Jillian: Why ZX?

Here is a picture of me with VIVE – the beverage we built during my summer in Zxlerator!

Here is a picture of me with VIVE – the beverage we built during my summer in Zxlerator!

I didn’t go to business school intending to start a business, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted to become a founder almost immediately upon arrival at Wharton. It felt like everyone I spoke to was trying to start some sort of venture. I’ve always considered myself to be somewhat entrepreneurial in spirit, so I figured why not at least consider it. I started thinking about potential industries, spinning my wheels to identify the next ‘billion-dollar idea’ (like every single other first year MBA). It was a very humbling exercise. First, I lacked any in depth, industry-specific knowledge, which made it virtually impossible to identify salient pain points. Which brought me to another, potentially larger issue. Even if I were to identify a real problem to address, what right did I have to win? Prior to Wharton, I had spent 3 years working in Sales and Trading at a large investment bank. I had never worked in any of the sleeker industries like retail, biotech, or food and beverage. I had no pre-existing connections, no real networks to leverage. I would be starting from scratch… and frankly, starting from scratch is scary.

I have always struggled with the notion of ‘risk aversion.’ In business school, ‘risk aversion’ is perceived as a negative thing. But I argue that a healthy level of risk aversion can actually be incredibly valuable. I realized very early on in my Wharton career that while I may be entrepreneurial in spirit, I also carry a healthily degree of risk aversion. I do want to build my own venture, but I don’t want to have to start from scratch to do so.

Insert ZX Ventures. The perfect marriage of best-in-class industry knowledge, venture-led thinking, and high-performing teammates to de-risk the entrepreneurial process.

ZX Ventures offered me the opportunity to flex my founder muscle in a relatively low-risk environment. The ZXLerator MBA internship program gave me the team, the money, and the industry resources necessary to solve a real consumer problem and scale a viable business over the course of just one summer. ZX Ventures has one of the best MBA internship programs out there. I’m biased, but it’s true. Where else are you presented with a budget, a problem, and 11 fully-dedicated weeks to go solve it?

In my fulltime role here at ZX, I sit right next to a huge poster that reads: “Only invent if you need to.” ZX is not interested in recreating the wheel. We are interested in leveraging our resources, capabilities, and unparalleled industry expertise to push the beverage category further, fueling growth for AB InBev well into the future. If you’re like me - someone interested in building their own business, working with talented, passionate people, and gaining the tangible industry knowledge necessary to create solutions to address real consumer problems – ZX is the place for you. Because at ZX, you don’t have to start from scratch. You have the support of a $56bn global beverage leader behind you. Now that sounds like a pretty great set up for success.