May 19, 2020, by Ingenuity Lab
MSc Stories – Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Management
HGI is at the forefront of creating a culture of entrepreneurialism and innovation at the University of Nottingham, and our MSc in Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Management is the perfect step up from undergraduate study of any kind. The course considers how to solve problems by thinking differently, with modules in leading entrepreneurial growth, launching new ventures and entrepreneurial creativity. Ahead of the upcoming Virtual Entrepreneurship Open Day, we spoke to some recent graduates from the programme to hear about their experiences during and after the course, as well as their advice for prospective students.
Henry Zhang graduated from the Australian National University in 2016, and worked in an advertising agency in Melbourne for two years before taking an MSc in Entrepreneurship at the University of Nottingham.
“In order to be competitive in China, an MSc degree is a minimum requirement for most decent firms,” he said. “The degree helped me think more logically and systematically – the course is dynamic, relevant and hands-on. The dissertation definitely helped me polish my analytical skills, and presentations provided me with opportunities to develop my public speaking skills.”
Putting these skills into practice, Henry now works in the leasing team for CR Land Resources, a state-backed company in China and one of the premium shopping centre operators in the country. His advice to prospective students is fourfold: do your own research; be proactive; make friends; and don’t be afraid to approach your professors – they don’t bite!
Jessica Kimber gained a BA in Modern Languages and Business from the University of Nottingham and worked locally with social enterprises after graduating. Realising her passion lay in social entrepreneurship, she decided that she wanted to further her knowledge and ability so she could be able to bring value to these kinds of organisations – or even start her own.
“The MSc was immensely valuable – practical and challenging from Day One”, Jess said. “Not only did I increase my business understanding and management skills, but I also developed a far more entrepreneurial and confident mindset that feel has hugely impacted my career prospects.”
Jess currently works for Enactus UK, who she first got involved with whilst studying for her MSc. The Nottingham team went on to come first in the competition at the Enactus UK National Expo, and represented the University at the Enactus World Cup in California, USA.
“Getting involved with the Enactus Nottingham team alongside my studies was a perfect way to start testing out what I was learning in the real world. I now work as their Partnerships and Engagement Manager, and the MSc set me up perfectly for this! My advice to any prospective students would be to throw yourself in – every module, group project and class is a whole new opportunity to grow. You’ll be surrounded by so many like-minded people who will no doubt become great fiends – maybe even business partners!”
Before enrolling at the Haydn Green Institute, Vader Johnson was working in Chile in high-tech medical startups as an electrical engineer. When the time came to set up his own business, he found he lacked the formal training to give him sufficient confidence in negotiating with Venture Capital funds and other business activities.
“My wife and I were looking for a place where both of us could pursue Master’s degrees in our respective fields (hers being Ergonomics, mine being Innovation). Nottingham had the perfect combination of being a Top University, with world-class programs in both fields and in a liveable town for a married couple like us.
“I’d like to think that now I’m way better at estimating the business viability of a technology, valuing its market potential and planning ahead its road to market”, said Vader, who is now the CEO of ICInnovations, a company that is using university research into technology for monitoring athletes’ respiratory activity in his native Chile.
“The best part about the MSc was the chance to have guidance, feedback, and support from academics that cared about your ideas, inside and outside the classroom. On top of this, the ability to interact with entrepreneurs at the Ingenuity Centre is the perfect complement to lectures.”
Since completing the course, Lanja Randriana has started a travel agency that provides travel packages to Madagascar and other Asian destinations. She has gained valuable support from the Ingenuity Lab, the University’s start-up hub, which provides practical business support to alumni and students of the University.
“It gave me more insight into what I could do and what I really enjoyed doing because we touched on many aspects of business and management,” she said. “We also had opportunities to meet and interact with industry professionals and entrepreneurs, which was great.
“Ultimately students who take this course all have a desire to start their business or be part of the process. We can’t grow our confidence and knowledge through the classes, books and assignments alone, so I would advise that they get out of their comfort zone and take advantage of the many activities and hands-on learning opportunities that the University and this course offer – always try new things and learn from others.”
Course directors David Achtzehn and Chris James Carter believe the variety amongst students on the MSc are integral to the experience of the course.
“Each year we welcome a talented cohort of international students to our Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Management MSc programme and it once again becomes apparent just how important diversity of thinking, academic disciplines and nationalities is to building a community of future innovators”, they say. “It is within this network that not only will you form lasting memories of time well-spent in the fantastic city of Nottingham, but professional connections with classmates and professors that will last throughout your entire career.”
To find out more about our postgraduate courses, visit the HGI website.