“From the program’s curriculum I now have a multitude of tools and frameworks to apply to my work, and that has become an infinite source of differentiation for my business.”
Garth Jenkins, MS, MBA,
Vice President, Business Development
Ventis Technology Partners
Garth Jenkins, MS, MBA, EMTM’09
Armed with an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering, Garth entered the job force in the telecommunications arena, working with large service providers to roll out broadband Internet infrastructure for Bell Northern Research Labs. He eventually moved into the venture capital side for sister company BCE. Later, he managed investments and ran the global university and research and investment program at Nortel Networks. In 2007, Garth left Nortel to found his own company, Ventis, a business development firm that helps companies license and commercialize new technologies. “What I’ve noticed from working on different sides of this business is that there’s a lot of great technology out there, but many excellent tech firms just can’t get over the hump and pull it all together with funding and business strategy. For my own purposes, I wanted to develop both a practical and theoretical perspective to help me offer these services to others.”
Garth already had two advanced degrees in finance and business administration, but he needed a better framework for putting it all together. From the outset, a technology management degree seemed like the right fit for his needs. He considered one other leading technology management program, but found it to be too heavily focused on manufacturing and systems engineering. “Learning how to build a space shuttle wouldn’t necessarily help my clients. I liked that Penn’s program had a quantitative and qualitative approach with a mix of theory and practical education.” When he visited campus he was struck by the quality of students and professors, and impressed by the School’s commitment to constant improvement.
Since he was getting Ventis off the ground just as he entered the program, Garth found useful lessons in his coursework that dovetailed with the development of the new company. “The program and Ventis became symbiotic and I was able to apply some of the tools I was learning. It had a pretty big impact from the beginning.”
In Managerial Economics and Marketing he learned to look at the bigger picture around competitive pricing and positioning products vis à vis the competition. “This helped me think about how a little company can compete with a big company and how a big company can stay nimble.” Decision Modeling gave him convincing heuristic scenarios to learn from, and taught him that the right decisions are sometimes counterintuitive. In the Operations course he found a much more tangible takeaway: ideas for improving the efficiency of an aquaculture company he works with. Nearly all of the technology electives offered from robotics to software engineering and biotechnology are helpful in evaluating new technologies and business concepts.
Garth has watched his company grow in tandem with his mastery of technology management, and he credits EMTM for helping him bridge the gap. He has even recruited some fellow students to work with Ventis on future projects. “From the program’s curriculum I now have a multitude of tools and frameworks to apply to my work, and that has become an infinite source of differentiation for my business. EMTM has allowed us to expand Ventis’ business development capability and become more sustainable in the long run.”