Reflections on Startup Institute

How was your experience at Startup Institute?

I’ve heard this question a lot over the last few days. I’m not sure if I’ll ever have the time to fully reflect on the whirlwind experience, but I do have a number of thoughts on the most intense eight weeks of my life.

It started a few months ago when I left my job. My life seemed in flux, but I was happy to finally start to look in a new direction. I had actually applied to the program on a whim back in the fall of 2013, as I was extremely unhappy with the direction of my career. Then life happened…

A close friend of mine had been thinking about joining Startup Institute for about a year at that point. That thought began to creep into my mind again, and one dark and cold January Saturday afternoon I decided to reach out to Allan, the program director in Boston. I told him I was still interested and would like to apply again to the spring 2014 cohort. After a few emails and calls back and forth, they accepted my application, again.

Fast forward a few months, and I’m exhausted, if not exhilarated. When people ask me that opening question, sometimes I don’t know how to answer. Not because I don’t know, but because I don’t know how to sum it up without going on for hours. It was a truly amazing experience. Perfect? Of course not, but anyone going into this world knows it never is. It is something you have to be ready for. As organized as chaos can be at times. That isn’t to say the program isn’t well run. It is. Amazingly, amidst the chaos, is a group of incredibly warm, smart and driven people dedicated to helping 50 people (47 in my particular cohort) change not only their careers, but their lives.

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The people looking to change their lives came from all walks of life in my cohort. Some changing lucrative careers in consulting and finance. Others coming straight out of college, looking to find a way to break into the professional world. There were introverts and extroverts. People from across the country, and a girl from Dubai. Although each person may have been looking for something a bit different and more specific, the one thing that brought everyone together was a love for one another and a real sense of not just community, but family.

It seems impossible for me, at 33 years old, to find many new friends. I’ve been out of college for over a decade and thrust into the professional world. Sure, I’ve met people along the way that I can call friends, but never like this. I’m not sure if all 47 of us will be best friends forever, in fact I’m sure many of us won’t hangout more than on occasion, if at all due to the direction life will take us. However, I do know that I have made a number of really close friends who will be a part of my life, and I’m also a part of a family that no one will ever be able to take away from us.

Continue reading on Jesse’s blog


Jesse Tremblay has a background in marketing, small business ownership, consulting and web design. He loves soccer, cycling and UX design. He graduated from Startup Institute Boston in April 2014 and now works as a UX/UI, Graphic and Visual design consultant for Bridj.