Re-examined: Andrea Nylund
- Name: Andrea Nylund
- Age: 51
- Lives in: Brooklyn, NY
- Job title: Co-founder and President of CauseTap
- Year started at NHH: 1989
Why decided to study at NHH?
I studied communications undergrad and had been working in PR for an international trade organization. I wanted to have a deeper understanding of the actual business. When I started looking into business schools, my Norwegian boyfriend (now husband), handed me information about NHH. The MIB program looked good, and the admissions process was much faster than for U.S. schools. I was ready to pack up and jump into a new experience.
Who was your favorite professor?
I enjoyed studying marketing and negotiations with Andreas Falkenberg. We also had a visiting lecturer from the University of Bergen who talked about politics. I like the nuts and bolts of business, but I'm always drawn to subjects that involve social interaction.
What kind of student were you?
Distracted. There was quite a lot to take in. New country, new people, new language, new lecturing styles, and "new" weather (I'm originally from California). In the U.S., you have lots of tests, papers and quizzes along the way, so you have a better idea of where to focus efforts.
Best thing about studying at NHH?
It was a great opportunity to study and collaborate with students from all over the world. It was so interesting to hear other perspectives and experience the combination of so many cultures.
Most vivid NHH memory?
Oddly enough, I think it's the stairs between lower and upper campus. It was definitely a work-out. Each time I climbed those stairs, I had some moments to reflect about the people around me, my classes, how I came to Norway, and where I was heading.
Tell us about your career.
After NHH, I moved to Oslo and worked in the media division of Norsk Hydro. That was an amazing experience with incredible colleagues. I traveled throughout Europe, the US and Asia, writing articles featuring the company's subsidiaries and partners.
I returned to the U.S., worked as a freelance journalist for a while then started an environmental software company in L.A., which fed my growing interest in sustainability. After 7 years, I sold my share of the company and worked in business development for a UK-based media organization specializing in energy and carbon trading.
I was then approached by a friend to start another company. We developed a suite of web-based tools for energy and water conservation. By chance, we were approached by Motorola to create a mobile app for a new "green" phone that they were launching.
After winning awards from the EPA and AT&T, we saw that there was a bigger opportunity to leverage our networks and have a greater social impact. We formed CauseTap which is what I'm working on today. The company is transforming mobile apps into a force for good. We have nearly 100 nonprofit partners. It's a great opportunity to use technology in a way that improves lives.
What is the largest obstacle you are facing in your job?
I love being an entrepreneur. There's a constant flow of unexpected challenges. Getting to market with limited capital is probably the biggest obstacle, especially in tech where things move so fast. Getting the first client to validate the business proposition is another hurdle. It's fun to have a cool business, but if you want it to last, there has to be a clear need in the market. Starting companies requires a lot of creativity, crazy tenacity and a dose of pragmatism.
What are you reading now?
I have a stack of books that I haven't had time to get to! The last thing I read was Time-Out New York. It's a great source of all the things going on in New York. I've been in Brooklyn only a year, and there's tons to discover daily.
What are you watching on TV?
I was a big fan of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and now watch "Last Week Tonight" with Jon Oliver and "Project Runway." I love documentaries.
What kind of career would you choose if you could choose again?
That's a hard question. Maybe a documentary film maker.