“I actually started out working in industry,” Joy Godesiabois, an Assistant Professor in Mines’s Department of Economics and Business noted, recounting her past. “ I had an undergraduate degree in accounting, worked in accounting, got into high technology. But my freshman year at college I had a great anthropology professor, and I knew that getting a PhD in teaching is something that I always wanted to do.”
Godiesiabois, who teaches in the Master’s-level Engineering Technology Management program, routinely draws on her industry experience to illustrate concepts in the classes she teaches: the ETM Capstone course, Technology Entrepreneurship and her favorite, Entrepreneurial Finance. “[W]hen I started at this school I was asked what classes I would like to teach and I said Entrepreneurial Finance,” she explained of the class. “We had never offered it [and] I created it, so it’s sort of my class. I think it’s relevant for students who want to start their own businesses, but I also think it’s relevant for students that go to work for any sized company.”
The difference between Entrepreneurial Finance, which Godesiabois is teaching this semester, and last semester’s Technology Entrepreneurship, is that “[with] Technology Entrepreneurship what we’re looking at mostly is what it takes to launch a business with a technological product. So we talk about patents, we talk about marketability and so forth.” In contrast, Enrepreneurial Finance “we’re focused exclusively on any type of startup business: what will it take, what sorts of things you need to know about budgeting, raising money, organizing a business legally and financially,” Godesiabois stated. She has personally gone through such processes multiple times before, having served as CFO of a number of companies in the computer software industry, with focuses ranging from printed circuit board design automation to healthcare and telecommunications.
“One of the most important things that I learned is how important teamwork is,” said Godesiabois of her experience in the corporate world. “Even though I was a CFO, I still needed to have a good understanding of the product and the customers, and really understand the business,” she continued. “What I found was [that] throughout the organization, if the other folks had that understanding…that it all got us sort of focused in the same ways…as once person described it, getting all the wood behind the arrow, so that you’re all headed in the same direction.”
Godesiabois, who received her PhD in Strategic Management from the University of Colorado, currently performs research in her field of specialty, entrepreneurship, in addition to teaching the ETM graduate courses. Her main research focus is finding trends in how venture capital firms work together to co-invest in startup firms. “I’ve also started to look at that same sort of idea, the venture funding, of firms that are founded or run by women,” she added when asked about her research.
Godesiabois closed her discussion with The Oredigger with some advice to students: “For one thing, go to work for a company where you’ve got some opportunities,” she said. “Small companies you’re…going to get exposed to a lot of things because there won’t be many people, so that would be an advantage.” In larger companies, breadth of exposure tends to happen through specialized management-track programs. “But try to spend the first couple years that you’re out gaining as much information, getting exposed to as many possibilities as you can.” she continued. “Go to work for another company, see how things are done, learn from mistakes while you’re getting paid, and also establish relationships with people in the industry, because that’s going to help you going forward if you do start your own company.”