A culture of innovation

A culture of innovation

Ashwin Thomas Polachirackal.

After completing my Bachelors in Electrical and Electronic engineering in Bengaluru in 2010 and my brief and unsuccessful stint as an entrepreneur, I was confused as to how to go about gaining the requisite skills to start and build a successful business and hence took the help of an education agent. He suggested I go ahead with the University of Southampton’s MSc in Entrepreneurship programme.

I did some online research and found out that Southampton is one of the preferred universities for a large number of courses, by local as well as international students. The career guarantee record of the university was also impressive with 95% of the graduates being employed or engaged in further studies.

Like every international student, I was scared to step out of my comfort zone, but Southampton turned out to be a great place to spend the best years of my life. One of the biggest challenges I thought I would face was finding an accommodation, but with the help of the university’s accommodation website, I found a great place that not only fit my budget but also met my needs. 

The university itself is an acclaimed one and a course like this was like a cherry on the top. Pursuing the MSc Entrepreneurship programme here has been an enriching experience and I have gained a great amount of knowledge on a variety of subjects ranging from Entrepreneurship to Digital Marketing.

The knowledge of such wide-ranging subjects has helped me put my ideas forward in a better way and given me the confidence to plan a new business venture. 

Pursuing this programme has allowed me to examine the fundamentals of strategies and business processes and develop the knowledge of entrepreneurship and enterprise development.

Course module

This programme is accredited by AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), an internationally recognised award of excellence in business education. The course module includes subjects like Entrepreneurial Marketing, Global Strategies for Growth, Retailing in the Digital Age, Consultancy Skills, Quantitative and Qualitative Research, Decision Making and Analysis in Projects as well as Global Entrepreneurship.

The academics encourage us to gain a detailed understanding of the techniques and approaches of entrepreneurship and management through a mixture of lectures, discussions, individual and group practical exercises, case studies, seminars, reading and assessed coursework. The university arranges regular workshops and sessions on innovations and entrepreneurship, so as to prepare us for the business world. 

We are also given ample opportunities to participate in mini-projects as well as detailed discussions on established and emerging concepts and philosophies relevant to the entrepreneurial paradigm. Some modules have a group work element where marks are awarded as a group, but the larger percentage of a module allows the academics to assess us on an individual basis. I am given regular feedback on my case studies and practical exercises, which has helped me immensely in enhancing my understanding of the subject. 

I had heard that the university provides a hoard of entrepreneurship opportunities to the students by allowing them to be part of the University Entrepreneurship Cells. Such platforms are a great place to pitch your ideas to your peers and mentors, make your thoughts heard and get the appropriate guidance and motivation from experts. While at the university, I have had the chance to be a part of a society called ‘Fish on Toast’, which is an entrepreneurial cell that helps in organising events for the university. Being a part of the team, I have helped in organising a number of events, talks and networking events, which has helped in developing my leadership and organisational skills. 

At the university, I got a chance to be a part of a number of games and activities like the Challenge, Enterprise-Rent a Car, etc. These activities have enhanced my learning experience and I now realise how differently the concept of education and learning are perceived in India and in the UK. The major difference is the approach to teaching that is followed at both places. My assignments here require me to read and share my thoughts and do a critical evaluation of concepts and subjects. 

A highlight of my life at the university is the people I have met and befriended. On my first day at the university, I met people from all over the world, and today, I proudly say that some of them are my best friends.

Spending time with them has given me an insight into a wide variety of cultures that exist in the world. The leisure hours at the university are an absolute bliss. We all gather and indulge in casual conversations, games, etc. Our conversations range from cultures to marriage and start-ups. 

The university provides you good value for your money in terms of education, accommodation, food and campus life. After the completion of the course, I plan to launch a start-up venture in the UK in the field of travel and tourism. The university and the UK have a plethora of options available for international students who have creative and innovative ideas to pitch to the investors.

If all goes well, I am planning to opt for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa.