Profiles from the Dirt Road: Jane Levy, MBA ’97

Jane Levy invests in innovative businesses — and in those around her—by keeping her eyes on the prize.

What do you do?

I’m currently the Chief Growth Officer for an enterprise SaaS business called Jarvis Analytics. I spend my day thinking about where the company should be in a year and what I need to put in place to achieve that vision: capital, partnerships, hiring. It’s been energizing and inspiring being at the rockface, having a hand in operating a company.

What do you love most about your job?

I love thinking about a goal and then working backward to put the pieces in place to achieve that goal. This may sound simple, but I’ve come to expect at least one surprise each week that throws my best-laid plans off track. Most of the time, this swerving on and off track has led to better outcomes for our team. Keeping our collective eye on the goal has been a good life lesson to learn.

What led you to MIT Sloan?

My first job out of college was at Accenture, and programming was incredible training for a young mind. I fell in love with technology, and MIT had appeal for its resonant motto: Mind and Hand — and its offbeat approach to business education. We had classes on process automation in a manufacturing plant and entrepreneurism before it was de rigueur. Sloan prepared me in many ways for a rich career, but I learned to approach things in non-traditional ways.

MIT Sloan was the best training ground, and as part of the alumni board, I continue to learn and access all the school’s resources. The MIT culture is very aligned with my own ethos: don’t over-sell, always over-deliver, work hard, and think creatively to find solutions. I will always find ways to support the school and give back. The opportunity I had to study at MIT completely altered the trajectory of my life.

Describe your career trajectory after MIT Sloan: What surprised you? What challenged you? What gratified you?

My career path has not been a straight line. With hindsight, I realize that I was always motivated by my curiosity. Learning something new was the guidepost, so I navigated from investing in public companies to venture capital, from investing as an agent to investing as a principal, and finally to operating in a young company. I’ve been surprised by how every experience has added to my skill-set. It’s been put to the test every day in a startup, where I must wear many hats.

How do you inspire others?

By treating people with respect and by setting an example. I expect from others what I deliver myself, and I’m always striving for excellence. In general, I get people to imagine where they’d like to be in a year. I ask, “Where do you see yourself, what are you doing, who are you?” And then, put in place the skills, the focus, and the hard work to get there. Start now, as though you’re already in that role. Hold yourself to that higher standard now.

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By MIT Sloan CDO