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Giving Birth

Posted by: Alex

Feels like LBS’s entrepreneurship community is blooming these days. So many of my friends become serious about ideas they used to hide in the drawer up until now and make them happen. A moment before I am off to an exchange programme in Sydney (which I will post about in a few months time), I would like to introduce you with Nitzan Yudan, MBA2011, who has recently celebrated two babies – a new born baby boy, and the launch of his startup called Flat-Club.com.

Did you select LBS to become entrepreneur?

No. I had no idea I’ll become entrepreneur in my second year. But during the first year, I started to think what I really want to do in life, and I realized that I want at least to try to build my own business. When I heard my second year friends telling me that the second year is less intense than the first year, I thought it could be a great opportunity to try it. On top of the time challenge, I was lucky enough to come with the idea and a great business partner from outside the LBS community.

How did the school help you develop your entrepreneurial idea?

3 things helped me develop the business – Faculty members, alumni, and my friends. I met with several faculty members for advice regarding my business, and I was lucky to get constructive feedback from top professionals. The alumni network helped me save weeks of work by answering my questions in the “Active Startup Forum”, and providing me tools and knowledge to bypass bureaucratic challenges. Finally, my friends gave me feedback on the idea and the business model – especially with the eyes of diverse cultures and professional backgrounds. I can clearly say that this idea wouldn’t have developed to a business without the support of the LBS community!

Do you think there are areas for improvement for the school in supporting entrepreneurs?

I think that the school could provide initial support for startup with both advice – especially regarding logistics of setting a business, and help with resources – shared office services, and initial investments. Asking for a structure support is probably not the most entrepreneurial thing to do, but since so many other issues are in chaos in building a startup, at least solving the logistics can really help focus on the business.

Any tips for future LBS entrepreneurs?

Make sure you take FEB – Financing Entrepreneurial Businesses course. It’s the best course I took so far, and it provided me with outstanding tools to deal with investors. Another tip is not to be scared to share your idea with others. I learnt so much from talking about the idea, and I’m sure that it became a much better business thanks to this “community brainstorming”.

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Case Study: Running a business during the MBA

Posted by: Alex
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As we quickly approach the end of our first year at London
Business School, I decided to ask a colleague student to reflect on the MBA
experience from a very unique point of view – entrepreneurship. Unlike many
other MBA students, Guy runs his own business alongside the demanding studies.
He started an online business few months before joining the MBA programme called
DocoArt,
that enables customers worldwide to upload personal photos and have them converted
to handmade oil paintings on canvas (or simply buy a stunning reproduction).

1.
LBS is known for its strength in the finance education. Is it also a place for
future entrepreneurs?

Finance education is indeed a very strong aspect of the
school, yet to be ranked number one in the world requires diversity of
strengths. The entrepreneurship resources at LBS are truly unique and provide an
amazing springboard for entrepreneurs at any stage. For me, the access to world
class faculty members, the supporting community of students, alumni network and
investors are amazing resources to benefit and get inspired from.

Moreover, the financial education is extremely important
especially for entrepreneurs that many times have great idea but fail to have
the financial understanding of their businesses. My view on my small business
has changed tremendously since I first stepped into the MBA programme.

2. Could you highlight some of the changes you did in your business as a
result of insights from your studies?

Although I established DocoArt
just before coming to London Business School, many changes have been done in by
business based on the things I’ve learned in class. For example, I managed to
improve the marketing strategy that we had using ideas I first encountered in
the Marketing Core class, such as customer segmentation, targeting and
positioning.

With new tools from the Corporate Finance classes, I can now
plan proper leverage of future projects or the company as a whole.  Every class I have taken and every student,
professor or alum I have spoken with enhanced my knowledge and business view on
my venture or any future ventures I will have.


3. MBA course is usually very intense. How do you find time to work on your venture?

Time management is one of the most important ideas I have
learnt and improved throughout the course. The MBA course is indeed intense,
and thus forces you how to plan your time with great care. You learn how to be
more structured, how to reduce ‘noise’ and how to focus on tasks with high
priority – skills that are highly important for all post-MBA jobs.


4. Is being located in London helps you to promote your business?

Absolutely! The UK market is one of the main targets of DocoArt.
London itself is an international business centre that provides you with access
to financial, marketing and operational resources, along with networking and
opportunities to enter new markets. The density of businesses from the creative
industries in London is just another evidence for all these benefits.

 

5. Are there any specific electives that you are taking or
about to take that can help entrepreneurs make better business decisions?

London Business School offers a range of electives
for entrepreneurs that shed light on all aspects of starting and running a
venture. I plan to take the Financing an Entrepreneurial Business and Managing
a Growing Business electives. I believe these will contribute the most to the current
state of
DocoArt.


6. What would be your advice for prospective students who are interested in
an MBA to become entrepreneurs?

Doing the MBA will increase significantly the chances of
your future business to become a success. You will gain well rounded business
knowledge, earn a great network of students, alumni and faculty to support you.
Finally it will open your mind to explore new ideas and opportunities which
were not available for you in the pre-MBA setting.

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Just another day in paradise

Posted by: Alex
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The term is now officially over for MBA2011 class and I have just finished my Economics home-exam. I can say with full confidence that it was a life changing period from the very first second. The challenge is to realise what's happening to you. In those four months, I feel that so much has happened. I live in a new country, met lots and lots of different/smart/driven/fun people, dream whole new different dreams (on the professional level of-course ;)), learnt new things (especially for career switchers like myself), eat different food and even wear new clothes once in a while – the locals call it a suit???!!

I was thinking of a way to pass to the readers of this blog the intensity of the programme and to reflect the eye opening experiences I've been through. So I decided to post my calendar for November 2009:

November 2009
It was a really crazy month… In case you ask what have I done in between the meetings scheduled above, I have an good answer: homework, homework, homework, exams preparations, CV rerere-write and job research. 

What's next? Milk-round. This is that happy time of the year when first year MBAs officially start applying for summer internships. Good luck everyone! :)

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