Four Harvard MBAs Win 2012 Dean’s Award

Andrew Rosenthal
Photo: Gustavo Fernández
Andrew Rosenthal: The Great Connector

During his two years at HBS, Andrew Rosenthal stoked the flames of an entrepreneurial fire that was spreading on campus both inside and outside the classroom. From helping to create a community of students, faculty, and alumni bound together by a common interest in all aspects of starting and sustaining new ventures to publicizing the School’s and students’ efforts via new and old media, he was a man on a mission.

A graduate of the University Pennsylvania, Rosenthal had already walked the talk before he arrived at Soldiers Field as cofounder of a dotcom startup called happier.com that eventually went under – a kind of red badge of courage on the resumé of any budding entrepreneur. Arriving at HBS to find numerous other students eager to engage in creating new products and companies, he wanted to find a way to make the most of their experience, knowledge, and enthusiasm as well as create a high level of camaraderie. The result was the Startup Tribe, a project he launched and nurtured with classmates Jess Bloomgarden and Dan Rumennik that brings together entrepreneurially-minded people from HBS and beyond via social media, socializing, and a wide array of activities.

“Startup Tribe was one of the key entities at HBS that facilitated and promoted student interest in entrepreneurship,” said a faculty member, who added that it was the perfect complement to the HBS Business Plan Contest; the opening of the Harvard Innovation Lab, which promotes entrepreneurial activity across the University; and the third module of the new required MBA course Field Immersion Experiences for Leadership Development. FIELD 3, as the module is called, requires all first-year students to work together in small teams to create a microbusiness.

Described by one Harvard administrator as “the great connector,” Rosenthal helped broaden the Tribe’s reach and influence by facilitating meetings with students from other universities, engaging members of the Allston and Greater Boston communities, and organizing student dinners with Boston- and San Francisco-based investors and entrepreneurs. He also served as a peer advisor for many Harvard Business School students.

In addition, Rosenthal became the voice and face of the HBS “entrepreneurship movement,” writing a stream of tweets and blog posts and making his mark in media relations by promoting stories about the School that appeared in the likes of BloombergBusinessWeek, Xconomy, and Boston.com.

Rosenthal’s enthusiasm for entrepreneurship led to his involvement with other key initiatives at the School. He was an integral member of the Harvard Tech Meetup, which brought together young entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and others in the Cambridge and Boston technology communities looking to launch, share, or showcase ideas. He also helped create the School’s Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Fund, which provides financial backing for students launching early-stage products and services.

“Andrew has been indispensable to the entrepreneurship community within HBS, and along with a number of others students and faculty is largely responsible for the thriving HBS entrepreneurship community that exists today,” wrote a student nominating him for the Dean’s Award.

Rosenthal is already hard at work on the next phase of his life. He was recently named chief strategy officer of Massive Health, a healthcare start-up in San Francisco where he interned last summer.