Thursday, 29 November 2012

An introduction & the journey begins

Hi everyone!
I'm Cilia and I am a student at University College London (UCL) studying MSc Technology Entrepreneurship. If you know me, you probably know that I have another blog ( where I talk mostly about beauty and fashion but I do also blog about food, events, etc basically things I find interesting. I've had that blog for almost three years so please do check it out and maybe follow me if you like!

In this blog, I'll only be blogging about things I've learnt UCL and things I've done that is related to my course and entrepreneurship, such as events I attended- networking, startup, guest speakers, etc-, progress of the business idea I'm working with my team and many more. (For more info about my blog and myself click here) I should of started this blog earlier really because the first semester of university is almost over, but late is better than never. Right?

I'll TRY to give a summary of the highlights in the 9 weeks (1st week was induction, 8 weeks of teaching) of university.

Week 1- Induction week
A very productive week. Met most of our lecturers; Dave Chapman, Chris Coleridge and Itxaso Del Palacio. Itxaso is pronounced as 'ee-cha-so'.

Source: Marshmallow Challenge.
On the first day, we were all assigned to groups and did some group activities to get to know each other- the groups were put together based on diversity, my group consisted of Indian, Polish, Chinese and Swedish/Chinese/British (that's me lol!) First group activity was to rank the severeness of some crimes that were given to us and later we did the marshmallow challenge (a team building activity). Our team won the challenge, we built a tower that was 20" high!

On the second day, we had a writing task for Dave to see our writing skills. Dave said that engineers are usually the worst writers, they cannot write to save their lives. We had a class discussion on a case study and a simulation session where we had to come up with a strategy for a game company to be making huge profits and own a big share of the market.

Third day was about networking, didn't do much just a lot of listening to the speakers.

Fourth day, we went on boat trip on the River Thames to Greenwich. We were given a task to do as a group, we had to use the video camera that was provided to us and make a video of a potential business idea in East London. Our group's idea was to bring back the Olympic equestrian site and make horse riding affordable for everyone. At 6:30pm, we were to told meet everyone at the Google Campus.

On the last day, we watched all the videos together- see below for our video. Followed by some alumni presentation on their business ideas.

Week 2- 1st week of teaching
Modules studying: Entrepreneur Finance, Strategy for high tech ventures, New Technology Ventures and Creativity and Innovation in organisation.

Studied about basic accounting- although its basic but for someone that has never done it before, me for example, it is advanced! An introduction to what is strategy  and discussed case studies on IBM & E-ink. New Tech Ventures began with entrepreneurship life cycle.I forgot what we did in Creativity class, lol!

Every Thursday evening, UCL has a guest lecturer who is an entrepreneur and talks about their experience. This week Rob Fitzpatrick spoke about his startups and experience, a very cool guy.

Week 3- My birthday week!
Source: E-challenge logo
Joined London Entrepreneurs Challenge (E-challenge)- "...a workshop programme and business plan competition open to all members of UCL, SOAS, the London Business School, the Royal Veterinary College, Birkbeck and the School of Pharmacy that aims to show participants the process of starting a business by helping them to do it themselves."(UCL Advances) It's on every Tuesday. I haven't teamed up with anyone yet at this time, was still contemplating whether I should do it or not.

Don't really remember what happened this week but I know there were class discussion on a couple of case studies- SMaL and USX. Didn't go to the guest lecture either. =p

Week 4. 
Teamed up with a girl in my class, Roxy, for the E-challenge. She has a business idea related to fashion and since I love fashion I thought this is the perfect opportunity for me. Didn't go to the guest lecture again =p

Week 5.
A girl called Nele in my class teamed up with me and Roxy for the E-challenge. Every team had to submit Idea Assessment form in order to enter Phase one. And nope, I didn't go to the guest lecture A-gain.

Week 6
E-challenge: We pitched our idea! We only prepared it a couple of hours before which was a mistake. We didn't win but it was good practice. The winner received £3000 ( I think it was £3000 sorry I have such a bad memory), and he did deserve it. His idea was creating a software that will read out the content of a webpage, different tone of voices for different sections. For example one voice for the title, another voice for the main body, and another for the sub heading etc. He even built a prototype so that must have impressed the judges.

I attended the guest lecture this week and the speaker was Jack Jackmann, the CEO of DRFP Holdings Limited.

Submitted first written assignment for Strategy. For Creativity class, we were assigned into groups for an Everest Simulation.

Week 7- Reading week
Worked on the Finance assignment. It wasn't easy. I thought I was able to complete it in two days but no ended up spending the whole week on it.

Week 8
Finance class is different now; accounting stuff are done and we have Itxaso teaching us about real finance and investment. The structure of Finance class is different too; one hour of teaching, followed by 1 hour of group activity and the last hour would be a guest speaker talking about their business. Each week Itxaso would pick a group to be the class reporter and another to be the CEO. This week the lecture was about Sources of Capital and following the lecture Itxaso invited a guest speaker, Michael Willmot. He is the CEO & Founder of Knodium- an online platform that allows student to study together and form groups called 'HUBS'.

Guest lecture on Thursday evening: Immaculada Martinez, Partner of Opus Corporate Finance LLP. The lecture was very inspirational. For more info on Immaculada Martinez, click here.

Week 9
The Finance class was about pitching to investors. This is one of the most interesting lectures I've had, not that the others are boring. During the 2nd hour, we had to prepare 5 presentation slides for a business idea and pitch to Itxaso and two other ladies which I have forgotten their names.Lol

Creativity class this week was just group work. We were assigned into groups and each group were given 5 paperclips. Our task was to create as much value as possible using those 5 paperclips. The instructions were quite vague as we were expected to use our creativity. Our idea was about helping people. Each person will hold on to a paper clip, the clip is a "symbolic representation to those who hold it to perform one random act of kindness and then encouraging the person/ group that we have helped to do their own good deed, passing on the paper clip in the process." (  We create a blog for it)

That's it for now. My next post won't be as long as this. I will try to blog at least once a week.