Shake-it off, embrace change and create your own opportunities
18 months ago I left my job at a ‘Big Four’ consulting firm in New York to pursue a business idea in London. After several exhausting months of business planning and product development, unfortunately, my product did not pass the required UK cosmetic regulations. In that moment, I felt the door of opportunity shut in my face and I regretted ever listening to my entrepreneurial hunch.
Luckily, London has a vibrant startup ecosystem with many job opportunities and I was able to land a job at a startup as a Business Development Manager. My heart was set on starting a business, but this job would have to do until the next opportunity rolled around.
Suddenly, only three months into my new job, COVID-19 happens and the entire world slips into lockdown almost overnight. The abrupt change to virtual working and socialising was bizarre and took me several weeks to adjust to. During the initial period of the lockdown, I found myself having negative thoughts that the opportunities to restart my business were long gone.
The decision to study MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management
To stave off these thoughts, I frequently went for park runs and started listening to podcasts showcasing inspirational startups blossoming amidst the health crisis. The resilience and humbleness of these founders inspired me to revisit my business idea. However, this time around I decided to first gain the entrepreneurial skills that would give me a new edge to approach my business.
Immediately, I started researching Master’s programmes and narrowed it down to the MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management programme at Imperial College Business School. Nonetheless, I couldn’t help wonder ‘will my Master’s experience and learning be impacted by the pandemic?’ To make an informed decision, I developed a pros and cons list of studying now during the pandemic, or later after the pandemic had passed.
Benefits of studying in 2020
Studying now brought pros like extra downtime to focus 100% on school, flexibility through virtual and in-person learning and entrepreneurial skills from a world-renowned Master’s programme. The negatives would be the limited in-person interactions and university experience. On the flip side, deferring my studies relying on the uncertainty of the pandemic ending was too risky. After careful consideration, I decided to not waste time and seize the opportunity in front of me at that moment.
Opportunities beyond the Business School
Reflecting back on the last three months of my Autumn semester, I can honestly say accepting the offer at Imperial College has been my best decision of 2020 thus far. Not only is my Master’s journey teaching me the entrepreneurial and business skills necessary to launch a business, but also giving me the confidence, network, and resources to do so.
I have expanded my horizons beyond Imperial College Business School through other campus activities like language courses, hackathon competitions and virtual happy hours with classmates.
My initial concerns about having a limited Master’s experience have gone. Undeniably the world has changed but it is up to you to shake-it off, embrace change and create the opportunities you want for yourself, regardless of the environment that surrounds you.