Action-based learning experiences at the Zell Lurie Institute are propelling Ashish Kumar, an evening MBA student, toward a future career in venture capital and entrepreneurial business with a focus on the health-care industry. Recently, he was selected as a Kauffman Finalist, following a rigorous screening, evaluation and review process conducted by practicing venture capitalists and partners of the Kauffman Fellows Program. The prestigious Fellowship provides a gateway into the highly competitive venture-capital industry and prepares Finalists for successful careers as venture investors
Hundreds of candidates vie for Kauffman Fellowships every year, but few cross the finish line. This year, the Zell Lurie Institute has two student candidates who have been selected as finalists. Kumar’s success is due in large part to his immersion in venture-capital investing at the Institute. As a Zell Lurie Institute scholar and team co-leader of the $6.5 million Wolverine Venture Fund, he has honed his investment skills by conducting due diligence on prospective target companies, structuring investment deals and collaborating on investments with experienced venture capitalists. In the summer of 2012, Kumar interned at Apjohn Ventures, a Kalamazoo-based venture-capital firm established to invest primarily in early-stage life-sciences companies across the Midwest. While working at Apjohn, he analyzed portfolio company valuations, competitive landscapes and exit scenarios. Kumar also networked with VCs and strategic investors who were considering follow-on financing and partnering opportunities.
Currently, Kumar works for Illumina Inc., a global genomics and life-sciences company headquartered in San Diego, where he provides marketing and assay-development support to customer labs in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Wisconsin. Previously, he was an equity research associate at California Equity Research, also located in San Diego. At the independent research firm, he compiled research reports on companies operating in the diagnostics, biopharmaceutical and medical-devices sectors. Kumar earned his doctorate in molecular, cellular and developmental biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara and a degree in engineering physics at the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai. His life goal, he says, is to launch his own start-up company and offer products that will impact the lives of millions of people.