Manchester Enterprise School 2012 – Day 1 – Setting the scene

I am sitting in my hotel room after the first day of Manchester Enterprise School (MES) and reflecting on my experiences while they are still fresh. I am kind of getting myself through the different emotions that shook me off my feet today. I’ll start in rewind… we finished the day by talking about our comfort zone, stretch and panic mode while thinking about the day. Interestingly enough my emotions and comfort had traveled quite a lot to reach a final point in which I was at peace and let’s say confident that I’m at the right training and I have at least some of the skills to get me through.

It seems ironic I say this especially after a morning of positive thinking focus and telling yourself you are the right person. Nevertheless, it was also said that it takes 30 days to break a habit and I’m only into the first day of the elastic band trick to keep away negative thoughts (there might be more about this as it’s a post/challenge in itself!)

Back to where I started: I began the day with a sense of insecurity in terms of what I have gotten myself into. The fact that there wasn’t much information about the format of the training apart from the fact that it will be team work to develop a business product/service delivered in the local area (Keswick, Cumbria) and that idea was to be pitched to a panel later in the week.

Keswick, Cumbria

As my background is in a very different discipline from business and enterprise and I have never really had interest in the field of business planning and profit generation, I knew that I was going to challenge myself, my preconceptions and habits of being snugged in in my comfort zone of doing research at schools. However, the lack of information made me uneasy and I was thinking a lot about what it would actually be like at MES. I suppose my imagination went a bit wild, but honestly I thought I would be the only one without any idea of how to develop businesses. Now I can say that this wasn’t the case – other participants were just as insecure as me and with no or little background in the business field. This brought me back to my comfort zone and was a bit of a reassurance that I won’t fail (yes, I thought about it again!).

Then looking at some ideas that have been applied into practice was a bit refreshing and providing a different outlook on things. I quite enjoyed thinking about the different aspects of a business idea such as product/service description, customer profile, stakeholders, profit generation activities and so on… but the next activity got me worried again. We had to actually start identifying problems in the local area and on top of the pressure to find a gap and generate a feasible idea, there was this feeling that time is passing and things will get even more fast paced and stressful. In this respect setting up a group work ethic and protocol was necessary to just confirm that we are all on the same page and that some rules will apply so that we as a team manage the stress.

At the end of this first day I did feel more comfortable and positive about both my contribution to the training and the knowledge and skills I would get out of it. And just to wrap it up for today, I have decided to post my reasons for taking part at MES – they are crucial and I will evaluate them against what I have achieved after completing the course.

Reasons for going to MES 2012:

To explore my career options beyond academia and to obtain new knowledge about the world of business and further develop transferable skills beyond my immediate PhD topic and environment.

To challenge myself to go out of my comfort zone – as I think about my PhD right now I’m at a place that feels quite comfortable, I know what I am doing and I feel on track, I feel capable of achieving both short and long term goals – so an experience that would pull me out of my comfort zone seemed like a good idea

Day 1 results with regards to the above reasons:

Well, I sat a ‘business lecture/workshop’ – something I never thought I would do. I did find in difficult at times and I still don’t fully grasp the ideas. I suppose it was also a it of a struggle with the language as there were all the proper words used such as ‘value propositions’ . It does take some getting used to but as the lecturer said, if we do it, we do it properly 🙂

Off to sleep now and then on for the next bunch of challenges tomorrow! Go Team Yellow!


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