by Adriel Cheng
What I enjoyed about the course are as follows:
1) The informal learning atmosphere where inputs from everyone are relative spontaneous and are mostly drawn from real experiences as opposed to pure theoretical propositions
2) The project allowed us to take full ownership of ideas and the process of developing that idea into reality.
3) The challenges that spring up in an environment where unforeseen problems and solutions spring up randomly right from the conceptualization to the execution of the project. Life would have been rather boring otherwise. Adding to the challenges of an uncertain environment is the fact that there was always room for improvement in the project. There was always something to build on and to make better for our future users.
4) Being fortunate enough to be part of a team that complements each other.
5) Learning the basic theoretical framework in entrepreneurship and starting a business (For eg the types of grants and funding options; the composition of a management team; laying the foundations correctly by adopting the right mission and vision etc )
6) Having the opportunity to interact and learn from successful entrepreneurs and to hear their criticisms on our own project.
When I enrolled for this course, my objectives were that I would be able to learn something new and impactful and to be able to experience a module that was radically different from the usual academic module. Somewhere in between, the objectives evolved. Very abruptly, the sole objective was to build a successful start up Fink. I am personally not so sure what exactly changed in between. Maybe it was the lure of the projected numbers if it all worked out or maybe it was more. All I can be certain of at this moment is that we have a team that is very committed to see that Fink is launched within the next 6 months.
This leads me to one of the biggest takeaways for this course. Objectives constantly evolve with circumstances and time. More than any course in school and cliché as it may sound; change has been the only constant in this course. The last 13 weeks have reaffirmed my belief that learning how to accept that and to adapt with constant change is one of the most important skills to have. Being able to stay committed to a plan and being ready to make fundamental changes whenever it is necessary at the same time requires a substantial amount of patience and hunger and this is an area that I am still working on improving. The second most important takeaway is the importance of competent and reliable team mates. There were moments where members of the team had other more urgent commitments and almost instantly, the remaining members stepped in to help with no questions asked. This mutual understanding within the team has allowed for a frictionless experience. Unlike many others who say that if you do not have conflict, you do not learn. Well, the course has proven that saying wrong with all of us learning substantially. You can have the best ideas in the world but absent a competent team, the road will definitely be more challenging. This holds very true with technology-centric start-ups where ideas and human capital are what you work with most of the time. Last but far from the least, the course has taught me that in entrepreneurship, staying hungry and never giving up in the face of closing doors and failures are vital. As long as one continues fighting, the chances of success will be higher with every lesson learnt.