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MBA student to start-up employee: Why I opted for energy and potential over security

Monday, 18 November 2013 | By Rose Powell

One of the MBA students involved in the Australian Graduate School of Management’s start-up internship program has accepted a role in the start-up she was volunteering with after realising she was fundamentally a “start-up person rather than a corporate one”.


Nikee Pomper has accepted the chief operations officer role at customisable formal wear start-up Fame & Partners. She joins a six-person team headed up by founder and chief executive Nyree Corby.


Pomper told StartupSmart the opportunity to work with very smart people in a fast moving and creative environment was her dream job, despite her earlier intentions to settle into a corporate role.


“People go into an MBA program for security reasons, to go into consulting and big companies. But through the MBA process you realise the big question is ‘do you want to be a leader or a follower?’ I realised there is more opportunity to be leaders in start-ups than established corporations,” Pomper says.


Pomper, who prior to the MBA program worked as an international project officer with a family-run trust, says she was drawn to the high-energy nature at Fame & Partners.


“I got excited about the opportunity to create flexible processes and be very proactive in building into being. The girls who work here work fast and are very smart, and I realised I’d learn more here than in any corporate role,” Pomper says.


She adds her MBA studies have equipped her to create systems that will actually work for somewhere as dynamic as a start-up.


“MBA taught me a very strategic and methodical way of thinking, as well as testing and drawing conclusions so that moving forward we can be quicker, faster and smarter,” Pomper says.


AGSM course coordinator Jeffrey Tobias says the hire was an exciting win-win for the pilot program.


“It shows the power of combining start-up enthusiasm with MBA fundamentals. At Stanford most people are doing an MBA in order to get the grounding (and the funding) to be able to progress their start-up that they plan to open during, or after, their MBA,” Tobias says. “At AGSM I am trying to build the equivalent in Australia, and it is clear that the combination of fundamentals business skills with start-up ingenuity is perfect.”