Two Bomb Scares, Bupa Healthcare, a touch of serendipity & a feature on Reuters

As one of the Entrepreneurs on this year cohort of scholars it’s been such a full on few months and an amazing journey so far it isn’t natural for me to stop and reflect as I am always looking forward. That said with the start of 2013, the nominations for next year’s intake now fully open and the deadline drawing near I wanted to take the opportunity to share my story of my Marketing Academy Experience so far, some of the learnings and hopefully make a difference to those reading whatever your background or aspirations.

Where it all started… It was nearing the end of 2011 and I was at Microsoft’s offices, invited as one of the UK’s group of founders and entrepreneurs to attend an event Silicon Valley Comes to The UK that was spearheaded by a number of people including Linkedin Founder Reid Hoffman.

It was here I first met Gregor who was the Founder of Morphsuits – we were both put in the same group to talk about growing a business and the associated opportunity as well as challenges. There was then a bomb scare that forced us to evacuate and continue conversations on the streets of Victoria. Suffice to say Gregor and I continued to talk sharing about our different passions for business and it was then I first heard about The Marketing Academy.

A few weeks later on a sunday walk with a few friends including Emanuel who worked at Kraft Foods we were sharing what we were up to and Emanuel also then mentioned his involvement as a Scholar for The Marketing Academy. When I mentioned my chance meeting with Gregor it turns out that they are golf buddies and I felt that I was clearly in good company! The conversation continued over the coming months and when the nominations opened I was fortunate enough for them to both nominate me.

Nominations closed and the whole process for me as an entrepreneur was quite alien. As I founded my company The Beans Group when I was 22 I’ve not had a formal full time job. That said, following the process, I revisited my CV, got an endorsement from my board and got to work on preparing my 2 minute showcase. I had just 2 minutes to stand out, share, convince and in my mind hopefully inspire the selection panel to put me through to the next stage. I thought about getting help from other people but in the end created my showcase myself from scratch, which can be seen here:

I’m an Entrepreneur Think Different

After that it was no longer in my control and the waiting began until we heard if we were through to the next stage. Towards the end of March, I found out I had been successful through to the next round of phone interviews on the 2nd April, I was completely over the moon.

It was strange sitting on the other side of the table, as it were, answering questions about my strengths and weaknesses. I remember hoping that I’d shared enough and done everything to make a difference, at the same time knowing there was nothing I could do about it. All I knew is I really wanted this opportunity.

I then got the fateful email that I was again through to the next stage that involved various online quick thinking and psychometrics tests along with a final round of face to face interviews with a panel that included Craig McCoy, HR Director – Bupa and James Hart – SVP Global Marketing, AVG. The date was set; 26th April.

As I prepared, did the tests and mock interviewed, things continued and the Marketing Academy already seemed a source of great conversation. On the 17th April having been invited to speak at the University of Hertfordshire at an event called Internet Pioneers I was introduced to a reporter, Zak from Reuters to share my thoughts around current internet trends and being a web based company founder. As chance had it I offered him a lift to the station initially he declined but as I left the building Zak was still waiting for a taxi so ended up sharing the ride. As we neared his drop off point we were talking about up and coming plans and I shared the interview I was due to be having at the Bupa offices in London for the scholarship. Thinking nothing more of it I dropped him at the station. The following day I received a phone call thanking me for my lift and saying he had spoken to his editor and they were interested in running a piece about The Marketing Academy for Reuters TV.

Torn between if I should be recorded or not and for fear of not being accepted – I decided in the end it was an opportunity in itself and either way it would be a good opportunity for everyone involved.

The 26th April came round and I met Zak and filmed before the interview and then got a taxi over to Bupa House – arriving in good time only to discover the traffic and being caught up in yet another bomb scare this time more real and involving gas canisters!

To find out more about the interview and the process, as well as how I got on you can watch the Reuters Coverage here.

I know this is just the beginning of the story and really I just wanted to set the scene. Over the coming weeks I’ll be updating a number of posts about the boot camps, mentoring, coaching and the journey of the last few months but for now if you’re looking to develop yourself and have the right marketing experience find out more here. If you know someone that is a Marketing superstar already but perhaps they could do with some support in getting to the next stage of their career and broadening their horizons and experience time is running out please nominate them here.

Thanks for reading this far!

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About James Eder

James Eder is the Founder of The Beans Group www.thebeansgroup.com which helps brands and agencies understand, access and engage with young people. The Beans Group’s flagship website is www.studentbeans.com, which provides unique offers, entertainment and money saving advice for university students. studentbeans.com has signed up over 1 million registered users since launching in 2005 and every month +2.5 million students visit the website. We have also expanded to create morebeans.com, focusing on life after university. James became one of the youngest entrepreneurs in the UK when he founded the business at the age of 22, two weeks before graduating from university. Encouraging the next generation of entrepreneurs, James is an ambassador for Startup Loans. James is also a frequent speaker at conferences, schools and universities across the UK and internationally on subjects including marketing, entrepreneurship and establishing a successful brand. This also includes James being a guest lecturer at the University of Birmingham. In May 2012 out of 500 people James was selected as part of a group of 30 as a Marketing Academy Scholar. James is passionate about continually learning and giving back always on the lookout for people to join the ever growing team, now over 35 people based in North West London.
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