As a new program, many are intrigued to understand what it takes to be a student of The University of Melbourne’s Master of Entrepreneurship. From rigorous academic learning, to practical experience and networking, studying entrepreneurship prepares students for the demands of a successful business.
Our General Manger, Georgia McDonald, sat down with current student and engineering graduate Andrew Rowse to talk about the ups-and-downs of his journey so far. Watch the 30mins video or read the write-up below. We cover:
1. What was the lightbulb moment that lead you to study Entrepreneurship?
As an undergrad, I studied engineering at Melbourne University, then went on to work at a Sports Marketing agency in Australia and overseas. I studied engineering because I was good at maths, not because I wanted to be an engineer. When the Master of Entrepreneurship popped up as Facebook Ad, I thought about my experience and decided that if I can work hard for others and earn them money, why can’t I do the same and work hard for myself? I decided to follow the opportunity and see where it goes.
2. How did your friends and family react when you decided to study entrepreneurship rather than going out on your own?
At first everyone thought I was crazy for quitting my job after 4 years and going back to study. My parents were supportive and wanted me to chase my dreams, but my friends were perplexed. They couldn’t understand why I didn’t just give it a go rather than studying for a year. I reasoned that by studying the Masters of Entrepreneurship, we’re learning the lessons that people wish they had known before they started.
9 out of 10 start-ups fail so I think that if you can prevent yourself from being in that percentage, you’d be silly not to try. 6 months in, having seen what I’m doing, my friends and family are very much on board.
3. Applying to be a part of this program isn’t like a regular university application, can you tell us a little about your experiences in applying?
The application requires a 5-minute video which is a little bit daunting, but it was great because you can re-do it as many times as you like. I did it three or four times before I was happy. It’s nice to be able to let your personality shine through – one of the big things I’ve learnt here it that as good as your ideas may be, everything is based around you as a person. It’s quite refreshing.
4. Speaking from halfway through your Master, what has been the most surprising experience so far?
The networking – every night there are events somewhere around the city to go to and build up your own network. I didn’t expect that, I thought the program would be like other Masters where you come in, submit your assignments and be done with it, but it hasn’t been like that at all.
5. What’s your game plan in terms of networking?
I started out going to everything and I encourage everyone to do that – you never know who you’re going to meet or who will notice that you’re going to these events. At events like the Start-Up Victoria Pitch recently, its intimidating being one of 700 people there, but you realise that everyone feels the same as you. Generally, I grab a drink, say hi to the person next to me and strike up a conversation. I always say that I’m a student at the Wade Institute because everyone’s keen to hear about it as it’s relatively new. You never know who you’re going to meet by chance so try to go to as much as you can.
6. What’s been the most challenging thing in the past 6 months?
I think the biggest thing is being resilient when leaping in, despite the possibility of not much initial success. You always have to keep in mind that if you work hard and persevere through those late coffee-fuelled nights, success will come. What’s great about the masters is that it’s a year to up-skill yourself, so even if you stuff things up – which you will – you’re in an environment where if things don’t work out you can always try again.
7. Many people don’t realise that the Wade Institute sits on the site of Ormond College, the University’s largest residential college. Having decided to become a resident of the College while studying, can you tell us a little about what it’s been like?
I’m from Melbourne, so I never considered living on campus until a few months in to the Masters when I was pleasantly surprised by the large graduate community around me. Living so close to where I study has been a great opportunity, as well as being able to enjoy living around 500 other students.
There’s so much going on at Ormond, from talks given by Nobel Prize winners to even just sharing meals in the dining hall, where you’ll always meet someone new. It was completely unexpected but great to be a part of it.
8. Can you tell us about your Semester 1 project earlier this year?
I was working with a fellow student named Jesper from Sweden. We were talking through ideas at the beginning of the year and one of the things that we agreed on is that when we go to a bar, we love to have a cold beer, but all the snacks on offer are generally fatty, salty or unhealthy. We got onto the topic of beef jerky, which is good for you, and on pure faith decided to launch into the creation of gourmet beef jerky as a healthy snack to enjoy with a beer.
There was a big gap in the market so after a lot of researching and customer testing (even Vegemite flavoured jerky), we took the concept from the prototyping stage to buying ingredients and using the facilities at the Wade to create a physical product.
From this project, I learned a lot about my own strengths and how to leverage them. Maths is my strength, I put everything into excel spreadsheets and everything’s mapped out so this project has taught me to play to that strength and use it in the best way possible.
9. What’s your advice to those hoping to apply for the Master of Entrepreneurship?
My biggest piece of advice is to just do it. It sounds corny but one of the best things about the program is being able to act on those ideas that have been in the back of your mind for years. Being a part of the Masters, you have someone there pushing you along which makes it a little less scary. My advice is to do it, because you never know what it will lead to and you will never know if you don’t try.
To learn more about The University of Melbourne’s Master of Entrepreneurship, contact us to request a tour or book a Skype call for interstate and international enquiries.
Wade Institute of Entrepreneurship is a leading centre for entrepreneurial education. We deliver programs to accelerate learning, creation and connection.