Brian Kelly

Doing my MBA at MIT after running Antler's venture accelerator.
Program Director

How did you get here?

I started at Kearney where I spent 5 years. Then I ran Antler’s venture capital accelerator for a year before leaving to do my MBA at MIT Sloan, where I currently am.

At Kearney my work was a real variety! It included growth strategy and innovation, operations improvement, and org /operating model transformation.

What options were you considering?

I looked at everything - industry, investing, tech. I wasn’t excited by strategy manager roles in industry, but I liked the mix of work you could get at an early stage VC like Antler.

How did you make the decision to take your current role?

It was quite serendipitous - I was introduced to someone who was hiring at Antler through my network. They had hired a lot of ex-consultants so it was a good fit. What ultimately swayed my decision was the great team, interesting mix of work, opportunity to meet people, and getting closer to entrepreneurship which I've always been interested in.

What are you doing now?

My role as a program director consisted of 1) managing the day-to-day operations of the Antler program through a small team, 2) meeting and coaching potential founders/ founding teams, 3) liaising with our partners - industry and VC.

What does your day to day look like?

A mix of all three parts of my role! I'm probably making sure the team has everything in hand to deliver a world-class experience to founders, getting a few interviews or coaching sessions in with entrepreneurs and talking to externals about opportunities to collaborate

What do you love about your job?

It's fundamentally more optimistic than industry roles. Startup founders are trying to create something new in the world. Most folks in large organisations are focused on maintaining the status quo and their position in the market. The former is more exciting to me.

What do you not love about your job?

It's hard to know whether you’re ‘getting it right’ . There are long feedback windows on investments which is the total opposite of consulting where you get regular feedback (good and bad) on your performance.

What advice would you give someone deciding what they should do?

This role will require embracing the lack of structure once you leave a consulting project construct.

Also, keep your eyes open! Talk to your friends and people at your firm who have left, find out what they’re doing, what it’s like, whether it might be for you

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