Preparing for the Next Venture

So, there I was, 22 yrs old. I’d just finished up with the coffee chain in India, where I had my first chance at Being Entrepreneurial and I was now ready to move on to something greater and in particular, start something completely on my own.

I felt a lot of mistakes in establishing and putting this business together had been made and wanted to know if that was due to my inexperience. I was very aware that I had not handled well the politics of working with various owners, managers and partners and because I was surrounded by others who had spent their lives to get to a much wanted position, I was often viewed as the ‘kid who got a lucky break’.  I had the benefit of having no ties or family at the time, and hard work and dedication was often seen as a threat because I was able to make the business my number one priority, where others couldn’t.

After I’d had some time to reflect on what I had experienced, I saw shortcomings in the way I was instinctively doing things and thought to avoid this happening I really needed some academic backing. Was there a better way to do things? Even though I had experienced some success, could I have gone about it in a different way?  So, I started to look into studying an MBA.

To begin my search, I looked at the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM). Australia for me, was an obvious choice because I had already been to the US and I didn’t feel it was the right place for me to go to again. In India, it would have been a year-long exercise just to get into one of the top five institutes, so because I wanted to get started immediately, I had decided to get my share from the business and make moves to start studying.

My first search was quite daunting. I applied for AGSM but I didn’t get through. They wanted five years experience, so being only 22 years old, I applied but didn’t make it. No surprises there.

Then I applied to Monash University and the application came back but it was extremely expensive for me and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go to Melbourne. I had my heart set on studying in Sydney, so I applied to UNSW, Western Sydney and UTS. The best choice was UTS because at that time UTS had introduced a MBA with limited work experience that was much more affordable, which suited me perfectly.

Telling the business owners I was leaving was not an easy exit for me. As much as they may have critiqued, they did like the way I managed the relationships with the local suppliers for milk and coffee, and the relationships I had built with the landlords. And naturally they were concerned for how this would effect the business.

But I had big business dreams. I was looking at concept restaurants as a next option, I had ideas and I was hungry for my next venture. But the need to learn was playing on me and every bit of advice I received, confirmed that study would be my best move before starting something new.

When I finally made it to Sydney, it was a dramatic change of life for me.  I was used to running a business that took my attention 24hrs of the day, 7 days a week. I was always busy in India, my phone constantly rang. This type of existence had fueled me and gave me energy, so when I arrived in Sydney for a typical student life – going to university and studying – I knew no one, my phone was quiet, and it was a change of lifestyle I was not prepared for.