What skills did you develop on your courses that have become
useful in your chosen career?
During my days at university I formed good habits of working
hard. Especially during the master's degree, when I also had two part-time
jobs. The specific knowledge I acquired may not be entirely relevant to my
career, but the mechanics of working as a team with other people, applying
principles of constant improvement and self-discipline are hugely beneficial
while running a one-man shop. The tools learned at university in an environment
supporting learning are invaluable, because it makes the mistakes made on live
operations less frequent and less costly. Despite that learning continues every
What has been the toughest thing you have faced in your
Raising finance for the start-up. You have to keep an open
mind and look at it with a cold mind. Getting emotional when things are getting
tough does not get you any closer to the goal. Cash is just one way of looking
at finance. Looking for good deals, investors and knowing exactly what you need
to achieve the goals is just as important. A bit of luck also helps – and you
are responsible for creating that – by being prepared and have a detailed plan
with multiple scenarios, so life does not surprise you!
What has excited you most through your career so far?
Taking the decision to open my own business, without having
much experience in the field and moving to another country to do it! The
journey was very difficult, with cultural differences and law intricacies, but
certainly worth it. Building a business from scratch may not be for everyone, but
if you want independence and freedom, do not fear taking a huge risk (i.e. all
your personal finances and taking a debt) and have a good idea – that might be
the best you can do for yourself! Seeing happy faces of people who come through
the doors and enjoy their best hour of the day in my own gym – that is a real
dream come true situation.
Have you got any advice for current students, based on your
Start thinking about what it is that drives you to get up every
day, despite the time of the day. It was easy to go through the first year
partying, but it takes a lot of energy to figure out who you want to be in the
end. Do not be afraid to try different jobs and quit. Until you find that one
thing you truly love. You will know it! In hindsight I would have started
looking for that one thing I cannot live without and spend time doing it every
If you were just about to graduate again, what would you do
I would start thinking about opening my own business much
earlier. Having had previous experience in various companies I just did not
know I was ready. Take as much time as you need to learn from others, but if
you prefer being in the driving seat there is no better place than to create
your own business. You cannot experience a quicker learning curve than that.
Did you undertake a placement during your degree and if so,
how did this benefit you?
Doing placement was a huge advantage. Seeing first-hand what
a multinational company (Toshiba) does and how the cogs move, gave me a better
understanding of what is really required from prospect workers. Later, while
applying for graduate jobs I didn't have to think much about what my strengths
were, I also knew what to say about my weaker points and what I was going to do
to improve them.