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Brian Via | SFMBA '23
“The Sloan MBA experience is transformative. You’re surrounded by people who are so smart, talented, and the cream of the crop in every field. It’s life-changing and unique to be around such a group of intelligent, ambitious, successful, humble, down-to-earth people, with a world-class curriculum and top speakers from the highest positions of leadership across every field and industry.”
Brian Via, SFMBA ’23, plans to become a chief revenue officer someday, ideally in software. Before entering the MIT Sloan Fellows Program, he held senior positions at file-sharing giant Dropbox and at visual collaboration platform Miro. In the meantime, though, he revels in the camaraderie and friendship he’s found at Sloan.
I’m chatting with a classmate, Cameron Lothridge, in the E62 café before our first-morning class. I usually start my day with readings, assignments, and things of that nature. Cameron is one of my close friends in my cohort. He and his wife actually live in the same building as my wife and me. When we got married in October, Cameron and his wife took in our mail and packages and decorated our door with bride and groom magnets!
I’m talking to my friend, Sid Sreeram, a two-year MBA student. I’m advising him on some of the go-to-market aspects of a startup idea that he has, from the perspective of a senior sales leader.
I’m chatting with Amir Elkabir, who’s also in the Sloan Fellows MBA program. Amir and his family came to the United States for the year from Israel, and we first met at some of the matriculation events soon after we were accepted into the Sloan Fellows MBA program. Amir’s a genuinely kind, friendly person with whom I enjoy conversing.
Lunchtime at the newly renovated Legal Sea Foods with Jeff Lau, who’s just an incredible person. Jeff is currently a global director at Google. I worked for him in the nonprofit space at the Andy Roddick Foundation in 2011. Jeff’s a dear longtime tech mentor and friend, and just a great business leader. In fact, his eldest daughter was one of the flower girls at my wedding! I think the world of him.
Time to walk over to the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship. I try to get some work done before I head into my Entrepreneurial Finance and Venture Capital class with Professor Matthew Rhodes-Kropf, which I absolutely love. I need to text some mentors and advisors, return a couple of calls, and catch up on email.
My Entrepreneurial Finance and Venture Capital class is super fascinating for me because of my career in tech – venture capital fuels the growth of generational software companies like Dropbox and Miro. It’s also interesting to combine my professional passion for scaling software companies and my personal passion for long-term investing. I hope to become a chief revenue officer one day, and at some point, I’m considering pivoting into venture capital once I’ve reached the highest level on the revenue side.
My last class of the day is Discovering Your Leadership Signature with senior lecturer Kate Isaacs. It’s awesome! Obviously, I’m very passionate about what I do. This class is really unique because it’s entirely focused on how to hone, evolve, and improve your own individualized style of leading. A class like this is invaluable in thinking about finding better ways to show up as an effective leader.