Venture Fizz, 11/3/15
When I speak with founders and other successful people, I always like to find out about their upbringing and learn about their parents’ professions when they were a child. For me, it is a glimpse into the foundation that might have laid down the groundwork for someone to ultimately take the leap of faith into entrepreneurship.
In the case of Ellen Rubin and hearing about her background, her childhood years could have been that very foundation. Rubin grew up in Brookline. She saw her father join an early stage biotech company as their CEO. He took the company public and ran it for several years. Although he wasn’t a founder, she was exposed to all of the ups and downs of leading a company. Her mom excelled in math and in the 1960’s, she was a programmer, back when punch cards was the primary form of language.
After graduating from Harvard with a degree in Social Studies (not engineering), she joined Booz Allen Hamilton as a strategy consultant. At the time, she was dealing with clients in the publishing industry, as their traditional print based businesses were being disrupted by the internet. Although the work in strategy consulting was intellectually interesting, she didn’t find it satisfying. The end deliverable was typically a PowerPoint slide deck. However, what her time at Booz Allen Hamilton did teach her, was the fact that she really enjoyed working with the tech consultants at the firm and the IT teams at her clients.
After leaving the world of strategy consulting, it wasn’t obvious what Rubin wanted to do next, so she decided to pursue her MBA at Harvard Business School. Since business school, she has followed what was natural for her in terms of focusing her career within the technology industry.