylor Randall, professor of finance at the U and the faculty mentor for the program, said it will greatly enhance a student’s educational experience.

In addition to the insight students get into the actual mechanics of the private equity world, Taylor takes the students every year to visit Forbes Magazine’s second-richest man in the world, Warren Buffet.

Students are able to ask questions and enjoy a meal entirely at Buffet’s expense.

Other participants are from Brigham Young University, Westminster College and Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Members outside Utah participate in weekly meetings through conference calls. Students interested in the program should visit the UVF Web site at http://www.uventurefund.com/.

Kim Peterson

Senior Tanner Coleman works on the eighth floor of the Wells Fargo Building in the University Venture Fund Office on Monday.

Kim Peterson

Dan Creer takes a putting break to clear his mind at the U Venture Fund Office in the Wells Fargo Building.