Alumni Spotlight: Mitch Gordon – Embracing Risk and Leaving the Corporate World Behind

Mitch Gordon, EWMBA 2013, has a career that fully embodies the word “entrepreneurial.”  He has started several successful companies and also works at SkyDeck, where he helps members of the UC Berkeley community foster and realize entrepreneurial dreams of their own.  As a Berkeley-Haas grad, he is a Cal enthusiast and a driven businessman.

After graduating college, Mitch went off to join the corporate world as a CPA. In his words, his “soul died a little every day.”  He liked and respected his employers but the monotony of accounting pushed him to pursue other goals. During what he calls his “quarter life crisis,” Mitch looked into law school, but it didn’t suit him. So, what next? Start a business in Taiwan? Sure!

Mitch had previously spent a wondrous year abroad, and wanted to facilitate the experience for others, and so began his first business, Reach to Teach. The company screens teachers and schools and helps connect the two to create life-changing experiences. Mitch lived largely in Taiwan for several years as this business flourished.

This successful venture caused Mitch to reach for more, and so he handed off the majority of responsibility to his trusted team and came to Berkeley-Haas to earn his EWMBA. He felt he needed more schooling to take his skills to the “next level,” and credits Haas with helping him “think bigger and more clearly.”

With his new and improved abilities, Mitch launched Go Overseas, which helps people to make informed decisions as they travel abroad.  The company is the Yelp/Trip Advisor for programs abroad.  He had the idea while still in Taiwan, and he says Haas helped him make it a reality.

Now based in SkyDeck, Berkeley’s one-and-a-half-year-old “incubator of entrepreneurial resources,” Mitch works largely as CEO of Go Overseas, but also as the Entrepreneur-in-Residence for SkyDeck/Lester Center.  SkyDeck is a partnership of the engineering school, Haas School of Business, and the Chancellor’s office, with some support from the city of Berkeley.  The goal is to be a space for anyone in the Berkeley community with an idea or even a question about entrepreneurial endeavors to come and prosper.  Mitch handles incoming questions and mentors new start-ups.

The best part of his work day, he says, is knowing that the work he is doing is directly benefiting his company, and enjoying the creative and fun environment of working in an entrepreneurial setting with his staff.  He admits the uncertainty and weight of responsibility make the job stressful at times but all the more satisfying in the end. Mitch advises anyone who comes to SkyDeck and Haas students in general: “don’t be afraid of failure and embrace risk.”

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