Michelle Volz

My Trajectory

General info
Open to speaking about:
Resources I used on my MBA application journey
One thing I wish I knew about the MBA application process

Originally when writing applications, I didn’t appreciate how each small part of the application was a chance to showcase a different side of your background and experience, and all things should work together to build a comprehensive (and flattering) picture of you. I highly recommend having friends read through your application and give feedback based on what they know about you, and then have strangers read through and describe their opinions of you and what you’re about and see if your application is giving off the persona you are hoping for.

Bio

Hi, I’m Michelle and am excited to meet you!

I came from the startup world in Silicon Valley, but it was a path full of ups and downs. I’m originally from Minnesota and went to school at the University of Minnesota where I ran track and cross country and created my own major which was a combination of biology and entrepreneurship. After I graduated, I decided to move to Palo Alto to see if I could make it in tech, despite having no technical background or connections.

Finding my first job was incredibly hard and even after I landed one, it took a long time to get the company to take me seriously. I was working in product at Palantir and was a non-technical woman amidst a sea of male engineers. My ideas often went unheard or were repeated by others with no credit or recognition. I became insecure about speaking up in meetings and doubted my own skills and thoughts.

After a few years, I left and found a job at a smaller startup that was ecstatic to have me, rebuilding my confidence and allowing me to demonstrate real value. I ended up working at a variety of startups, moving up in ranks and salary with each move, and learning how to command rooms and teams. Eventually, I joined the founding team of a real estate tech startup where I led strategy and then product as our team grew, and was fortunate to have a wonderful mentor there with me to coach me on running board meetings and managing growing teams. After 3 years, a round of fundraising, and hiring a new CEO, I decided to leave and take a break, doing startup consulting while I applied to business school.

In business school, I’ve been focusing on transitioning to venture capital, in large part because I love helping founders with the struggles of early stage startup life and enjoy advocating for those who may not come from traditional backgrounds. People who have heard “NO” countless times or had to fight to be heard often have the most grit and perseverance, and those are the people I want to bet on. However, sometimes it takes a little help and guidance to build the confidence to keep trying or go after lofty goals, so I’m excited to help those who need it through Underdog!

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