Whether or not you graduate having launched your business, you will leave the programme a better person. The class is full of people from all over the world who are at different stages of building their businesses; some at the initial idea stage, others who are ready to launch and there are even a small number who are already making money. No matter which stage of your business model you are at, this programme is well worthwhile! And this is why I think anyone who wants to be an entrepreneur should study MSc Entrepreneurship at UCL School of Management.
Leadership that listens
One thing I really admire about the MSc Entrepreneurship teaching and learning team is that they listen to students. When they ask for student feedback and they actually listen to what we say. They want to make the programme better for us and for future cohorts to come. For example, last term one of our modules used class participation as an assessment method. Students voiced their concerns as it lead people who had nothing to contribute on a topic feeling like they had to contribute something even when they had little to say, and wasting valuable lecture time. One classmate did the maths and realised “If there are 80 people in a class and each person participates per class for an average of 2 minutes, we would spend 160 minutes of a 180 minute class speaking”. After listening to our reasons for wanting to change the assessment method, grading class participation was changed to a biweekley quiz. Everyone was quite comfortable with that and it has actually turned out to be quite a lot of fun. We used an app called Kahoot. One thing I have learnt from this programme is that to become the best you need to learn how to receive feedback.
More time in the streets of London than in the library
This course is very practical, you spend most of your time talking to people instead of sitting in the library. For one of module, following out first class the lecturer asked us to take a selfie with a stranger. This was a daunting challenge but it was the first step to getting us out of our comfort zone. Then we were asked to go a step further for the finance element of the programme and reach out to founders and investors and interview them. Through this programme I have managed to interview people I never thought I would speak to for example a famous South African designer. The course is great for getting you out of your comfort zone and you will be better for it. The more you reach out to people, the more confident you become and your network will grow.
As an MSc Entrepreneurship student you have many opportunities to sign up for a number of free workshops. These may differ from year to year but they are extremely useful to help you improve your skills and prepare you for your future career as a founder. This year we had Founder’s Skills Workshops where we learnt communication skills, working in teams, stress management, time management and interacting with different personality types. The best part about this series of workshops is that it develops your self-awareness and gives you tips that are easy to implement. Other topics for workshops that are available range from negotiation, to google analytics, design, story-telling and cognitive decision making skills to name a few. My favorite was the story-telling workshop where a guy who teaches people who go on shows like Dragon’s Den or Shark Tank how to pitch. The course is not only about honing in on your intellectual skills but they also work on helping you develop your softer skills.
The teaching team is not just full of academics, and is made up entirely of faculty with experience both of academia and of the world of industry and entrepreneurship, including several active venture capitalists and investors. Several of the teaching team have created or invested in very successfully start-ups. And as an MSc Entrepreneurship student, they are there to support you and are happy to help you with your idea. They are well connected people who bring in very interesting guest speakers. Some who have gone through business school and some who just went for it. We have had guest speakers who have succeeded and some who have failed. As future founders, we have taken lessons from all of them.
Last but not least, the Treks. We had to vote as a class where we want to go. One short-haul trip and one long-haul. My class voted for Silicon Valley and Finland + Estonia. This is an opportunity to visit other start-up ecosystems and learn how they work. In the past, others have been to Berlin, Tel-Aviv, Silicon Valley and Singapore.
Where will you decide to go with your cohort?