From field engineering to entrepreneurship
Bertha Amelia is a petrophysicist from Malaysia and Maryam Bilal is an electrical engineer from Pakistan. Both of them are now in the last semester of their Master in entrepreneurship. We asked them some questions about their experiences here at UiO.
How was the first semester in Master in Entrepreneurship?
Maryam: I remember waking up in the dark, and going to school and going home in the dark! I remember group work taking a lot of time. You need to do a lot of group meetings and understand the team dynamic and then also expected to have deliverables on your work as well. But it was a lot of fun also!
Bertha: I agree. It was the most tiring and challenging semester, but a lot of fun. I am a field engineer, and have been working with oil and gas before. This is a dicipline in which inquire a lot of individual work, so working in teams was new to me. In addition I did not know anything about entrepreneurship or finance. It was a whole new scenario for me!
The programme is for students with various backgrounds within the technical or natural sciences. How has that been?
Maryam: We do a lot of team work. It is nice to work on teams with different educational backgrounds because everyone was bringing something else on the table. The diversity in the cultural background, as it brings cultural insights. We spend a lot of time to try to understand each other, but it was a lot of fun as well. The understanding of one particular idea or concept was very different, which works really well.
Bertha: It was a completely new experience, working in teams with people from other fields, but I learned so much from it.
Have you been challenged as students of this program?
Bertha: We were challenged a lot! One of the most important thing for us is to get out of the door and start to talk to people. One of our courses is about executing a business idea, and to do that you need to test it on strangers to see whether it works or not. That is one of the most interesting experiences. For example, my team had a business idea to create a bio gas creator for restaurants. To test that idea, we has to go to a lot of restaurants across Oslo. It is very difficult considering that this is a foreign country and we were worried that not many people would be willing to spare their time. But you have to try and do it.
In the end most of them were very positive. We encouraged the restaurant owners to use their food waste to create energy, and let them would voice their opinion. They know we are students, so they are positive and want to help. We were originally very scared, and tried to find excuses not to do this, but in the end we were pushed by our professors. We got our results, and got less scared the second time.
Did you have a favourite course in the Master programme?
Maryam: I enjoyed quite a lot of the courses in the program. The strategic management course was one of my favourites, as we got the opportunity to work on a strategic challenge for a corporate organisation. It was nice to see that they appreciated the effort and thought it got good results. That was very interesting and we has a lot of fun doing it. We did a field trip there, we were introduced to a lot of people and we did a design thinking work-shop as part of the challenge.
The Master programme has a lot of practical experience. How was that?
Maryam: The most valuable thing for me in this programme is the practical experience we gain. During this programme we have both worked with Start-ups and corporates. Then we get the chance to learn both how how start-ups and bigger corporations innovate. This way we can decide what suit us and find our passion. The courses in the Master programme is a bit of everything, from the financial aspects to the marketing side of business development.