Boston: Lock The Students Up!

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Boston: Lock The Students Up!

 

If you’re from the Boston area and into technology in any shape or form, you should be reading Scott Kirsner’s blog “The Innovation Economy”.   Scott had an article on his blog recently titled “Boston’s Biggest Trade Associations Flunk the Student Test”.  [Oh, and by the way, Scott also writes for the Boston Globe].

The article builds on a theme that Scott has been talking about for some time:  How to keep all those great students that the Boston area is able to attract every year.

Let me open by saying that I hate students just as much as Scott does — which is to say,  I love them.  As an entrepreneur, my motives are completely selfish.  I want to keep as much raw, passionate and brilliant talent in the area as possible. 

In his most recent article, Scott looks at the local trade associations and grades them on how well they are doing to encourage and engage students.  (The comments posted to the article are worth reading as well).  I think getting the associations to pull in students more is definitely a great way to keep the students.

So, in addition to getting our trade associations to step up, here are some random thoughts on how we might lock up the students and keep the talent here:

1.  Help students build a network locally.  The more powerful and valuable the network, the bigger the sacrifice of moving somewhere else.

2.  Help students get new ideas off the ground in terms of capital and mentoring. 

3.  Help students stay students.  I think our academic institutions should invest in ways that graduating students can continue to stay involved and keep learning.  The value of all of these graduate students is much higher than just the potential alumni donations.

4.  Help students have fun.  I don’t mean in the “they need to learn how to party sense”, but in the “creativity as applied to business” sense.  Recruit student talent to help experiment with some new ideas for your business.  Try unleashing some of their creativity.  It’s not all going to work, but I’m guessing that lately, not all of your projects are working anyways.

Would love to hear your ideas on how we could do a better job locking the students up. 

And, if you’re a student yourself, what are your thoughts on how we might keep you and your awesomeness around in the Boston area?

Posted by Dharmesh Shah on Mon, Nov 10, 2008

COMMENTS

Give them job offers with higher salaries than other places. End of problem. 
 
Thought experiment to beat this one over the head: What happens if every graduating student receives an offer that includes a $200k salary from a company in the desired area? 
 
I'm in Seattle. This isn't an issue that comes up here (although my guess is that we don't have as many students as Boston). Places like Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Adobe write offer letters with good salaries working on interesting problems. I think our issues here are around attracting more people to the area, not keeping the ones who are already here.

posted on Monday, November 10, 2008 at 5:03 PM by James Moore


I'm from Ottawa, Canada, nevertheless a student. For me, at least at the beginning of my career, salary is not my first priority to stay in a company. More importantly, I want to hang out around people, or better say stars of the company, who could educate me and also give me an opportunity to shine.

posted on Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 9:04 AM by Behzad Malek


I’m always a bit shocked at how poor of a job Boston does at highlighting its major advantage over Silicon Valley: Cambridge and Boston are a much better place to live than a suburbs of San Jose. While San Francisco is a great city, it’s pretty hard to get to the tech jobs in the valley without a car and a serious commute. Most cool people who’ve just graduated from school would rather live and work in a real urban environment. I’ve lived and worked in both areas, and I can tell you, Cambridge at 11 pm on a Tuesday night is way more fun than Palo Alto.

posted on Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 3:11 PM by Healy Jones


I’m always a bit shocked at how poor of a job Boston does at highlighting its major advantage over Silicon Valley: Cambridge and Boston are a much better place to live than a suburbs of San Jose. While San Francisco is a great city, it’s pretty hard to get to the tech jobs in the valley without a car and a serious commute. Most cool people who’ve just graduated from school would rather live and work in a real urban environment. I’ve lived and worked in both areas, and I can tell you, Cambridge at 11 pm on a Tuesday night is way more fun than Palo Alto.

posted on Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 2:07 AM by TiaoZao


That's why Northeastern is shooting through the ranking system of universities and colleges. 
 
The CO-OP/Internship program allows for great networking experiences. 
 
But yes, I do agree that Boston has not found a way to harness the creativity and work from its breed of college students.

posted on Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 3:55 PM by Colin


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