Entrepreneurship professor weighs in on startups, careers and the pandemic

Timothy Michaelis

Tim Michaelis, assistant professor of entrepreneurship in the Department of Management in the NIU College of Business, was quoted in the January 3 2021 Wall Street Journal story “Should you join a startup during a pandemic.” (WSJ online utilizes a paywall and requires a subscription.)

The article discusses the pros and cons of launching a career in established firms versus startups during an historic pandemic. As shared in the piece, prior to the pandemic, many millennials were attracted to growth opportunities offered by new ventures. This view changed after the onset of the pandemic, when many job seekers reoriented their goals toward the perceived stability of established organizations.

Yet as noted in the story, “…There may soon be more startup jobs up for grabs for those willing to risk it. The first half of 2020 saw a steep drop-off in venture-capital funding to U.S. startups, but new businesses are rebounding. There was a 41% increase in new business applicaitons in the final full week of 2020 compared with exactly one year prior, according to the Census Bureau’s Business Formation Statistics.”

The story wraps up with a note of encouragement, along with Michaelis’s recommendation: “…Some of today’s headline-making companies, including Airbnb and Uber, formed during the 2007-09 recession. That’s partly why Tim Michaelis, an assistant professor of entrepreneurship at Northern Illinois University, still recommends all of his undergraduate students try their best to get hired at a startup, even during the pandemic.

‘To me, it’s like a rotational program, in terms of how many responsibilities you can take on early in your career,” he says. “I would often get pushback that it’s not as secure as a big company like Google or IBM. But I don’t think there’s a person in the country who truly feels secure in their jobs right now. So there’s never been a better time to take a risk on a startup.’”
posted by M. De Jean, Director of Marketing, NIU Business
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