• Members of the Black Graduate Student Association and the Academy of Courageous Minority Engineers with rap legend and entrepreneur Doug E. Fresh at the second annual Personal Branding Workshop.

    Members of the Black Graduate Student Association and the Academy of Courageous Minority Engineers with rap legend and entrepreneur Doug E. Fresh at the second annual Personal Branding Workshop.

    Photo: Division of Student Life

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  • Rap legend and entrepreneur Doug E. Fresh spoke at the second annual Personal Branding Workshop, sponsored by the Black Graduate Student Association and the Academy of Courageous Minority Engineers.

    Rap legend and entrepreneur Doug E. Fresh spoke at the second annual Personal Branding Workshop, sponsored by the Black Graduate Student Association and the Academy of Courageous Minority Engineers.

    Photo: Division of Student Life

    Full Screen

Rapping about entrepreneurship and branding

Doug E. Fresh and other entrepreneurs discuss building a personal brand with grad students at MIT.


So you’ve made a new technology. It's something you think will revolutionize a market in a truly radical way. But how do you describe it? Sure it can do a lot of great things, but what can it do for someone beyond just its function? And even more importantly, how do you set yourself apart in a field where there are so many technological entrepreneurs?

The Personal Branding Workshop on Feb. 28 — co-sponsored by the Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA) and the Academy of Courageous Minority Engineers (ACME) with support from the Division of Student Life — dug into the complex topic of helping entrepreneurs develop a brand strategy for themselves that will leave a lasting impression on their audience, be they venture capitalists, hiring managers, or customers.

During interactive discussions with established entrepreneurs, participants garnered tools and ideas for shaping a personal brand. “Last year, we didn’t have any kind of interactivity,” said Kelvin Frazier G, a founding member of the BGSA Personal Branding Workshop. “By having these strategy and development sessions, we can really help attendees recognize some of the weaknesses in their ideas and workshop them.”

Another big draw for the event was the keynote talk by rapper and entrepreneur Doug E. Fresh, who discussed how personal branding was key to his career.

“I started getting into the hip-hop game when I was 13. There wasn’t any kind of blueprint for what it meant to be a rapper back then,” Fresh said during his panel. “When I was starting out, I wanted to be just like some of the bigger acts at the time. I didn’t know what personal branding meant or anything like that. But it evolved as I went along”

Other speakers came from a variety of backgrounds, ranging from non-profits, to tech startups, to military, who offered insights to help attendees recognize the strengths and weaknesses of their ideas and products.

“A lot of the people here know how to make something great, or how to develop new technology,” Frazier said, “but we want to make sure people can leave the workshop with actionable items.”

The BGSA is hosting a number of upcoming events, including a community lunch open to the MIT community.


Topics: Special events and guest speakers, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E), Workshops, Student life, Students, Music

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