Robin Chase is the visionary mind behind Zipcar, the largest carsharing company in the world. Utilizing a wireless key, GPS location, and wifi billing, members can pick up Zipcars at various locations whenever they need one. In 2000, Chase and a partner launched the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company, which also notably helped kickstart the ‘collaborative economy,' as Zipcar preceded Airbnb and Uber by a decade. Since Zipcar’s inception, Chase has gone on to form Buzzcar, a French company recently acquired by Drivy; the online ride-sharing community GoLoco; Veniam, a vehicle network communications technology that transmits terabytes of data from vehicles to the cloud; and also NUMO, a global alliance that channels tech-based disruptions in urban transport to create more efficient cities. Regularly featured in major media, Chase has also received numerous awards and honors in the areas of innovation, design, and environment, including Time 100 Most Influential People, Fast Company Fast 50 Innovators, and BusinessWeek Top 10 Designers.
When it was time to choose an MBA program, Chase applied to MIT Sloan, thinking that it was the best way to balance her liberal arts degree from Wellesley College. MIT initially rejected Chase because of her low GMAT math scores, but after some negotiation with the MIT Admissions Office, she was allowed to retake the GMAT and finally gained admission with improved math scores. Arriving in 1984, she was one of 32 women in a class of 220 students. Chase's concentration on GMAT math was only the beginning, as she was committed to mastering finance, knowing that it would serve her later on. Ironically, this perseverance later earned her the reputation on campus as being a "quant jock." More importantly, her ability to master mathematics proved to Chase that she could compete with some of the brightest minds at MIT, a belief which laid the foundation for many of her future business endeavors. After two years, Chase received her Master of Business Administration from the Sloan School of Management.
Chase has remained a strong supporter of her alma mater, as evinced by many return visits to campus for public events. In 2016, for example, Chase was seen back at MIT during Reunion Weekend, where she lent her expertise as a transportation entrepreneur for a "Dean's Fireside Chat" event. Furthermore, one year later, Chase was back on her old stomping grounds as a speaker at MIT Sloan‘s Women in Management’s Push for Parity Week, offering incredibly valuable lessons to those in attendance. During the event, Chase reminisced about her early bewilderment of the auto industry when she started Zipcar nearly two decades prior, urging audience members to follow her lead and put the work in. "I felt that when I went to meetings I really had to know my stuff." This sentiment, of course, is an understatement considering the drive that Chase has demonstrated over her entire professional career.