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Going from employee to entrepreneur with the GMCA

5 March 2021

The article at a glance

When Anna Zhang made the move from employee to entrepreneur, she faced many challenges, but with the help of the General Management …

When Anna Zhang made the move from employee to entrepreneur, she faced many challenges, but with the help of the General Management Certificate of Achievement (GMCA), she was able to enhance her business knowledge, gain confidence and boost the growth of her business.

Anna Zhang.
Anna Zhang

Anna Zhang completed the General Management Certificate of Achievement in 2019. She is the co-founder of Leo Tuition, which offers coaching sessions to children, helping them to secure places at the UK’s leading primary and secondary schools.

As part of the GMCA, Anna attended five programmes that she chose based on her individual objectives, including programmes in leadership, branding and business strategy. She was keen to understand the business challenges her peers were facing, and most importantly, how they were dealing with them.

“When I changed my career path from employee to entrepreneur, there were many challenges with setting up my own business, such as understanding how to recruit talented people, how to build my company’s brand and how to develop my business strategy. I found that the GMCA was exactly what I was looking for. It provides over 25 programmes to choose from, and there were so many international peers from different industries who joined the GMCA programme, which attracted me a lot.”

Attending the GMCA also helped build Anna’s confidence. “The first programme I attended was the Cambridge Rising Women Leaders Programme. Initially I was not confident in expressing myself as my peers were from huge companies such as Microsoft, JP Morgan and Barclays, while my startup only had two full-time employees at the time! But very soon I discovered there was nothing to worry about. The women I met in the class were very supportive; we were all from diverse backgrounds, and we shared our opinions, ideas and experiences. I learned not only from the faculty, but also from all my peers.”

“In the Strategic Branding programme, each team was required to select a real company on which to work. We chose my company, Leo Tuition. I shared our current situation, business objectives and our challenges, and discussed them with the group. I felt so lucky to be among such experienced peers – not to mention the lecturer, whose praise encouraged me greatly. At the end of the day, we drafted a 20-page branding proposal that had an immediate impact on my organisation. I still have this proposal on my laptop today!”

“The GMCA encouraged me to move out of my comfort zone and further develop myself to be a better person. I have learned to become more positive in the face of challenges. It has helped me to improve my problem-solving skills, and I also feel that I am now more ambitious, due to the higher levels of confidence I have in myself.” “The knowledge I gained from the GMCA and the people I met in Cambridge were both world-class. Since attending the GMCA, my company, Leo Tuition, won the 2020 China Trustworthy Online Education Company Award and we have achieved £1 million revenue in just two years. The GMCA helped me enhance my business knowledge, I gained industry insights and it boosted my business growth directly.”