Stayin’ in MA: The Future of Innovation in Massachusetts

I am thrilled to present this guest post by Nick Shanman, our Content Manager, who helped us analyze the impact our popular program Stay in MA has had since inception.

As a student at Northeastern University, I know first hand the difficulty in finding valuable events at a reasonable price. I personally have opted out of entrepreneurship/tech related conferences because the hundreds of dollars in fees would exceed my student budget. When Flybridge asked me to write this post regarding the Stay in MA program, I knew it would be a great opportunity for local companies and students to understand how important it is for us to work together. Whether it’s through events, networking, or internships, keeping students in Massachusetts after graduation will directly correlate with how our businesses–and therefore our state–performs from both an innovative and economic standpoint.

Eight years ago, Flybridge created the Stay in MA program, a scholarship fund for Massachusetts-based college students.  The program was inspired by a blog post Scott Kirsner wrote on the tragedy of Massachusetts students not remaining in the state after they graduate and the role industry organizations could play in changing this by making it easier for students to attend their events.  Our goal was–and still is–to foster entrepreneurship and innovation between students and the community by providing financial assistance for students to attend technology and business-related events in the state. We noticed an abundance of students leaving Massachusetts after graduation and realized that if firms like ours influence young entrepreneurs to stay, our ecosystem will continue to grow and thrive.  With financial support from our friends at Gunderson Dettmer, we’ve been able to continue to grow the program and provide students from throughout the Massachusetts university and college ecosystem with the opportunity to attend events and network with the entrepreneur and business communities.

We are often asked about the impact the Stay in MA program has had over the years, so we decided to take a look back at the entire program thus far to see the results. As of today, Stay in MA has given out over $62,000 in scholarships to students and helped over 1,200 students experience amazing learning and professional networking opportunities for no cost to them.

Our students come from over 50 schools throughout Massachusetts.  And while the Boston and Cambridge based schools have had the most student participation, over recent years we’ve had students from many schools in other regions including the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Cape Cod Community College, Clark University, Mount Holyoke College, Regis College, Salem State University, Stonehill College, Wellesley College, Wheaton College, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) participate in the program as well. Any student studying in a full-time institution of higher education in MA, whether undergrad or grad, is eligible for a Stay in MA scholarship. We are continuing to expand our reach, and hope to get more and more schools involved over the course of the year.

As of 2016, MIT, Harvard University, and Boston University are our top three schools in the Stay in MA program, having received over 500 scholarships combined. This list highlights the top 10 schools in terms of number of scholarships given. We’re extremely proud at how evenly spread these numbers are across the board.

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Stay in MA partners with local organizations in the industry to connect these students with truly valuable events. Students have the freedom to choose any event they have interest in, from a variety of industries from Big Data to Life Sciences to Venture Capital. Propel Careers has been our most popular partner, with events in Entrepreneurship, Diagnostics, and Biology.  Here are the top 10 events students have attended through Stay in MA since 2009:

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The attendance numbers are great… but we also were interested in how the program has impacted the students who participated in it over the years, so we decided to conduct a survey of all Stay in MA scholarship recipients. The positive feedback has been amazing!  

Of the 50 students from 10 different schools we heard back from (disclaimer, it was tough to get in touch with students from early years of the program as their school email addresses has expired, which we’ll fix by doing more regular surveys in the future!), we received great data regarding their careers after our program and thoughts on how the program impacted their growth. Below, we created a few charts demonstrating the percentage of students that stayed in MA upon graduation, an incredible 87.5%, students who still live in MA, a whopping 77.8%, and the diverse set of industries they work in today, with Tech in the lead at 37.8%.

 Students who lived in MA upon graduation              Students who still live in MA

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              What industry do they work in today?

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As you can see, students really did ‘Stay in MA,’ in a wide variety of fields, and we could not be more proud. We hope that the events they attended through our program had an influence on their decision to continue working in Massachusetts. It’s because of these students that our state and the city of Boston is growing into a recognizable hub for technology and innovation.

What have students had to say about the Stay in MA program?

“Your award helped me build my network, which is now strong enough that I’d have a hard time leaving. I think the program is great!”

“I❤ Stay in MA…. It’s a critical program for students to get funding to attend great events in the greater Boston region that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to.”

“I learned about the program when Kate Castle came and talked in one of my Marketing classes at BU. It was super easy to apply for the scholarship. It allowed me to take a Content Marketing class at General Assembly without having to worry about the cost. I’m currently working for a Boston startup on their paid marketing campaigns, and I’m even writing my first eBook!”

“I want to thank you for funding my experience for the MassBio Commercialization Part 1 event. The event was filled with a lot of key insights and provided a wonderful opportunity to connect with leaders in the field. I sincerely appreciate having the opportunity.”

Keeping our student population in Massachusetts after graduation is key to innovation in our state.  We are thrilled that other industry organizations have also stepped up to create unique and compelling programs focused on the student population.  One of our favorites is NEVCA‘s TechGen, the exclusive intern marketplace that connects the best local students with the hottest local companies. TechGen has engaged more than 4000 students in the last year.  There are currently 2000 students looking for summer internships, over 250 companies on the site, and almost 8500 applications in thus far. TechGen also sees the value in keeping students in MA in order to help them launch successful careers.

I actually got my internship at Flybridge through TechGen’s own Sarah Sherburne. I had used their website to find summer internships, and ended up finding a 6 month spring co-op in the process. I could not be more grateful to Sarah and the TechGen program for making it easy for New England students to find real, relevant jobs.

So there you have it folks. Check out our website at if you’re a MA-based college student interested in applying for a scholarship! And be sure to head to for great internship opportunities in the area!

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