We talked to a student who had the dilemma of whether to immediately go and build a startup right after graduating. It seems a lot of you are in the same position.
Who I am
I graduated from Cambridge University in 2022, having studied Natural Sciences – at Cambridge the sciences are combined into one course, offering eventual specialisation in a discipline of your choosing. For me, this was Chemistry, where topics ranged from the mathematical foundations of quantum mechanics to chemical reactions in the atmosphere.
Opting not to pursue academic research, I began working for a Wealth & Asset Management firm thereafter, where I’d remain until late 2023. Whilst at university I was fortunate enough to complete internships in the energy sector, and it was great to get to experience another new industry: finance.
Deciding to leave my job
As a 23-year-old with a possible career path presented before me, I faced (what I think are) typical dilemmas: asking if it was truly what I wanted and wrestling with what the best thing to do with myself might be. I also wanted to continue to learn and grow at the rate I had experienced at university, to really push myself, and so began considering alternative challenges with time. A key part of my day job was appreciating investment risk – trying to capture the largest possible upside for clients with the least level of risk on the table. I wanted to apply this approach to my career.
Admittedly, by traditional standards, this may be the ‘highest risk’ avenue I could’ve chosen. But, the potential ‘upside’ seemed to contain immense value beyond remuneration: autonomy, high potential for personal impact and connectedness with a pulsating community. During my prior role I was fortunate enough to connect with an extremely successful multi-exit founder, and the energy I felt from that interaction was unlike anything I’d experienced. That being said, it was important to hedge my journey into entrepreneurship in some way – I enrolled to give myself the option of continuing education in mid-2024 and set a cutoff for when to pivot back into industry, should the journey prove fruitless. Moreover, I’d rigorously forecast the period where, buffered by savings, I could pursue this full-time.
The pressure to create something has been helpful within this albeit unconventional approach – market research into my proposed AI-based product has led me to connect with mentors and introduced me to fascinating members of the start-up community, such as Vlad, FounderBounty’s creator.
The willingness with which people have freely helped me to date, sharing insights, offering guidance, has been one of the warmest and most vindicating experiences of my journey so far. Though I’m just scratching the surface, the inclusivity of this community has been incredible and, whilst there’s an infinity of things to learn, it has been amazing pursuing development each day. My eventual goal is to launch my own start-up, contributing to the space.
I was encouraged to share my story by Vlad, who I must thank for giving me this platform. If my story has resonated with you, or you have any advice, I’d love to connect (email@example.com). Equally, I’d love to enhance my experience, if you might have a venture that I could lend a hand on.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story.