Prior to joining the MBA course, Joshua Sauter (MBA graduate, now working full-time for the University) asked me to attend a Dragon’s Den-style competition in the Barony Hall building near the Business School.
Dragon’s Den is one of my favourite TV programmes! I have a keen interest in SMEs and start-up businesses, so this was a great chance for me to see four real entrepreneurs pitch their real business ideas to the panel of judges. Although the prize money for the best pitch was £3,000, the pitch was delivered in front of a room full of Strathclyde alumni, many of them venture capitalists and potential investors. I later discovered that this was known as the Strathclyde 100 (S100), who could potentially be a source of further finance and/or contribute a wealth of experience, advice and assistance to the entrepeneurs. It soon struck me that this was well worth participating in for the contestants.
Prior to joining the MBA, I had been a corporate lawyer for several years in Glasgow and Edinburgh and, looking round the room, I started to notice familiar faces – clients, other lawyers – yes, this was also an excellent networking opportunity for me.
On joining the MBA course, I was interested to find out that there was the opportunity of sitting on an “MBA panel”, whereby I would get the chance to do the job of the judges, providing feedback to entrepreneurs needing help. This struck me as a really fun opportunity to practice applying some of what I would learn on the MBA course and at the same time meet local entrepreneurs. I learnt that The University has a particularly strong sciences and engineering departments, so there are many potentially great new money-spinning ideas being generated by University staff, PHDs, existing students and Strathclyde alumni. Although these are very intelligent people, setting up a business requires knowledge of the issues to look out for and without having business experience it is difficult to prepare for pitches etc. That is where the Strathclyde Entrepenerial Network (SEN) can help and the MBA panel is set up to offer assistance and advice to those entrepeneurs.
I am really looking forward to participating in the MBA panel and who knows what other opportunities might crop up through the SEN, given the high profile of some of the S100 members.