The luxury being a student is you have the chance to try new life that you’ve not experienced before, this became true for me during this summer…

With the admiration of entrepreneurship, I decided to choose one of the elective courses – “entrepreneur summer school” – during this summer, even the professors, John and Jeff, had stated clearly that it is a course with two courses of workload but only one credit.

The course completed last Saturday with students presented to the judge board of experienced entrepreneurs and angel investors, followed by a celebration with wine and champagne in the evening. Without any regret of the hard work, this is among the courses that I’ve learned the most. The reason is? Practice and the true experience.

Looking beautiful

With the intention to push out of the comfort zone, I chose to do a project which is completely unfamiliar industry instead of an industry that I’ve worked with before. The good thing of that is you have fresh eyes, and see new opportunities everywhere that insiders may not see. Well… things may look beautiful when you look from  distance, but the reality is, the more you get closer and deeper, you may find out, things are not as good as we thought, the huge opportunity we saw before may not look as promising as it was.

I started my project with a very high passion and ambition, during the three weeks, I searched online marketing intelligence, industry report from the library, and talked to friends who work at those industry. the result was not as I had expected… First, it is not always easy to find data from public sources, second, even we find out the data/reports, it is not always easy to decide which is useful.  Third, even the industry data looks promising, when I put together the industry report, I found out the “unique opportunity” actually have more competitions around.  But what I did learned was always ask a question one step deeper, never stop and satisfied on the surface. 

Do it yourself

Being a corporate manager for many years, I’ve used to delegate a lot, as startups, you probably won’t have the luxury having many resources work for you. So when setting up the team plan, always keeps in mind to ask if this is a redundant resource, every resource needs to bring the value. In the process of this experiment, I’ve learned to be down to the earth, and do it yourself.  One memorable experience during the summer was the “long interview” with your research objects, who you don’t know.

Get your value proposition right

It is very important to ask the “right questions”, try to understand what your customers’ pain is, what solution your product can provide to solve this pain. And what your competitive advantage is and how long it will last… if you can’t find the answer that convince yourself, you probably can’t convince others either. Most of the startups fail is not because of execution, it is because they haven’t set their value proposition right.

It is a short experience over the last two months, it maybe just a start of building my entrepreneurship spirit. I’ve certainly learned that it takes hard work to be an entrepreneur, it takes more than hard work to be successful. The course has just finished, left me with an unforgettable experience and all the valuable friendship I built with the class, mentors and people I met along this summer.

3 Responses to “Life as an “Entrepreneur””

  1. avatar Andrew says:

    Great read thanks. I’m trying to do sometghing in my sparetime around my current Fulltime job

  2. avatar Uday Krishna says:

    Hi Angela,

    I am one of the selected participants to the LBS E-summer school. I am not an MBA/EMBA student and so its a bigger gamble for me – considering getting a job in case the angel funding doesn’t happen is slim in London for just a graduate..

    Could I shoot some questions to you about the course and related matters? Please pass me your email ID or connect at ukrizna at gmail.com. Would appreciate your support!