This January, MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management graduate, Clara Best, successfully launched Saved, a sustainable puff snack made of insect protein. According to Clara, crickets are 2,850x more Co2 efficient than beef and one pack of Saved puffs has the equivalent protein of one egg. In Clara’s own words, follow her journey from Imperial College Business School student to climate-conscious entrepreneur.
Studying MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management
The most powerful aspect of studying MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management at Imperial College Business School was the diversity in the cohort. Not only from a nationality point of view, but also the previous experiences everyone brought to the table. The Master's itself was a good introduction to every single component of a business. For instance, the fact that we explored topics such as design thinking and venture capital, allowed me to feel confident when developing my own my startup. Another aspect I found drastically different from my Bachelor's was that a lot of my classmates signed up for this Master's with the dream of having their own business one day, which created a certain energy within the cohort. It was great! Quite a few of us have since launched our own ventures.
Acting as Head of FMCG for the FMCG, Luxury and Retail Club
Being part of a club during university is a great way to connect with other people you wouldn't have access to if that wasn't through a shared passion. After an internship I did in private equity, I knew that Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) was the industry I wanted to work in. The reason why I wanted to join the committee of the FMCG, Luxury and Retail Club was to get more people to learn about this industry and hopefully inspire others to join the same path. As the Head of FMCG, I had to organise events and give members the opportunity to network and meet inspiring people. It was great because I had the chance to connect with promising people in the industry and learn from their experiences.
Winning the PepsiCo ‘Dare to Do More Challenge’
I joined PepsiCo by winning the Global 'Dare to Do More Challenge'. The challenge allows students to come up with an idea, the products of tomorrow, pitch it to a PepsiCo jury and hopefully win a spot at the company. I won the European challenge which gave me the chance, among 7 other global winners, to fly to New York and present my idea to PepsiCo's CEO, Ramon Laguarta, and his leadership team. I then started the three year long graduate programme in the insight function.
My idea was called Pepsi Drops, an effervescent version of soda to fight single-use bottles. Basically, a Berocca but soda. 7up, Pepsi, Gatorade, whatever you want, with gas or not, into a tube that you can transport anywhere. In the Western world, most people have access to water and a bottle so you can just drop the Pepsi Drops in your bottle and have a soda on the go.
Working for PepsiCo
1st year: UK Shopper Insights
I worked as part of an umbrella team named DX (Demand Accelerator) within the sales team and collaborated closely with the perfect store, category management and shopper marketing teams. Through this role, we analysed shoppers' perceptions and buying behaviours to optimise sales in all of PepsiCo's UK channels and categories including snacks, juice and grains.
2nd year: Western Europe Consumer Insights - Lay's
In opposition to shopper insights, within the consumer insights team, we focused on being the voice of the consumer rather than the shopper. The difference is that a consumer is everyone who consumes a product, but a consumer only becomes a shopper at points of sale. During my time in the Western Europe Lay's team, I worked together with Lay's marketing team to ensure Lay's brand growth strategy is in line with market needs, campaigns are consumer-centric, and Lay's performance was well understood by all teams. This role was very cross-functional through the collaboration with research and development (R&D), finance & commercialisation.
I started Saved when I was still at PepsiCo and wanted to be able to have my own impact on the planet. This is why I began eating more plant-based foods to fight climate change. I started to buy meat alternatives that are convenient but too processed, moved to tofu but had no idea how to make it taste good, then finally switched to eating more legumes but felt constantly bloated. At the same time, I found out about insect protein and how digestible and sustainable it is. This is how I started integrating cricket protein into foods I loved. I felt energised, not bloated, and finally found the sustainable alternative protein that suited me. So, it didn't take me long to decide to quit PepsiCo to launch Saved to help other people to make small changes too. The experience so far has been very enlightening; there is not a day during which I'm not learning something. Being able to grow as a person as well as create a company from scratch is really gratifying. Being a solo founder can be challenging, and having now hired my first employees, it's been great to see other people aspire to share the same vision.
How the Business School supported my journey to where I am today
Firstly, I have to say a massive thank you to the Careers team. I maximised my use of their support and resources to help me secure my first job. Without them, the road to my first job would have been much harder. My advice to current or prospective students would be to ask for help on your CV, cover letters, interview preparations (including assessment centres) and case study practice.
Secondly, I was fortunate to be selected as a finalist on the WE Innovate programme 2022 with Saved. The Enterprise Lab at Imperial College London has been a great help along the journey through mentorship, their alumni network and more support through various programmes.
Start your own entrepreneurial journey at Imperial
Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur or have intrapreneurial ambitions, MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management will prepare you for an exciting career as an innovator. This intensive one-year full-time programme will build your toolkit in the three key areas of innovation, entrepreneurship and management, teaching you how to manage successful outcomes to create, deliver and capture value from innovation. Start your journey with Imperial today.