Harvard MBA Blew Facebook Millions

When Harvard Business School holds its Class Day commencement celebration on Wednesday, May 23, there will be one MBA graduate in the audience who will have to wonder if he had made the biggest mistake of his life.

He had the chance to get in early at Facebook and accept what turned out to be among the most lucrative startup equity ever granted.

The upshot: Jackson blew his chance to win big in tomorrow’s expected massive initial public offering for Facebook which will value the company at more than $100 billion.

“I completely missed the boat,” Joe Jackson, 28, recently conceded to a BloombergBusinessWeek reporter.

MBA WHO BLEW HIS CHANCE TO BE A FACEBOOK MULTI-MILLIONAIRE WILL LISTEN TO FACEBOOK COO GIVE HARVARD’S CLASS DAY ADDRESS

Ironically, Jackson will be among his graduating classmates listening to Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg give the school’s Class Day address. Her stake in the company is valued at nearly $90 million, not including restricted stock that when vested will bring her total stake to $1.8 billion.

How did Jackson, smart and accomplished enough to get into Harvard Business School, blow his chance to become a multi-millionaire?

The brainy and handsome MBA had been a computer science major at Harvard College in the early 2000s when Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his pals started Thefacebook. But when his friend and Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin asked him to move to California for the summer to write code for the site, he decided to stick with his internship with JPMorgan Chase.

TOOK A A SUMMER INTERNSHIP WITH J.P. MORGAN INSTEAD OF GOING TO FACEBOOK

“I wasn’t thinking about it as ‘This could be my chance to be rich and famous,’” Jackson told BloombergBusinessWeek.  “It was more like, ‘This is going to Palo Alto and living in a house with a bunch of kids and programming for a startup that may not go anywhere.’”

After his J.P. Morgan internship during the summer of 2004, Jackson came back to Harvard to finish his undergraduate degree and graduate in 2005. He then went to work as a management associate for International Data Group, a job he held for nearly two years. Then, Jackson moved on to become a business development manager at Double Fusion, a game advertising firm headquartered in Los Angeles.

Some 14 months later, in April of 2008, he ended up as an analyst at San Francisco-based venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson—all fairly humdrum pre-MBA jobs before getting into HBS two years ago.

Jackson declined comment to Poets&Quants. “I’m reluctant to seek much publicity about my involvement with Facebook, simply because it’s a relatively small piece of my story and happened a long time ago,” he told Poets&Quants in an email.  “Hopefully I’ll have a more interesting tale in the future!”

A GRADUATING KELLOGG MBA WILL WALK TO GET HIS DIPLOMA WITH MILLIONS THANKS TO FACEBOOK

On the other hand, an MBA graduating from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management on June 15th can tell a different story. Divya Narendra was the Harvard student who asked Zuckerberg for help on a rival social network called the HarvardConnection that was thought up by brothers and fellow Harvard students Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.

According to reports, Narendra gained a stake in Facebook as a result of a legal settlement between Zuckerberg and the Winklevosses that is worth nearly $19 million. Narendra will earn his Northwestern MBA along with a law degree from Northwestern because he has been a dual-degree graduate student.

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