skip to navigation skip to content
Search
 

Meet our students

The best way to find out what it is really like to study Entrepreneurship at Cambridge Judge Business School is to hear it directly from our students.

Fellow students of your cohort will be a significant resource for learning, feedback and testing of your thoughts and ideas throughout the programme.

We strive to assemble cohorts consisting of vastly diverse perspectives when it comes to background, expertise, geographic location and so on. However, the cohort is like-minded when it comes to their interest in entrepreneurship. After all, no one understands the joys and pains of entrepreneurship quite like another entrepreneur in the same situation. Peers can offer invaluable outside perspectives and tend to give more pragmatic critique than individuals not familiar with entrepreneurship.

To encourage intense interaction from the start, you will become a member of an action learning team during the first residential week of the programme. Students are carefully matched to an action learning team, and stay a member of that group throughout the programme, offering support to each other.

As the cohort builds their theoretical entrepreneurship knowledge, academic learning is enhanced by discussions amongst peers. These result from different prior experiences and viewpoints of each student, which leads to a rich learning experience for all.

These videos give a nice insight into the views of last year’s student cohort:

Daniel Gearon
Founder of You Okay Doc?

Hi, my name’s Daniel Gearon. I’m a surgical trainee at Royal Papworth Hospital and I’m currently enrolled on the Masters entrepreneurship at Cambridge Judge Business School. My venture is called You OK doc? It’s a mental health and well being charity for doctors. Like I said it was founded in October 2018. So as the founder and as a doctor at the time, I’ve been a doctor about three years. I realised the stresses and strains that doctors go through.

There are some pretty alarming statistics regarding doctors mental health, particularly with burnout. About 80% of doctors reported burnout in a British Medical Association study of about 6,000 participants. And then 55% of those went on to seek psychological help. And then also the amounts of doctors taking their lives was estimated to be about to four times more than the National average, when compared to a general population.

And I think obviously the very nature of being a doctor, you will be witnessing traumatic events. My cousin was a consultant down in London on a labour intensive care unit. And in December 2016, she took her own life rather unexpectedly. We created a service called The Huddle. In essence it was a 25 person group therapy held online every Thursday for doctors. That was our first real service and that was a success.

So we started the webinar series and the idea, again, for some of the speakers in the webinar series stemmed from my background. I used to play tennis in America, I was a college tennis player and before that I was at Tennis Academy. And when I was at Tennis Academy at 16, I had access to a sports psychologist. And we all had access to sports psychologist. It was the same sports psychologist for about hundreds of us. I mean, it was a drop in clinic that we could go and see him and talk about the latest matches, et cetera. When COVID-19 happened, and when the thought of the webinar happened and the thought of athletes and then kind of Zoom came into its own being and me, I’m not a very tech savvy person.

But something actually once one service probably could be delivered through online services. It’s now our vision that we do replicate that every doctor has access to a name psychotherapist. And what this platform will be able to do is to be implemented across hospitals say, hopefully Papworth and Adam Brooks first. As I mentioned, I’m part of Cambridge Judge Business School and the Masters in Entrepreneurship.

And I think one of the really important things that being part of that cohort of people that starts in 2019 is that when I first arrived during the residential week, I realised that actually I’m not alone like we’re all starting our own ventures. And when you start a venture it can be quite isolating place. There’s not many other people that are doing what you’re doing. And having that group of people to rely on or sorry, not necessary rely on but to communicate with and knowing that they’re there going through the same process that you are. It’s extremely comforting and also academically, it’s extremely enriching.

Nicola Filzmoser
Co-founder of HappyrHealth

Hi I’m Nicola, I’m co-founder of Happyr Health, and I’m also part of the Masters in Entrepreneurship. I guess my journey with entrepreneurship started a while ago. And it started actually after university after my bachelors degree, where I studied with an Austrian startup which was in their fintech space. And my bachelors degree was in corporate communications. So I got in there as part of the marketing team, was a quite small teams, it was about five people. And over one year we grew to 15 people.

And I really enjoyed the atmosphere and how the people worked in a small startup. But the fintech sector wasn’t my sector. And at that startup, I also met my now co-founder and partner, Cornelius. And we started to bounce off ideas each other quickly after we got to know each other. So we would wander through Vienna where we lived at a time back in Austria, And we just started to dream about our own ideas, mostly in the area of sustainability, food waste, but especially also in the healthcare sector.

And through that we kind of started to develop our own ideas and wanted to start our own business. But what we found in this startup we were working in was that we lack the theoretical background and entrepreneurship. At the moment, it is quite well researched. It’s starting to get researched as an upcoming field. So we said, OK why don’t we make use of know like that? And that’s kind of where we started to also look for programmes, look for degrees that could help us on our entrepreneurial journey.

We did a lot of brainstorming, but also talked to other experts in different fields, especially in the healthcare sector. And that’s how we stuck with the idea to support children with chronic pain. Cornelius and I, we both suffered from chronic pain during our childhood. Cornelius had recurring abdominal pain during his school age for about four to five years because of a disease, it was undiscovered.

Now it’s discovered and he learned how to manage it. I myself am still suffering from migraines, and my brain is also the topic we’re looking at for the beginning with Happyr Health, the venture we started and we found it last October. So for a child, maybe to give you a short example. As a child you’re always extremely excited when a school trip is coming out. So you, your best friends in the same room and all the adventures you can experience in this week.

And you are super excited up to the point you’re leaving. I, as a child was also super excited, but only up to a few hours before leaving because then my excitement turned into a migraine. This excitement, a lot of emotions everything that’s going on in the child’s life can hugely impact my brain. Suddenly they have to stay in a dark room all alone and try to fight the pain. And that’s exactly the issue we want to help them with.

There is no cure at the moment for my brain. But we can help them and support them in learning how to deal with chronic pain. So with Happyr Health we are developing an app, because it’s more accessible but also more engaging for children. And we use the concept of cognitive behavioural therapy, which is the currently recommended first line of treatment to prevent migraine children. And how are we doing this?

So we we’re taking concepts from CBT, which is a talking therapy mainly focusing on how emotions, thoughts, behaviours, but also physical sensations play into each other. So how your emotions could impact your migraines, or how your migraines can impact your thoughts. So this is a very abstract concept for children, also for adults in many cases.

So we are taking these concepts and trying to put them into historic context and into a gaming context, so that you play it with the character, you play in a different world where you come across different challenges. And subconsciously learn about CBT, learn about relaxation, learn about techniques, how to overcome challenging situations.

So for the master’s programme what we really enjoyed or what I also really enjoyed is not only the expertise, but also the whole team, the whole atmosphere comes together with the different students. I mean there are so many different people from different stages where you think at the beginning, OK, I’m not in that field for that long and I feel kind of intimidated. But in the end, there’s so many like minded people and everybody’s working towards a dream. So you’re all similar in one sense, but on the other hand everybody has a different experience, a different background. And bringing all of this together is an amazing pool of support.

Nicola Kennedy
Intrapreneur, Founder

[THEME MUSIC] So I’m Nicola Kennedy. I am a current student on the Master of Studies in Entrepreneurship at the University of Cambridge. I joined the programme a year ago with the intention of helping me set up ventures within a big multinational energy company. So when I joined the programme, I was an intrapreneur. I was building companies from within a big multinational corporate.

So I was the head of Ideas Lab at Centurion Innovations. And my job was to find ideas from within the business, and to incubate those businesses– build them out– and then to look at how we can build the future of the company. And one of the things that the course gave me was access to a really brilliant network. And it gave me the confidence to think about how I could do this by myself.

On my very first day at Cambridge, I walked into a lecture theatre. And I met somebody who ended up becoming my co-founder of the three new ventures that I am setting up at the moment. And we spent about 12 months talking through lots of different ideas– testing lots of different things out– really exploring whether or not we thought we could work together.

One of the things that really benefited us was being on the course. And being able to go through the theory together. So it wasn’t one of us that was learning, and the other one was still trying to understand what they were talking about. We knew the right questions to ask, and we were able to really use that experience and expertise to balance each other out. And to really test each other.

I’m based in London, and my business partner is based in America. And that understanding and access to two very different markets has created a really interesting opportunity where we can spot things that are happening that aren’t happening in the other market.

So we now have three very early stage ventures that we are testing out. The first of those ventures is called Notoma. And it is a nontoxic marketplace that sells products for families. And this was a challenge that we found that we had when we had very small children at home. We would go and look for products, and we were finding that so many products that we bring into our homes aren’t regulated.

And the second business that we’ve been testing out– again, it’s a very early stage business– is called Juventology Labs. One of the first products that we have developed within Juventology Labs is a beauty drink. It has 15 different multivitamins in it, and it is designed to provide beauty from within. So it looks at all of your skin, hair, and nails.

The third business has actually sprung up over the last three months. So ever since we’ve had the pandemic, we noticed a huge shift to online learning. So our third venture is something that has happened very, very quickly. It’s actually going to be the first to launch. And we’re running online five-day boot camps that teach you survival skills.

One of the huge challenges that, I think, we have as entrepreneurs is whether or not to look at venture funding, or to fund businesses ourselves. It’s been one of the things, actually, that through the course– really starting to unpick that relationship between an investor and an entrepreneur– has enabled me to make some really clear choices in terms of what I want to be doing.

So coming from a background of clean tech, the biggest challenge that we had was there were very few female entrepreneurs coming through in clean tech. So in clean tech, that’s a really strong thing– is that it’s much harder for female entrepreneurs to go out there and to get investment.

One of the things I love about being an entrepreneur and having my own business is that I have the ability to fit it around my life and my responsibilities as a mother. And that’s one of the really big challenges of having a corporate career. And what I found with entrepreneurship is, actually, it gives you so much more freedom to be able to live the life that you actually want to lead.

My take on entrepreneurship and the people that make the biggest strides in disrupting industries or building new, interesting businesses is they’re the people that don’t come from the sector. Because they’re the people that are not bound by the rules or the regulations, or the old ways of doing things.

And so it’s been a really interesting challenge to actually say I know clean tech– I know clean tech inside out. But what I want to do is– I want to take my understanding of things like regulation, and take that to a completely new sector, which is really exciting.

[THEME MUSIC]

Wallen Mphepo
Co-founder of xShüu Technologies

[MUSIC PLAYING] My name is Dr. Wallen Mphepo. I am one of the founders of xShuu Technologies, which is currently based in Shenzhen, China. Initially, this all started when I was an exchange student in Taiwan at Hsinchu Chiao Tung University. My interest there was to learn more about display technologies because I had just finished my masters degree in Sweden in display technologies.

I managed to do some, by luck, amazing 3D technologies, which was a 3D display technology that could be used for movie theatres so that people do not have to wear glasses to actually perceive 3D in a movie theatre. Simply put, this is a full-colour, high-resolution, full video electronic paper that is flexible. That’s basically what it is.

So with that in mind, I decided to take this little piece of technology that I just built and try to shop it around to see if anybody will be interested in seeing this being commercialised. To be very honest, I was completely naive. I had no idea what I was doing. Everybody in the industry in displays was excited about it, but every time I go to these VCs, that didn’t do anything at all.

But I realised, OK, maybe I really need to do that. I want to push this. So I’m going to have to build something with this. So what can I really build that would allow me to show how versatile this material was? Then the idea settled down to OK, we’re going to have to build a high heel shoe.

The next part was, when we actually brought this shoe to the VC’s offices, we’d put it on a desk, and we tried to explain what it was, and then they just look at us and wondering, does it actually really work or is this just a dummy mock-up of what you really are trying to build? Then I’ll take out my smartphone, turn on the app, click a couple buttons, and voila. The shoe would change. And just like that, you could see the atmosphere in the room changing.

But that wasn’t enough because the VCs are very smart. They could tell that I had no business experience. Neither did the people around me, and we really didn’t know what we were doing. So they were excited about it, but they were not that ready to actually put a bet on it.

It all boils down to, we have to make sure the core team has the tools that it needs to be able to make this work. I didn’t know what to expect until one of the classes, Assembling and Managing Innovative Teams. It changed a lot of things, a lot of assumptions, in a way that I didn’t quite expect. This was a different kind of learning.

I had only done natural sciences and engineering in my academic background, so this was very eye-opening for me. Maybe some students, this was not necessarily new for them. For me personally, this was new. I was engrossed by this material. I dove right into it, read voraciously, beyond what was being given.

And it began to show, even in my own venture. Some of the things I would apply almost immediately. Some I would store and bookmark for later because I knew further down the road I was going to need these things. And so far, I have applied a lot of these things in my venture, and the progress has been phenomenal. I can already sort of see where I’m going with this.

I have an intellectual capacity in entrepreneurship to figure out and map out my journey, something that I didn’t have before. Before, I just used to go by hunch. Maybe this will work, maybe this won’t. But I didn’t have any theoretical or fundamental understanding of the entrepreneurship methodologies that goes into making this happen. But now I do, and this is where I am right now.

Mark Ashton
Founder of MiniGridz

[MUSIC PLAYING] Hi there. My name is Mark Ashton, and I am currently enrolled in the MSt Entrepreneurship at the University of Cambridge. And my venture is called Mini Grids. Mini Grids is a for-profit social enterprise, which is designed to alleviate poverty for those individuals at the bottom of the economic pyramid.

I’m not sure if you know, you’ll probably recognise but there are over one billion people on the planet with absolutely no access to electricity of any sort and another one billion whose electricity access is very intermittent. Mini Grids’ mission to alleviate energy poverty is so that we can do this through productive renewable energy, and electricity is a poverty alleviating tool that helps individuals increase their access to education, improve their income as well as alleviate the home duties, especially for women in the world. Once they have access to electricity in their community, then they’re able to then use all the many different tools, et cetera, such as raising chickens, carpentry, welding, education. There are so many things that can be done whose first step is to provide electricity.

So our big, hairy goal is to provide electricity to one million people by 2030. It’s important in looking at starting a venture that you draw upon your background. My background includes over 30 years in the semiconductor industry, manufacturing and operations. I’ve been involved in two small firms and a variety of enormous billion dollar companies.

A key thing that attracted me to the University of Cambridge MSt Entrepreneurship programme is that the curriculum builds class upon class, term upon term to help you understand how to better succeed and how to better understand the best practises that are available in the world right now for such things as founding a company, how to use digital marketing, what are the best ways to recognise your market, and how to then dig down into the market and discover exactly what is the slice or niche that you’re targeting.

Ruby Pillai
Founder of iWarranty

[MUSIC PLAYING] I’m Ruby Pillai, founder of iwarranty. iwarranty is a technology startup founded in the UK. We are developing a cloud-based solution to eliminate paper-based warranties and manual claim process. So to give a bit of background about myself, I’ve been practicing law in London for the last 13 years. I was a corporate lawyer before embarking on my new career as an entrepreneur.

iwarranty originated from my own personal frustration dealing with a warranty claim and missing out on receiving a free replacement of an item by two weeks. So when looking very deeply into the problem, I found it’s not only a consumer problem, it’s also a manufacturer problem as well as an environmental problem. Globally 40 million tonnes of electronic waste is disposed every year. Consumers, when they can’t access their warranties for a low-value item, they tend to throw away those items and purchase a new item.

This, in turn, causing significant electronic waste. So I did not know as an entrepreneur, I did not know what pivot means. With the help of Cambridge Judge Business School faculty members, we actually sort of moved away from some of the initial assumptions we made on startup. And we also found attraction in that approach because a number of small to medium-sized manufacturers want to work with us.

They wanted to digitise their paper warranty, and they wanted to show to their consumers the green initiative they are embarking on. But we took a very different approach. Learning from Blue Ocean Strategy, part of the course, it was really a mind opener for us. Because it doesn’t really kind of– I mean, the course allows us to think outside the box in several different ways in different stages of your startup journey.

Because you don’t need to disrupt and you don’t need to take out, you know, go after competition. You could actually work collaboratively with the manufacturers to deliver value to consumers. Again, that kind of thinking wouldn’t have happened without being part of this programme. This programme is extremely valuable for someone from that experience background, or you know, someone coming out of university.

It’s hugely valuable to be part of the programme, to take advantage of this journey, and to make sure that you don’t fail. At least you can actually rescue yourself, and you can navigate to a different direction, and you can survive in this really complex world of entrepreneurship.

Heiko Altrichter
Co-founder of Laxford Capital

[MUSIC PLAYING] My name is Michael Altrichter, and I’m the co-founder and head of product development at Laxford. We develop specialised artificial intelligences for applications in the finance sector. We’re building deep learning networks that can make good decisions in uncertain environments.

Back when we started out in 2017, we were looking at the finance sector and found something very interesting. Nine out of 10 money managers underperformed the public sector. Why is that? After talking with many hedge fund managers and portfolio advisors around the globe, we figured out that most investment decisions are ultimately driven by human bias not through data. There’s simply so much data out there, so many millions of market participants, it’s impossible to consider them all and to weight them all.

The company that I co-founded is in various places in the world. We have offices in Dubai and Mexico and Cayman Islands and in Berlin. Out of Berlin, we have created an AI and research laboratory where we create neural networks trying to make good decisions in imperfect environments. In Dubai, we have built up a non-profit development bureau that tries to bring digital learning to developing countries. We are starting out in Venezuela where we provide a digital learning infrastructure for Venezuelan schools and provide them with online payment gateways that help them mitigate the risks that come with hyperinflation.

Cambridge University has been instrumental in showing us how to take our research out of academia and into entrepreneurship.

Class profile

If you are interested in finding out information about our current cohort, please view our class profile:

Introduce yourself

Now that you have met our students, feel free to introduce yourself.