The School of Management recently received a donation of $25,000 to establish the Pete Bianco Scholarship Endowment. The proceeds from this endowment allow for a selected Mason MBA student to have the opportunity to participate in MindShare, an exclusive, invitation-only program comprised of CEOs of Washington, D.C., area companies. This extraordinary networking and learning opportunity is designed to foster entrepreneurial activity.
“The main benefit of this scholarship is to provide MBA students with the opportunity to learn from senior business leaders,” says Paige Wolf, director of graduate programs and associate professor of management at George Mason’s School of Management. “Students who want to become entrepreneurs will gain expertise from experienced CEO’s on how to overcome challenges with launching their product or service.”
MindShare was founded in 1997 by a local group of successful business leaders who wanted to create an elite program for CEOs to provide mentorship, a sense of community and a spirit of innovation in the region. Over the course of eight months, MindShare delivers 8 sessions, each focusing on a different aspect of nurturing and growing an emerging business to help companies and their CEOs build successful companies. It also creates opportunities for CEOs to share successes and challenges while networking. Now entering its eighteenth year, more than 700 CEOs have graduated from MindShare creating a strong and invaluable alumni network.
MindShare alumni include Joe Payne of Eloqua (2012 IPO and acquired by Oracle for $871M); Tim O’Shaughnessy of LivingSocial (raised over $180M in 2010); Reggie Aggarwal of Cvent (2013 IPO); Rick Rudman of Vocus (2005 IPO); Hemant Kanakia of Torrent Networking Technologies (acquired by Ericsson for $450M); and Phillip Merrick of webMethods (the most successful first day software IPO ever). Recent speakers include Ted Leonsis, founder, chairman and majority owner of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, and Michael Chasen, former CEO of Blackboard.
Donors to the Pete Bianco Scholarship include Mark Frantz, Sid Fuchs, Edwin Miller, Julian Waits, and Heather Young, who established the endowment in memory of their former colleague.
Pete Bianco was a successful technology entrepreneur, executive, investor and adviser with personal experience building and managing leadership teams and boards of directors. He was a managing partner of Benchmark Executive Search and a board member for the MindShare Alumni Network.
Miller, CEO and founder of 9Lenses and adjunct professor at the School of Management, says, “We established this scholarship to honor and keep alive the incredible creativity and brilliance of Pete. Pete was an unrelenting and exceptional entrepreneur that would ALWAYS help another entrepreneur.”
To be considered for this unique opportunity, students must demonstrate a strong interest in entrepreneurship and a solid business idea; excellence in business knowledge; intellectual curiosity, interest and willingness to ask questions related to real business problems; ability to articulate ideas and leverage CEO connections and willingness to participate in the entire program.