Wharton MBA Student, Rima Reddy, on Valuable Lessons She's Learnt From the VC World

Hey Rima! Tell us about yourself!

Hi! I'm Rima. I'm a 2nd year MBA at The Wharton School, and also a VC investor. I have held roles at firms including M13 and XRC Labs, as well on campus for Dorm Room Fund and Pear VC. I absolutely love the outdoors - hiking, biking, running, and camping are some of my favorite activities.

You’re so busy! What are your tips and tricks to balance it all?

[As you can tell...] I wish I was better at it - it's always a learning process! I've been trying a few pro tips the past couple years to stay better organized. I block out my calendar for almost everything I do on a daily basis including reading the news, stretching, and even showering. If I need to schedule something over it - there has to be a new time slot I can move the original activity to! I also am a big to-do lister and aim to triage my list once a week into small, medium, and large to do items. I try to tackle 3 small, 2 medium, and progress on 1 large item per day during my "work blocks."

What’s the biggest thing that the pandemic has taught you?

The pandemic has definitely taught me more about empathy - that everyone is going through something. I've definitely tried to be easier on myself, but I've also learned it's important to be easier on your friends and colleagues too.

What does a typical day in the life look like for you?

As a full-time student and part-time investor, my schedule can be pretty all over the place! I typically do my best work in the morning, so after my morning routine which is meditating for 10 minutes (I use Calm!), stretching, and a workout, I usually have a work block for 1-2 hours before class starts. I usually have class most of the morning and early afternoon In the late afternoons, I typically do back to back calls with founders and catch ups with other VCs. Most evenings, I participate in an extracurricular or community event - I invest in student founders through Dorm Room Fund, lead an organization called StartU, meet with a women's investing circle through All Raise, and serve on the Associate Board of a non-profit called Raised by Us. At Wharton, it's usually getting drinks or dinner with friends, or participating in a fun social event like a wine or cocktail club tasting!

What drew you to VC & the startup world?

Two things I've realized throughout my career are that I get energized by meeting new people and that I really love learning new things. VC is a perfect blend of both. I am so fortunate to be able to meet incredibly talented, inspiring, and unique entrepreneurs every day and I'm always learning something new through conversations. It's super fun.

What valuable lessons have you learned since joining your MBA program?

You can't do it all. I'm definitely still learning this one. There are SO many ways you can spend your time - both as a VC and as a student in an MBA program - you really have to prioritize and stick to it. I find it's helpful to write down my priorities, and sometimes I even write down in my journal why I chose to do a particular activity or assignment instead of something else. If I ever feel FOMO or regret, I take a look back at what I did instead and why - it makes me feel a lot more intentional about how I spend my time.

What question do you wish every founder asked you on a first call?

This one is more about what I think VCs should ask in a first call - but it's a conversation that definitely should be happening: outside of money, what is the biggest challenge a founder is facing that the investor can help with? I think it helps both parties understand if there is a good match and real value to be added through working together. It opens up the conversation to brainstorming and problem solving vs. just rapid fire questions.

As you know, we think community is everything. How has your community helped you navigate your personal and/or professional life?

Community has absolutely been an integral part of my life. I honestly try to participate in as many communities as possible because I think each has something new to add - whether it be kindred spirits volunteering together, women navigating the VC world together, or my peers at school, it's always amazing to have just the right person to go to for advice. Even better, I really love being a connector. There is nothing more rewarding for me than introducing two people from different parts of my life who end up working on something together.

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