Thursday, 20 December 2012

Last week of Semester 1

Hello people, it's less than a week till Xmas and I can't believe the first semester has finished. Its gone way too quick.

This post is about the highlights of the last week of semester. I can say it was a busy and a lazy week. Busy because everyone was working hard on their group Strategy presentation and the business pitch for the E-challenge for some (will talk about that later). Lazy because majority didn't bother do any pre-reading for some classes or even turn up- only half of the class turned up on the last couple of days.

We were suppose to read a case study on Multimap in advance for the Finance class but I didn't read it. So I had no idea what was going on in the first hour. We had quite a lot of speakers this week for finance. Paulina Sygulska from GrantTree- talking about SEIS and other public schemes for funding your startup with public support-,Sean Phelan founder of Multimap and an angel investor and last but  not least Christian Jakenfields founder of Student Upstarts. Christian is only 21 and is already an investor, I also could  not believe that he is 21. He looks a lot older, I mean he looks more mature than his age. lol While all these were  going on I was falling asleep, my head was doing that fishing motion. I was so tired from staying up working on the Strategy presentation.

Oh! You know all those in-class Finance group assignments that we get every week. Well, Itaxso sent us an email saying that all those work counts towards our final mark. OMG!! You're telling us now! No disrespect but why didn't you tell us in the beginning, we would have put more effort into it. Luckily she is giving all of us a chance to improve them. And on top of that we have a group assignment to be completed over the holiday. Great! Not! But it's not hard I guess because it's basically repeating all those group assignment but for a different company. Itaxso has given a choice of 5 but we haven't decided which one yet. We want to enjoy Christmas so after that we will get back into that zone- hardworking zone. Lol

Tuesday was a hectic day; had a 30 minute group presentation in Strategy class and pitching Share N Wear to E-challenge judges. May not sound a lot but mentally it was exhausting.

There were 5 of us in a group for the Strategy presentation  and we chose renewable energy industry as our topic. We had to include the following content; overview of the industry, 4 pre-profit start-ups in that industry, our idea for a start-up that we think could succeed and conclusion. For each startup including our idea one we had to discuss about the strategy they used and had to reference the book by Mintzberg. I presented the overview of the industry and start-up idea, the others each presented a pre-profit company.

We had some problem with preparing the presentation on the day we were suppose to present and we were all stressed out about it. Well, a group member texted us in the morning (I repeat, the day we were presenting) saying he has not completed his part of the presentation, he is stuck and needs help.....@*!XX!*^$fhj CDTH F$%&$&^o&*(!"£$%  (I was angry lol)
We were suppose to meet at 1pm to put everything together and rehearse. We told him to just come in and we will help him finish it. He came about 2pm. 

Fortunately our presentation time was at 4:30pm. Unfortunately we didn't have time rehearsing as a group and just about had the time to rehearse our own parts because we helped him finish his part. Having saying that can't blame everything on him because we haven't finished the start-up idea and conclusion before hand but of course we managed to finish everything. 

The presentation went alright in the end. A group member went over time by 2 minutes with his part which meant others had very little time for their part and almost no time for conclusion. However it wasn't a bad thing in fact it saved us lol. Because I wasn't sure what to say for the strategy that our startup idea would be using. When Patrycja was half way through presenting her part (the last/4th pre-profit company), Chris, the lecturer, put his hand up and said we have 5 minutes left. It was getting very intense. I was thinking we weren't going to have time to present our startup idea and conclusion. So as soon as Patrycja finished her part, I just raced through my words talking about our startup idea and used one sentence to describe the strategy. Lol It took me about 30 seconds altogether. Then Patrycja quickly said the conclusion. I think she freestyled that as we didn't really prepare it before hand lol. Anyways we just made it on time. 

After the presentation I had to rush to UCL advances for the E-Challenge which was at another building, our pitching time was at 5:30pm. I didn't really rehearse as I was focusing on the Strategy presentation more. Not that it wasn't important but Strategy work counts towards our mark and e-challenge doesn't. (The next post I will tell you about Share N Wear, promnise!) The pitching sessions were running late so Nele, Roxy and I used this opportunity to rehearse. The pitching went well and finally some judges could understand the pain point that we were pointing out; that girls take too long to get ready/ dressed.

The E-challenge results were announced on the same night. We waited in the Engineering building for about an hour, and finally Tim Barnes (the judge/director of UCL Advances) came. He said normally they would pick 4 winners;1 runner up and 1 winner for 2 undergraduates team and 2 postgraduates team. But they have increased it to 6 as the business ideas this year were very good. I thought 'ooh we might have a chance then.' Unfortunately, we didn't win but like Tim Barnes said, 'just because you didn't win doesn't mean its a bad idea.' Chris Rayner, fashion starutp advisor at UCL Advances, told Roxy that he likes our idea and told us to see him after the New Year so he can advise us on this business idea.

To be honest I didn't think we were going to win anyway because our idea isn't very innovative in terms of technology. The runners ups' and winners' ideas were all based on building new technologies and software and I think that's what UCL Advances like. 

It was a long day, I was knackered when I got home. Anyways, thanks for reading and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

2 busy weeks at uni

Hi everyone, thanks for taking the time to read my post. A couple of my classmates read my first post and said to me that they they like my idea of this blog ^^ thank you!

I was going to write one post for week 10 but was too busy so decided to wait for this week to finish. I have been quite busy in the past two weeks. Yes I know I say that every week lol but I have been working extra hard as deadlines are coming up. 

We have a 30 minute presentation for Strategy on 11th December and then followed by a 5000+ word report on the presentation due on 17th. But one of the group member is going back on 15th so we are trying to finish before 15th. Then it's the business plan for E-challenge's second phase which we have submitted on Friday- we have to pitch our idea on Tuesday 11th. I'm so excited!!  As for Creativity, we had to do the paper clip task during week 10. We then need to write a 2500 word report on it which is due on 21st Dec but a group member is leaving on the 14th so need to complete it before. One word. Madness.

Monday 26th. 


At Finance we learnt about the Due Diligence process. I really need to revise Itxaso's lecture notes because I always tend to drift off and I've forgotten what she spoke about. I only remember the 3 Ts; Technology, Traction and Team. Second hour of the lecture, we were given a task to do in our groups, we have to write a Due Diligence that we will need to carry out for a company. She gave us a choice of 5 companies. We chose Mint, an online service where users can manage personal finance.(See the image above) We were so indecisive, first we chose Mint, then we changed it to Square, then back to Mint again. lol. 

The last hour of lecture, was the guest speaker part. Rytis Vitkauskas the Founder of Yplan App came to tell us about his new app. Before becoming an entrepreneur he was a venture capitalist. This app is like It presents all the events(gig, theatre, etc) that is happening that night. For example, majority of the time, 30% of the seats at a musical are empty, so Yplan will show these on the app. A pretty cool app. I couldn't download it though because it requires iOS5 and I still have updated my phone since 2011. I can't be bothered lol. My phone contract ends in January anyway so new phone for me! *BIG SMILEY FACE*. After the lecture I had a 2 hour meeting with my strategy group regarding the presentation. It was a productive meeting, no chit chat just discussion about work.  

Tuesday 27th

A couple of days ago, a classmate posted on the TE Facebook group telling us all that he has confirmed with Chris (our Strategy lecturer) that there are no pre-reading for Strategy this week. I commented on it saying 'wicked!' and guess who liked my comment? Chris. Lol! 

I didn't go to E-challenge this week because it was just about how to write a business plan and we've learnt that already. So Roxy, Nele and I just had a brief meeting regarding the name of our business and the fashion event. 

Wednesday 28th 

I went to Fashion Startup and P&G Leadership workshop. Click here to read.

Thursday 29th. 

Got my assignment back from New Technology Ventures and first time in history I got 86! I seriously was shocked! YAY!! Thank you God. 

Source: The London Academy Dance School

Guest lecture this week was the best so far. Greg Gillespie (that's him in the picture above) is a ballroom dancer (recently won a prestigious national award) and an entrepreneur- I like dancing which is probably why I enjoyed this one. He is the founder and principal of The London Academy of Dance based at the Reebok Sports Club in Canary Wharf.  
The most memorable part is when he said that you should look at your competitors to know your unique selling point. And differentiate yourself according to quality, price ad speed. Cheap is not always good. The academy was founded in 2007 and it is now already one of UK's leading professional dance institutions. The main reason his dance school is so successful because he is using the Blue Ocean Strategy. (I learnt this from Strategy class! I have learnt something lol) He is targeting the casual dancers and people who does it for fun rather than competing with other dance institutions who targets professional dancers. 

Friday 30th 

Met up with Creativity group before the lecture to prepare and rehearse a 3 minute presentation. A girl in my group had already created the presentation using Prezi, it was amazing. I volunteered to present it as I like presenting. During this week, we had to do the paper clip task. Did I say what it was? I'll explain it again. All groups were given 5 paper clips and we had to create as much value as possible from those. Our idea was based on the pay forward principle, do something nice for someone and give them that paper clip. That person with the paper clip will now need to pass it on by doing something nice to another person and it carries on. The image above is the banner of our blog. 
Before we came up with this idea. I had a "creative" idea. I said attached the paperclip to your earlobe and will have good hearing like a dog. LOL! I got this idea from a video I found on youtube. These guys also had to create value from paperclips and their idea was a 'get-chick paper clip'. It's designed for men as you can tell by the name. If the paper clip is attached to a girl's top, within seconds the girl will move to the guy who attached it. Because of this video I thought why not go wild with my idea lol. But when I told everyone, they just went silent. I was embarrassed.

Monday 3rd

Finance: 2 guest speakers from Total Access and another 1 from Cisco. The speakers from Total Access were terrible, their presentation skills were terrible. 

Tuesday 4th

In the Strategy class Chris discussed about our "favourite" book Strategy Safari by Mintzberg. That is the most boring book ever! It reminds me of the criminology books I used to read for my bachelors. 

Wednesday 5th- Day off
Day off but worked my ass off on the business plan as deadline was Friday 7th.

Thursday 6th

I had 2 meetings in the morning. First Nele and I met with Dave (our lecturer) to discuss our business plan. He gave us lots of useful advice. One thing I learnt that financial projections in business plans are nonsense but they have to be realistic. After an hour meeting with him, I met with my strategy group. The aim of the meeting didn't go according to plan but we still managed to do some work and gave ourselves a MUST DO task over the weekend as the presentation is less than a week. 
Guest lecture this week was John Bradford. He is the CEO and Founder of Springboard. "He starts start-up accelerators and loves to help start-ups and their founders achieve their true potential.  Over the last 2 years, Jon has helped to start 12 multi-company accelerators from Montreal to Moscow. "-

Before it started Dave came up to me and told me to pitch to John about Share N Wear after the lecture. Lol put me on the spot. He told John to make sure I pitch to him or I am not allowed to leave lol.  So while I was sitting at the lecture I wrote out the keys points of the pitch. 

So how did it go? John said he don't understand the pain point. Its not a bad idea but we just pitched to the wrong person as he doesn't have any fashion sense. His wife sorts his clothes out for him. lol 

Sorry guys I know I promised to write a post about the fashion business idea I'm working with my girls. Will defo do it very very soon. 

Friday 7th

We didn't have proper lecture at Creativity. We had a guest lecturer who has a branding consultancy firm, called Message Multimedia. Mike Villiers, he taught us how to form external relationship using creativity. He gave us lots of examples of re-branding that he has done for various companies across the world. 

Got my finance coursework back-79!! Not bad since I thought I did bad. There were 2 parts in this coursework. I got 59/60 in section A and 20/40 in section B. So yes I didn't do too good on B lol 

Business plan submitted!! Pitch on Tuesday. Stayed tuned! 

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Startup Fashion and Proctor & Gamble leadership workshop

Hi everyone. First I would like to thank those who read my first post, although I only got 25 views within 12 hours but I didn't think I would get that much since its a new blog. Its a lot to me lol. And also, I got a comment from a class mate. ^.^ Thank youuu.
Anyways, today's will be about 2 events I attended on Wednesday. I went to Startup Fashion in London Bridge and then in the evening I went to a leadership workshop organised by P&G held at my university.

source: Startup Britian

If you follow me on Twitter, you've probably seen my tweets that I tweeted during the fashion event. ( please follow me ^.^ @missyungquainth).  In my previous post I mentioned that I'm working on a fashion business idea with 2 girls from my class, Nele and Roxy. Nele and I went to this event because we thought it was going to be useful for our business but no it was pointless. Glad it was free though. The event started at 10 am and finished at 5pm but we left early as it wasn't useful. So I'm just going to briefly talk about it.

Most of the things they spoke about we already knew, i.e. how to write a business plan, our course has taught us how to write one. Most of the speakers basically said the same things, like you must be passionate and be clear of your vision, etc. Nele and I thought it was like an exhibition where lots of retailers, new fashion designers and brands would be exhibiting and obviously thought it would be an opportunity to get contacts and find possible customers. It was just a lot of listening to the speakers.

Source: The Cambridge Raincoat Company
The best part of the event was when 3 fashion designers pitched their idea to major retailers, such as; Kim Humphries from John Lewis, Kevin Rogers from House of Fraser and Lucy Dunn from Zalando. To me the best idea was from The Cambridge Raincoat company established by Sally Guyer (their website here). They produce stylish raincoat for cyclists which would 'look good on and off the bike'. (see left)

The host of the event was Richard Hurtley, the Founder of Rampant Sporting. He started the event by introducing himself, his business and experience. Other speakers were, Alison Lewy, Founder of Fashion Angel, Joseph Wan, CEO of Harvey Nichols, Mark Hammersely, CEO of Zoggs, Richard Alvin from Angel Investor, Johnny Martin from Intuit, and many more.

I decided to go to this workshop pretty much the last minute. My lecturer Dave sent us an email about this workshop which is a fast track to their graduate schemes. In the e-mail it says that if we impressed P&G at this workshop, we will be given a "golden ticket". Well I can tell you now that they didn't give any anything apart from a feedback form. The email also mentioned that a current P&G graduate who will act as 'mentor' and will offer advice and guidance through the application and assessment process.There weren't any P&G graduate either. The 3 P&G staff did explain the process but not advice. The only fast track they mentioned was applying for the 48 hour commercial challenge, if you do well in this you will be guaranteed a place. We still had to apply for that so the workshop didn't offer any 'golden ticket'.

Anyways, I'll still tell you briefly what happened at the workshop. We were split into 3 groups and were all given the same task. The oral care brand Oral-B have dental floss, mouth wash, tooth whitening and electric toothbrush but just not toothpaste. They have now developed their own toothpaste and was introduced to the market recently- this was a real life launch. Our task was to prepare a 5 minutes presentation in 30 minutes for the UK & Ireland GM on how we will launch Oral B toothpaste. We had to create a 3 month sales and marketing launch plan which delivers the greatest sales at the best return on investment  and a financial analysis.

A few people from my class went and so we formed as a group- the TE group! (TE stands for Technology Entrepreneurship btw). Our main marketing strategy was distributing samples across all 3 months; getting dentist to distribute them to their patients, attaching samples in magazines and handing them out at the stations. We used others forms of communication channels like TV advert, print advert, PR activity, in store promotion, and internet.

After all 3 groups have presented, P&G didn't announce who did the best etc, they just told us their actual sales and marketing plan. They said we all touched on the essential points, sampling was one of them.  Yay!

It wasn't hard at all, it felt like doing the usual group tasks we are given in class. Still I guess it was a productive day. Went dinner with the girls and some drinks after. I deserved it!