As a full-time MBA student, I expect to be in the ‘hot’ seat. Yet somehow on November 7, 2017 the tables turned and I found myself interviewing one of the top executives in Ireland. Thomas Strimbu and I produced a video-interview for the Michael Smurfit MBA Entrepreneurship Society which will be released along with this blog post. I’d like to take you behind the scenes and share my experience of preparing for and taking an interview.
It all started on one evening in late September when we – members of a newly formed Entrepreneurship Society – put our heads together to brainstorm events for the year ahead. After 30 minutes of talk and laughter, a group of us, including Spilios, Thomas, David, Ayush, and I agreed to go with the idea of ‘video interviews’. I instantly liked the idea and volunteered to be the first one to take it live.
At that time I had only been in Ireland for less than a month and did not have a big list of contacts. I did not have any lists at all! I had only met two people outside of the campus and both of them were very kind and generous to me. Kindness and generosity, as I discovered later in my MBA program, are the common traits shared by leaders in general and entrepreneurs in particular. Being conscious of the fact that the audience for our project primarily consists of UCD students, I decided to approach a UCD Alumnus.
Eager to inspire and learn more about entrepreneurship, I prepared a list of 15 questions on various topics from artificial intelligence and blockchain to competition and business models. Later on in the process, I reduced the complexity by introducing a structure using 5 simple topics; the guest, the company, the industry, the standard question (i.e. what is entrepreneurship?), and closing questions / remarks.
Meanwhile, I approached our guest by email asking for 60 minutes of his time for a small Q&A for the Society. To my luck, he kindly agreed. We exchanged a few more emails to set the date and time. A month later, the Entrepreneurship crew ‘landed’ in one of the landmarks of Dublin within a few steps away from River Liffey and nearby tourist attractions, such as Temple Bar.
We took a few pictures outside of the building and a few inside. We were given a spacious conference room for the interview with a ‘floor’ and a ‘balcony’. The former is a custodian of the past; pictures, artefacts, and even an old quotation board. The latter is a key to the future; the stage, the staircase, and the opening bell. Remember Zuckerberg ringing the opening bell at NASDAQ? I believe almost every entrepreneur who dreams big uses an opening bell moment to visualise the success.
Now we know where it crosses the finish line or at least where it passes the break-even point. But where do you start? How do you find that inspiration? What do you read? What do you watch out for? To these and many other questions we have got the answers in the upcoming video. So, stay tuned.
To watch the video interview click here
Zarina Konkasheva, Full-Time MBA 2017-2018