What’s better than featuring on the Apprentice with Alan Sugar or Donald Trump?
Two Bomb Scares, Bupa Healthcare, a touch of serendipity & a feature on Reuters….
It was nearing the end of 2011 and I was at Microsoft’s offices, invited as one of the UK’s group of founders and entrepreneurs to attend an event Silicon Valley Comes to The UK that was spearheaded by a number of people including Linkedin Founder Reid Hoffman.
It was here I first met Gregor who was the Founder of Morphsuits — we were both put in the same group to talk about growing a business and the associated opportunity as well as challenges. There was then a bomb scare that forced us to evacuate and continue conversations on the streets of Victoria. Suffice to say Gregor and I continued to talk sharing about our different passions for business and it was then I first heard about The Marketing Academy.
A few weeks later on a Sunday walk with a few friends including Emanuel who worked at Kraft Foods we were sharing what we were up to and Emanuel also then mentioned his involvement as a Scholar for The Marketing Academy. When I mentioned my chance meeting with Gregor it turns out that they are golf buddies and I felt that I was clearly in good company! The conversation continued over the coming months and when the nominations opened I was fortunate enough for them to both nominate me.
Nominations closed and the whole process for me as an entrepreneur was quite alien. As I founded my company The Beans Group when I was 22 I’ve not had a formal full time job. That said, following the process, I revisited my CV, got an endorsement from my board and got to work on preparing my 2 minute showcase. I had just 2 minutes to stand out, share, convince and in my mind hopefully inspire the selection panel to put me through to the next stage. I thought about getting help from other people and in the end up creating my showcase from scratch, which can be seen here:
After that it was no longer in my control and the waiting began until we heard if we were through to the next stage. Towards the end of March, I found out I had been successful through to the next round of phone interviews on the 2nd April, I was completely over the moon.
It was strange sitting on the other side of the table, as it were, answering questions about my strengths and weaknesses. I remember hoping that I’d shared enough and done everything to make a difference, at the same time knowing there was nothing I could do about it. All I knew is I really wanted this opportunity.
I then got the fateful email that I was again through to the next stage that involved various online quick thinking and psychometrics tests along with a final round of face to face interviews with a panel that included Craig McCoy, HR Director — Bupa and James Hart — SVP Global Marketing, AVG. The date was set; 26th April.
As I prepared, did the tests and mock interviewed, things continued and the Marketing Academy already seemed a source of great conversation. On the 17th April having been invited to speak at the University of Hertfordshire at an event called Internet Pioneers I was introduced to a reporter, Zak from Reuters to share my thoughts around current internet trends and being a web based company founder. As chance had it I offered him a lift to the station initially he declined but as I left the building Zak was still waiting for a taxi so ended up sharing the ride. As we neared his drop off point we were talking about up and coming plans and I shared the interview I was due to be having at the Bupa offices in London for the scholarship. Thinking nothing more of it I dropped him at the station. The following day I received a phone call thanking me for my lift and saying he had spoken to his editor and they were interested in running a piece about The Marketing Academy for Reuters TV.
Torn between if I should be recorded or not and for fear of not being accepted — I decided in the end it was an opportunity in itself and either way it would be a good opportunity for everyone involved.
The 26th April came round and I met Zak and filmed before the interview and then got a taxi over to Bupa House — arriving in good time only to discover the traffic and being caught up in yet another bomb scare this time more real and involving gas canisters!
To find out more about the interview and the process, as well as how I got on you can watch the Reuters Coverage here.
Appreciating the reference to Alan Sugar & Donald Trump..
The Marketing Academy was an amazing life changing year of learning, mentoring and coaching. It lead on to me being mentored by Russ Lidstone, introduced to One Young World, Speaking in South Africa with Arianna Huffington and much more.
One of the benefits of being involved in The Marketing Academy is the network it creates — as the network continues to grow we’ve created a group on Causr to help the network of scholars, Alumni, mentors and coaches connect.
Nominations for The Marketing Academy 2017 Scholarship are open now. For more details and if you know someone who’s a Marketeer or Entrepreneur please nominate them now.