Every year, top recent college graduates in the Princeton in Latin America program are assigned to work with an Endeavor office and its entrepreneurs for 12 months. Following is a field reflection from Annie Austin, who is spending the year working with the Endeavor Mexico office in Mexico City.
“Congratulations! We are delighted to offer you a spot on the Endeavor Mexico team for the 2016 – 2017 term.” I received that email in March of 2016, while I was in a team meeting at Oracle´s federal office, based in Washington, DC. I ran out of the meeting to call my mom and sister, both of whom were elated. Not only would I be working with Endeavor, an organization I admired and respected, but I would get to be in the Mexico City office, a city I’ve been wanting to live in for years.
Five long months later, I arrived to the city with an open mind, ready to work hard. Right off the bat, the office of about 40 people welcomed me with open arms, demonstrating the warmth and friendliness I had heard so much about. The office threw me a Welcome to Endeavor Pizza Party, and our “Chief Happiness Officer” Lorena took the other newbies and me “touristando.” Within my first month, I had visited key tourist attractions: Xochimilco, The Angel of Independence, Chapultepec Park. We even went to the Lucha Libre, a theatrical spin on WWE wrestling. My team members, about 15 young professionals all around my age, embraced me as one of their own, inviting me to dinners, to parties, and to workout sessions. My social life clicked into place almost immediately.
I arrived right as the Selection and Growth team (my team) was gearing up for a Local Selection Panel (LSP). My team members brought me to meetings between prospective Endeavor Entrepreneurs and Endeavor Mentors, accomplished businessmen/women who dedicate their time and resources to help grow Mexico´s entrepreneurial ecosystem. I felt as though I had jumped right into an MBA Program: I learned financial and accounting terminology from financial reviews, and listened to business pitches repeated over and over again. The panel quickly approached, and I submitted five 15-page reports, proud to have encapsulated the essence of each business in their profiles. Following the rewarding process, I watched four out of my five entrepreneur-teams pass.
As I became more comfortable with the profile writing process, I started to help with other projects. I was asked to help with a program to support 30 startups in the fashion industry, with the end goal of internationalizing locally sourced and designed fashion. I helped to create an internship between Endeavor Mexico´s entrepreneurs and Georgetown University, my Alma Mater. Most excitingly, I was given total autonomy in designing and executing a program for our entrepreneurs´ C-Level teams.
Having only been at Endeavor Mexico for six months, I have learned an inordinate amount. Aside from the consultations and mentor meetings, our team launched an Endeavor MBA program for staff, bringing in top mentors to conduct classes such as Venture Capital 101, and How to Read a Balance Sheet. Further, the work is fulfilling: not only do I have a direct relationship with my entrepreneurs, I play a role in taking their business to the next level.
I had heard from a variety of individuals that Endeavor Mexico is one of the best placements. While I cannot attest to other fellows´ experiences, I will say that my time at Endeavor Mexico has been extremely formative as well as fun. Not only do I have a healthy social life in a vibrant city, but I have a job that I love. And for that, I am forever grateful to the Endeavor Mexico team.