Cynthia Chisom Ezechukwu-960x576
Programme:
MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management
Nationality:
Nigerian
Undergraduate education:

Building Technology

MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management

About you

What work experience/internships (if any) did you have before beginning with Imperial College Business School?

I had the opportunity of founding a social enterprise focused on creating sustainable livelihood for internally displaced persons in Nigeria. We started with a shoe repair space in Nigeria. We innovated, rebranded and redefined the value for a new target audience. This allowed us to create job opportunities for internally displaced persons in Northern Nigeria.

Why did you decide to study an MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management at Imperial College Business School?

I had been running the company as a social enterprise for two years. As time went on, it was clear that I needed a knowledge upgrade, but I didn’t want just any masters. I wanted a master’s programme that was ingenious, practical and relevant to the entrepreneurial trends in the world. I had to go through the curriculum of 12 London based universities that offered a masters in entrepreneurship, but Imperial College Business School stood out to me. The curriculum clearly highlighted that you would get a blend of both the theoretical and practical views of entrepreneurship.

Programme

What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy the most?

I love the energy in the classroom. The width of perspectives being expressed in the questions asked, the presentations made, and the conversations sparked. I had the opportunity to see the world of entrepreneurship through over 80 students’ lenses.

Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

I really enjoyed the Entrepreneurship module. I loved how we had to challenge ourselves to set up a team, build a product from scratch, test the product, leverage on marketing techniques from the marketing module, speak with intending customers, the list goes on. It reminded me of what starting a company from scratch felt like, I for one truly needed that reminder, because it is easy to get lost in day to day operations as a founder and forget how fun running a start-up can be.

What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?

The most rewarding part for me is the richness of the content taught in class and the diversity of the cohort. Every lecturer and student brings in a new perspective to the table. In less than seven months, I have had the opportunity to work with about 20 people from different backgrounds, cultures, beliefs and mindsets. Working on different projects at different times for different purposes. Every team had their own dynamics. Each team’s dynamic pulls out a different person/personality/character from you. I discovered new things about myself in this environment.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme? 

The most challenging part of the programme will be balancing my start-up, leadership responsibilities, my part-time job and team activities. I truly had a lot on my plate on a daily basis trying to ensure that no part suffers. It gave me a sneak peek into what my future would look like and basically test my readiness for that life.

People

How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

Wow!! I would say amazing, vibrant, diverse, very involved, high-spirited, energetic group of students. To be honest, no adjective can do justice.

Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?

Jeremy Fernando. Given my background in the engineering and start-up space. I usually leave the accounting stuff to the accounting experts. I never thought that I as a founder, would find accounting very interesting. It’s all thanks to Jeremy who took his time to break down each concept in its simplest form. He would go over a topic when he notices the puzzled faces of the students. He even offered extra hours to those who needed further help. He is certainly my favourite lecturer. He was our DJ for our COVID-19 MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management virtual party.

Opportunities

What has been the greatest opportunity you have had at Imperial?

Getting elected as the Academic Leader/Vice Chair of the MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management cohort 2020. Being the Academic Leader allowed me to glean into the needs of the students and share their thoughts with the programme team. It allowed me to constantly develop strategies with the SSC team and the MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management programme team, strategies we believe will not only help our current cohort but also the next set of individuals who would be part of this programme. Finally, it showed me how to best lead in times of crisis, given the COVID-19 situation that shook nations and educational institutions.

Which workshops, events or guest lectures at the school have been useful in developing your skills and knowledge?

I found the Entrepreneurship module workshops very enlightening. We had the opportunity of interacting with individuals who are currently in the start-up space. At one time, we had one of the founding team members of VMware, Andy Hunt, come over to share his thoughts how VMware grew from start-up to such a successful global company.

What clubs, societies or other activities have you been involved in at Imperial? Do you hold a student leadership position (including club leader, SSC, Dean’s Student Advisory Council and Student Ambassador)?

I was elected as the Academic Leader/Vice Chair of the MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management cohort 2020. I was very much involved in the monthly Enterprise Lab’s pitch and mix. I also attended events organised by the Social Impact & Responsible Business Club and the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Club.

Have you had opportunities to work/socialise with students across programmes within the Business School?

As the Academic Leader/Vice Chair, I had the opportunity to meet other SSC cohort team members at Imperial College Business School.

Did you get involved in any initiatives hosted by the Imperial Enterprise Lab?

I was very much involved in the monthly Enterprise Lab’s pitch and mix and idea surgery.

How have you found the unprecedented switch to online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

The switch was a huge deal at the beginning as everyone had to make changes, and make those changes fast. Thankfully the MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management programme team was well prepared for the exam period as we had already started testing the new online examination platform prior to COVID-19.

Career

What are your future career goals and how have they been realised since being at Imperial?

My goal is to scale up my start-up to meet the livelihood needs of internally displaced persons not just in Nigeria but globally. I also want to help other start-ups in Africa make accurate business growth decisions. Imperial College Business School has absolutely given me the tools and opportunities to do so.

Location

Do you think studying in a central location such as London is beneficial for networking and career opportunities? Please share any positive experiences you have had.

This was one of the decisions I had to be certain about before applying to Imperial College Business School. I wanted a location that was calm yet diverse with culture. A location that was stable at the same time open to changes. Most importantly a location that is budding with start-ups, innovators and creators. London has been able to capture all this. There is always one networking event, talk show or conference waiting for inquisitive attendants like me. I have undeniably enjoyed my stay here in London.

Where do you live in London and why did you choose to live there?

I live at North Greenwich, South East London. I stay with extended family. It was the best option for me given that London can be very expensive. I have been able to reduce cost on all levels.

When you’re not studying, what do you enjoy doing?

I enjoy playing the piano. I was so glad when I found the Blyth piano rooms, lots of pianos to go around. Discovering it was one of the best feelings in the world. I also enjoy visiting the gym. The Ethos gym is very close to the Business School and the price you pay as a student is extremely affordable compared to going to other regular gyms and you get the same experience if not more.

If you had to move to London for the programme, what have been the benefits and challenges of moving to London? What advice would you give to someone in a similar position?

I would advise that you do intense research not just by checking blogs and articles but also by talking to people who reside in London. Thankfully, there are platforms like Unibuddy that give you the opportunity to talk to students who reside here, and can give you a better understanding of what you are getting into. Most importantly don’t panic; everything will be fine, eventually.

Tips

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about applying for the programme?

All that glitters here is gold. You would love your time here on the programme and in the Business School. There are opportunities, platforms and people ready to be tapped into. Clearly define your purpose for choosing this programme and those opportunities will definitely find you. I wish you all the best of luck.

Programme:
MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management
Nationality:
Nigerian
Undergraduate education:

Building Technology