Sam Hou, MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management 2020-21, student at Imperial College Business School

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It’s around 10.00, and I’m just wrapping up an economics lecture at McGill University. Out of nowhere, I get an email titled – Imperial College Business School: Congratulations! At this moment, I stop everything I’m doing and celebrate the fact that I have been admitted into my top programme of choice. But for someone who had zero ties to the UK, why travel halfway across the world to pursue a Master’s in Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management? Three reasons explain the big move.

London’s startup ecosystem

Firstly, I was ecstatic about being able to dive headfirst into the vibrant start-up ecosystem here. While places like Silicon Valley & New York dominate conversations revolving around booming start-up hubs, London is, in my opinion, still underrated compared to those cities. Its connectivity to other global cities, fuelled by the number of accelerators & incubators, R&D anchors, and grants available, is second to none.

Given my intention to pursue a global career, opting to make the move was a relatively straightforward decision. Also, the UK is one of the few countries to grant start-up visas. For anyone concerned about being able to remain in London post-programme, I’d highly recommend looking into the start-up visa as it enables students to stay for up to two years while building their dream company.

The one year Master’s programme

My second reason is timing. Most master’s degrees in North America are two years long, whereas most Master of Science (MSc) degrees in the UK, including MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management at Imperial, are only one year.

Instead of joining the workforce straight away, I wanted to slightly prolong my academic studies to cultivate further my interest in areas like venture capital and the digital economy while acquiring the necessary skills to thrive in entrepreneurial environments. Realising that I could achieve these aspirations in just one year, a two-year programme just didn’t align.

Living abroad

Lastly, I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to live abroad. During my junior year at McGill, I decided to pack up my bags and head for Sydney, Australia, where I completed a semester abroad. Stating that it was a surreal experience is an understatement; anyone who knows me knows that I talk way too much about my time abroad as it was easily one of the best few months of my life.

In general, for anyone on the fence about studying, working, or simply travelling to a new country, I’d highly encourage you to do it. And despite not being able to fully exploit what London has to offer given the pandemic, everything I’ve learned, the people I’ve met, and the opportunities that came to light have made my time here truly worthwhile.

Why MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management?

I spent a large portion of my ‘early’ career navigating the corporate world. Whether it was completing internships in asset management or pursuing consulting projects, I thought for certain that my ‘success’ would be attributed to my ability to climb the corporate ladder.

But after experiencing what it was like to embark on my own entrepreneurial journey along with working at a venture-backed startup, my career trajectory completely shifted. Rather than performing repetitive tasks, I wanted to develop an entrepreneurial spirit that I could broadcast to the diverse communities and organisations that I would ultimately be a part of.

Having this mindset is what led me to choose MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management, and after reflecting on the past eight months, I can confidently say that the versatility of this programme is on a different level. Whether you’re looking to start a new venture or disrupt static industries, the programme will get you to where you want to go.

My experience so far

Having Imperial College Business School tied to your name will give you an advantage during job applications. Yes, you will have access to cutting-edge entrepreneurial resources. Yes, the lecturers are top-notch. While all these elements are a part of the Imperial experience, I’d argue that the biggest ‘win’ is the people you get to meet.

In the MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management cohort alone, I can name people heading to McKinsey, raising money for their respective startups, and turning their side hustles into full-time businesses. Just being constantly surrounded by ambitious, forward-looking, and passionate individuals day in and day out is a true blessing.

Sam Hou, MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management 2020-21, student at Imperial College Business School

About Sam Hou

MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management