Ian Thiel '11

Ian Thiel '11

One year after graduating with a degree in economics, Ian Thiel ’11 (Annapolis, Md.) has founded his own financial services company while working toward his Master of Science in Management from Babson College’s Global Entrepreneurship Program.

As part of the master’s program from which Ian will graduate in August 2012, he has studied at top colleges and universities in France, China and the U.S. It was while staying at a hostel in Paris that he and a couple of classmates came up with the idea for their financial services company, OneKey Ventures. 

The company is a global business development platform that provides research, investment advice and commodities brokerage. The idea was a response to an unsatisfied need expressed by a certain customer. “In this case,” Ian said, “that customer was the Chinese government, Chinese companies and Chinese investors.” Less than a month after coming up with the concept, Ian and his classmates officially launched OneKey Ventures.

“We identified an opportunity and pulled the trigger,” Ian explained.  “We’re still figuring out ‘how’ along the way.”

The three internships Ian experienced while attending York College taught him valuable lessons that proved key to his future success. “My internships were the deciding factor in my career path. My professors and courses are what enabled me to succeed in those internships.”

Ian shared one of the most valuable lessons he learned from all this on-the-job experience: “When asked if you know how to do something, the proper answer is never ‘no,’ it’s always ‘not yet.’ Companies want to hire smart people that can learn quickly. Be that person.”

He urges students to start as early as possible when looking for real-world experience. “Unpaid internships are everywhere, and many can be done remotely. Start gaining that valuable experience as early and as often as possible.”

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