Budding Schulich Entrepreneurs
Schulich offers a variety of specializations for its undergraduate students to choose from as they enter their third or fourth year of study. If you ask any current third or fourth year student what they’re specializing in, you will most likely get something like finance or accounting as your response. However, every now and then you may get entrepreneurship. But how does one go about specializing in entrepreneurship? How do they ensure that they have a job when they graduate? What do they do if they do not have a job? Why are they willing to go into such a risky field when they can get a more stable job? We took the time to talk to Jethrow Kwan and Jie Dai, both Schulich 2015 graduates and Co-founders of Jumpstart Academy and Fugo Desserts.
“I had always wanted to be my own boss. In grade 12, I changed my career goal to CA, and again to investment banker in my first year of Schulich. After going through the recruiting process in third year, I realized that I had absolutely no interest in working in a corporate environment, regardless of the compensation.” says Jie about when he knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur. Jethrow, on the other hand, said “I definitely did not always think I wanted to be an entrepreneur,” and continued to explain how he was never satisfied with working in the corporate world as he felt it was not for him. The summer after his third year was when he first decided to start something, and he even considered starting something like jumpstart before he and Jie first spoke about it. Although the pair did not earn as much as they would have liked during their first summer in business together, they saw a lot of earning potential and decided that it was something they wanted to do full time after they graduated.
When asked about any influences who may have impacted their decisions to become entrepreneurs, Jethrow mentioned one professor, Graham Deans, who he found to be the most inspiring due to his abundance of knowledge and excitement to teach. On the other hand, Jie mentioned how seeing those around him working in the corporate world further encouraged him to pursue his own venture. In addition, he stated, “the most important thing I acquired from Schulich was the network. While Jumpstart was so successful because Jethro and I had excelled academically, had we not known the right people, we would not have been able to even get such a venture off the ground.”
In closing, Jethrow and Jie both offered words of advice to any students currently contemplating entrepreneurship as a career path, suggesting to “just go for it,” while acknowledging that “people are going to tell you it’s a stupid idea, however, you should always be focussed on your vision.”