- Entrepreneurship starts with validating a true “job to be done” – this step requires significant time and cannot be overlooked. This theme was especially emphasized in the I&E Capstone and Keystone classes. Through my participation in the Hult Prize, I experienced first-hand the detriment of jumping into a solution too quickly without checking core assumptions. I learned that it doesn’t matter how exciting or ground-breaking a solution may be if it ultimately does not solve a true problem. In global health settings, understanding the problem is more complex than customer discovery methods such as analyzing Google search terms or launching a social marketing campaign. For global health initiatives, you need to also take time to understand the region/location, historical/cultural background, and current solutions that have evolved from any constraints – and that requires involving local people who are invested in sustainable solutions.
- Entrepreneurship is a team sport. In all my classes and experiences, I worked in interdisciplinary, cross-functional teams to solve problems. Working in a team inevitably comes with challenges, but the rewards of bringing together driven people who bring different perspectives and value to the project far outweigh the obstacles.
- Entrepreneurship takes different forms, and does not necessarily mean starting a venture. During my time at Duke, I pitched a social entrepreneurship venture in the Hult Prize, worked in a Bass Connections team to understand considerations for implementing a global health technology, and interned at a clinical-stage biotech company that embraced the start-up company culture. Although these involvements look very different, they all developed my entrepreneurial skillset.
I&E and my Duke Experience
Overall, participating in the I&E program was one of my favorite parts of my Duke experience. I gained hands-on, practical experience in diverse team projects. I challenged myself to venture outside my comfort zone and embrace learning opportunities such as the Hult Prize, regardless of the results. And finally, I was pleasantly surprised when the concepts I learned in my classes became applied to extracurricular involvements such as Duke Impact Investing Group – I’m sure that post-graduation, I will continue drawing from I&E classes and experiences.
In terms of my I&E pathway, I proposed the “Innovation in Global Health” pathway when I first applied to the program. While I am still interested in global health, my interests have evolved to be much broader during my time at Duke. I discovered an interest in social entrepreneurship, through involvements in the Hult Prize, Design for America, and global health projects. I also became drawn toward the investing side of startups through serving as Project Manager in Duke Impact Investing Group – I learned that I love to learn about startups and meet amazing founders! Finally, I realized that I thrive in the intersection of science and business. This led me to the strategy side of biotech, where I hope to work toward bringing innovative, life-saving drugs from the bench to bedside. Overall, while healthcare is still core thread among my interests, I’ve become much more open-minded to opportunities and am excited about where they take me.