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Internship Spotlight: MiChaela Barker ’24, Yale Ventures

MiChaela Barker ’24 on the opportunity to engage with the wider Yale community and gain experience in venture capital through her internship with Yale Ventures. 

We asked rising second-year MBA students to check in from their summer internships, where they are applying the lessons of their first year at Yale SOM.

MiChaela being interviewed by a person with a camera and one sitting down.
Doing an interview with the SOM video team from the Office of Communications about Yale Ventures, startup funding, and how to leverage resources across the entire Yale campus.

MiChaela Barker ’24

Joint Degree: Public Health
Hometown: East Lansing, Michigan 
Internship: Yale Ventures, New Haven, Connecticut

Pronouns: she/her/hers
Clubs and Affiliations: Student Government president, Consortium liaison, Black Business Alliance member, Yale Healthcare Conference 
Favorite SOM Class: Entrepreneurial Ventures in Consumer Products
Favorite SOM Professor: KJ Miller
Favorite New Haven eatery: Sandra’s Next Generation
Favorite thing you do in New Haven or at SOM to unwind: Walk through local art galleries and get boba tea afterwards
Favorite Yale study space: Schwartzman Center 
Bonus facts: I sing, songwrite, and produce under the stage name Bella Reign. I held my first album release last October at Gryphon’s Pub!

I’m working as the Rothberg Catalyzer ambassador in a role that serves both Yale Ventures and the Center for Biomedical Innovation and Technology (CBIT). In this role, I help with increasing outreach and representation to Yale students, staff, and faculty members who are working on a venture within the healthcare space. CBIT specifically focuses on the healthcare technology, medical device, and software industries, and the Rothberg Catalyzer has a special focus on healthcare artificial intelligence (AI). What I love about my internship is that I have a lot of autonomy regarding how I go about my assigned projects, which gives me the opportunity to be very creative in the solutions that I create. I am also very thankful for the CBIT and Yale Ventures community for always providing weekly networking sessions to expand my familiarity with our professional and entrepreneurial community.

MiChaela Barker at Yale Ventures looking at computer with a colleague pointing to the screen
MiChaela Barker and another person working on computers
MiChaela Barker working at a computer
From left: Working with SOM’s Christine Jolly of Academic Affairs and Student Life to brainstorm how to support student entrepreneurs and leverage SOM resources for their ventures; working with fellow Yale Ventures Summer Associate Aaron Turczynsk in the Honest Tea Entrepreneurship Bunker at SOM on a venture capital investment pitch deck; and taking advantage of the many entrepreneurial spaces across the Yale ecosystem, like Tsai CITY.

I obtained my internship by applying directly via the Yale Ventures interest forum. Yale Ventures hosted a few informational sessions both at the beginning of the fall semester and spring semester to highlight summer and academic opportunities to become a part of the Yale Ventures ecosystem. After attending these informational sessions and applying to become a summer associate, I was extended an interview. I decided to intern at Yale Ventures and CBIT because I truly wanted to be more involved with the Yale entrepreneurial environment. As a graduate student, we only have so many years to be directly involved with the Yale community, so I wanted to take advantage of that this summer. Having direct contacts and resources with the various healthcare, entrepreneurial, and professional centers is priceless, and I am so thankful for all of the people that I have met during my time here!

I am currently working on quite a few projects this summer. One of the largest tasks that I have surrounds the marketing strategy for CBIT and its annual hackathon. Thus far I have pitched a new logo design, website design, a social media content calendar, and a social media branding package, as well as outreach strategies for students, faculty, and staff to join the hackathon executive committee. During my time on these projects, I have learned to always have a diverse set of eyes looking over your work to provide you with various insights and perspectives, as well as always ensuring that you have at least three options when you are proposing a solution. This allows you to easily pivot and combine aspects of your work to create the best product.

In preparation for my internship, I made sure to do extensive research on the social media and marketing presence of both CBIT and Yale Ventures, made note of any signature events they host each year, familiarized myself with who oversaw which programs and branches within the two centers, and ensured that I understood the purpose and mission of both organizations. I also made sure to speak with previous interns, such as Luke Demas, to understand what to expect on a daily basis within my role.

With CBIT and Yale Ventures, there have always been a plethora of networking opportunities. Every Thursday we have a Lunch & Learn series where we speak with local professionals about their careers within venture capital. Additionally, we have had the opportunity to engage in site visits with NXTHVN, Biohaven, TSAI City, Connecticut Innovations, and more.

Having the opportunity to stay in New Haven for the summer has been amazing. During the academic year, things can become very hectic and we are not always able to enjoy the Yale campus and all that New Haven has to offer. Being able to float around and work within the Yale Ventures building, TSAI City, the Honest Tea Entrepreneurship Bunker at SOM, and other local spots has given me a greater appreciation of the city that I am a part of. Additionally, having staff, faculty, and other students working in the same building as I do not only makes completing tasks much easier, but it also gives me the unique opportunity to forge deeper relationships with those around me during the academic off-season.

There are many SOM connections at both CBIT and Yale Ventures. Many faculty and staff members are SOM alumni. Additionally, many of them also teach elective courses or workshops at SOM. I also have the privilege of being a summer associate with a number of other SOM MBA students.

Don’t be afraid to break into a new space for your internship! This is my first time working within the venture capital community, and CBIT and Yale Ventures have made this a wonderful learning experience. Having my Yale community to lean on as I learn about and explore new career avenues is priceless.