Trio of Jenkins MBAs Turn Teamwork, Talent into Consulting Firm
When they entered business school, Erin Finefield and Ana Wall never had any intention of starting a company. Both had planned to seek out corporate jobs. Michael Day, who has more of a background in finance and entrepreneurship, thought a startup was in his future. But none of the three, all 2020 graduates, realized it would be 3BP.
“It’s all my fault. Some consulting opportunities came across our plate,” Day says. “In my mind it just kind of clicked.”
So they formed 3BP Consulting in September 2020, giving themselves until March to see if they could make it work.
“I’ve got the finance and venture capital skills and background. Erin has nine years of being a bench scientist, prior to getting her MBA, with several biotech companies,” he said. “And Ana’s background is with marketing with Volvo before coming back to get her MBA.”
The three had, they realized, all the skills to help small businesses be more successful, to aid startups in growing, and even to assess potential opportunities for venture investors.
And they knew from their time at the Poole College of Management that they worked well together. Finefield and Day sat next to each other on their first day of class, and the three of them shared several classes throughout the program.
During their last semester all three were in the same class and ended up in a project group together.
“One thing that really worked for us is that we got to know each other during a high-pressure time — in school — so we were able to mitigate some of those things that might have come up starting a company,” Wall says.
We have really good conflict resolution and being able to talk to each other pretty openly has really helped.
In addition to their time together in classes and group projects honing teamwork skills, what’s also helped has been a foundation of classes focused on entrepreneurship, product development and related subjects.
“Erin and I did the technology commercialization class and then Mike was in the tech entrepreneurship program,” Wall says. “Having that foundation of looking at market opportunities in that sense for new products and new companies has really helped me with how we address companies that we work with.”
The Jenkins MBA strengthened skills the three had developed earlier in their career, and added new capabilities, such as building teams, learning about consumer psychology and understanding venture investing.
3BP is largely focused on (but not limited to) startups in the medical device and drug sector. The firm takes on short and long term engagements with companies that lack the employees or expertise to handle everything from marketing and digital media to operational needs and growth strategy.
3BP also has a longer-term contract to handle due diligence for a venture capitalist.
“Ideally we’d like to have one more long-term customer, but we’ll see how that plays out,” Day says. “The pendulum is shifting enough for us to say this is working, let’s keep at it.”
They seem to be on to something.
Finefield has just moved back from Boston to Raleigh (Day and Wall already live in the Triangle).
“We turned a corner, probably February or March timeframe, where we were able to sign a yearlong contract with one of core customers,” Day says.
It’s been viable for us, and based on some conversations we’ve had, it looks like it’s going to be that way for quite some time.