Tuck | Mr. Assistant Manager
GRE 328, GPA 2.9
NYU Stern | Mr. Development
GMAT 690, GPA 2.5
Harvard | Mr. The Builder
GMAT 740, GPA 4.0
Wharton | Mr. Steelmaker To Consultant
GMAT 760, GPA 3.04/4.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. Two Job
GRE 330 GRE, GPA 3.63
Chicago Booth | Mr. High GRE Low GPA
GRE 332, GPA 3.2
Harvard | Ms. Gay Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Analyst To Family Business Owner
GMAT 710, GPA 3.2
Harvard | Mr. FBI To MBB
GMAT 710, GPA 3.85
Chicago Booth | Mr. Overrepresented Indian Engineer
GMAT 740, GPA 8.78/10
Tuck | Mr. Infantry Officer To MBA
GRE 314, GPA 3.4
Darden | Mr. Program Manager
GRE 324, GPA 3.74
Tuck | Mr. Smart Cities
GRE 325, GPA 3.5
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Biz Human Rights
GRE 710, GPA 8/10
Harvard | Mr. Food Tech Start Ups
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. International Oil
GMAT 710, GPA 3.7
Harvard | Mr. Consulting To Emerging Markets Banking
GRE 130, GPA 3.6 equivalent
Harvard | Mr. Comeback Kid
GMAT 770, GPA 2.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. Greek Taverna
GMAT 730, GPA 7.03/10
Harvard | Ms. Biotech Ops
GMAT 770, GPA 3.53
Chicago Booth | Mr. Energy Operations
GRE 330, GPA 3.85
Harvard | Mr. Big 4 To Healthcare Reformer
GRE 338, GPA 4.0 (1st Class Honours - UK - Deans List)
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Indian Quant
GMAT 745, GPA 9.6 out of 10
Stanford GSB | Mr. Food & Education Entrepreneur
GMAT 720, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Mr. Lieutenant To Consultant
GMAT 760, GPA 3.7
Duke Fuqua | Mr. IB Back Office To Front Office/Consulting
GMAT 640, GPA 2.8
Rice Business | Mr. Future Energy Consultant
GRE Received a GRE Waiver, GPA 3.3

The Stanford MBA Behind Skybox

Headshot of John Fenwick, founder of Skybox Imaging

Stanford MBA John Fenwick popped into Stanford’s engineering school in search of the smartest people there for his co-founders

Skybox Imaging is a Stanford equation if there ever was one: one part business school and three parts engineering. While enrolled in Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, former Air Force officer John Fenwick popped into the engineering school and asked a professor to bring him the sharpest person there. That’s how he met his future co-founders, Julian Mann and Dan Berkenstock, both aerospace engineers. The three encountered their fourth co-founder, Ching-Yu Hu–who was getting her master’s in Management Science and Engineering–in a business class. The quartet took Mark Leslie’s Formation of New Ventures course where the professor introduced them to venture capitalist Pierre Lamond of Khosla Ventures. Lamond was impressed by what he saw and invested $3 million.

So far, so good. Skybox Imaging now has $91 million in investment, and both Lamond and Leslie sit on the board. “The company had to go through a very steep learning curve, and I think they performed very well,” Lamond says. “I would give them really an A grade.”

Silicon Valley has no shortage of consumer electronic know-how. What makes Skybox Imaging different is that it’s taking that technology to the final frontier, Lamond says. “This is somewhat of an exaggeration, but bottom line, I think it’s true,” he adds. “Bringing consumer electronic innovations to space could really change the game.”

Skybox Imaging is using consumer hardware to build inexpensive satellites that are about as big as two-drawer filing cabinets. Launching them is just the first step, though. These satellites will collect and combine low-resolution images to generate pictures that could show you cars in Walmart parking lots or fuel tankers traveling through China, Skybox Imaging told Wired in June. “We can get really very, very good pictures from a satellite that basically costs hundreds of times less than existing satellites,” Lamond says. And Skybox Imaging won’t just be selling those pictures–it’ll be selling the valuable data that comes with them. “We sell information, and that was one of the ideas [the company] had right at the beginning,” Lamond adds.

 

The technology that makes these satellites possible isn’t taught anywhere near business classes. Even Fenwick, the MBA in the equation, has a master’s in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT. “An MBA is generally irrelevant to me,” says David Cowan, a board member from Bessemer Venture Partners, an investor in the startup. Lamond is equally neutral on the subject. Still, he concedes that Stanford and MIT are ideal spots for any MBA candidate with an entrepreneurial bent. “When you are at Stanford or MIT, you are in constant contact with people in the engineering school or the bio areas,” he says. “You exchange ideas, and it leads to companies getting started.”

Skybox Imaging looks like a promising marriage of business and engineering. But–and this is a big but–the company hasn’t launched a single satellite, yet. Rather, the first satellite was set to piggyback its way to space on a Russian rocket. “You know, it would be nice if we could have a satellite flying over us right now, but we don’t have the means to buy or launch for $40 million or whatever, so we have to be patient,” Lamond says.

Cowan remains confident in Skybox’s success. “The team started out as a brilliant group of founders, but they have since recruited the cream of the crop from industry, bringing experience and domain knowledge from the companies Skybox Imaging will disrupt,” he says. “When we invested, everyone we spoke with dismissed the startup as fantastical and irrelevant, but now the industry watches Skybox with bated breath.”

DON’T MISS: Poets&Quants’ Top 100 MBA Startups or The Top 20 B-Schools for Entrepreneurship or The Top Investors in MBA Startups