Why is Spark's recruitment process so long? Spark's recruitment process is thorough because we're protective of our culture, values, mission, and members. Kindness, mission-centered thinking, growth mindset, hard work, individual agency, and integrity sit at the heart of our culture. These characteristics help us do our best work – and a thorough recruitment process helps us find the people who fit that description.
What are some common reasons people get rejected from Spark? We reject most applicants because their goal is to get something that being part of Spark leadership doesn't directly provide, like direct startup acceleration or investment. This misunderstanding is actually mostly our fault. We spend most of our time marketing our events and entrepreneurial resources, but have routinely failed to make the distinction that Spark is the group of people that organize and put on these events and resources. We also reject applicants whose personal goals align more closely with what another club might provide, like investing experience with TroyLabs or product experience in Lavalab. If you receive a rejection but are sure that your goals include building entrepreneurial opportunities for USC, apply again! Sometimes all it takes is a second try to clear up any questions that your reviewers might have.
Does Spark have member dues or fees? We don't have dues or membership fees. Fees prevent awesome people from applying to great clubs every year and we want to be different. Some things have a cost associated with them, but we've found workarounds for Spark members without an income: Our mandatory semesterly retreat costs $50 to attend for members who can afford it, but Spark will cover that fee for members who can't afford it, no questions asked. Spark members who attend our optional semesterly trip to the Bay Area split the cost of gas for the trip and pay for their own food over the course of the three days in the Bay.
Can Spark's Board members benefit from initiatives they run? Of course; several of our members have worked for the companies we partner with or have learned from our own events, but that's not why they joined Spark. People commit their time and energy to Spark because they want to be part of the family that's working to turn USC's entrepreneurial culture into something even more useful, fun, and welcoming for individual students. The more diverse and dimensional that culture is, the better everyone's experience is.
How many Board members does Spark accept each semester? We typically accept 9-11 new Board members.
What's it like when you finally get into Spark? We wrote a whole article on this! Read it here.