Much like a hummingbird, I can’t stay still for too long. I am energised by doing things, a lot of things, and as my business partner fondly jokes I always have to have a lot of plates spinning in the air at the same time. A year ago we started our business, Anything International, and it has gone far better than I could have hoped for! We currently have 11 small business customers and we are looking to double this in 2017. For anyone out there wanting to start a business, there is no time like the present. If one of your new year’s resolutions is to become your own boss, start now!
Starting a business and embarking on an MBA probably don’t seem to go hand in hand but in line with having many plates spinning at once, I am enjoying the busyness of it all! The MBA is intense and has periods of late evenings and early starts. This has meant that my time management and scheduling skills have improved 10 fold as I have to juggle the MBA with meeting clients, finalising accounts and doing workshops. However, I find running my own business very rewarding and worth all the hard work.
The beauty of running a business while studying at Imperial is having the prestige of the Imperial name behind you. It had crossed my mind that I might not be taken seriously as a student entrepreneur but if anything, telling customers that I am currently studying for my MBA has been my unique selling point. Further, it has been easy to schedule meetings at the Business School and means I can host meetings in a professional setting even though we don’t have a physical office.
In our first term we have covered key core models including marketing, finance, strategy, microeconomics, decision analytics and accounting. Running an accountancy practice myself I hope I passed accounting with flying colours! I found other subjects such as marketing and strategy very useful and I have been able to apply the frameworks that I learnt in class to our business. I am working on a marketing video for Anything International in line with our final group marketing presentation, which can be viewed here. This is another key benefit of the MBA, you are surrounded by intelligent people with expert knowledge that can complement your own skills and help you in your business ventures. When we were revising for our exams I held accounting revision sessions and I have thoroughly enjoyed exchanging skills with my colleagues.
Further, studying an MBA at Imperial while running a small business means you have access to a wide range of entrepreneurial resources and an entrepreneurial network. This year Imperial opened the Enterprise Lab which is a great space where entrepreneurs and start ups can go to work on their business ideas. I have met several potential customers in this space and it is a creative open space for brainstorming ideas.
I strongly believe that doing an MBA is about having a growth mindset. Being in this environment has opened up opportunities for me that I would never have imagined such as going to study abroad in Peru later this year. It is also an opportunity to try new things, such as starting a business, and Imperial creates an environment in which entrepreneurs can excel. As ever, the effort you put into the business is what you will get out. Ironically, while I was finishing exams in December we acquired 3 new customers and we hope to continue the busyness into 2017!