The Rejection Didn’t Matter, I Had Already Gained So Much – Value in the Process
Updated: Dec 24, 2019
From September 2018 I had begun my final year at university. This meant that as well as having pressure to perform well at uni, there was also the pressure to figure out what I was going to do after I graduate. This pressure was felt amongst all of my peers.
Through my past experience interning at a corporate one summer and volunteering with a social enterprise in another, I had an idea of what type of work I was attracted to, which you can read about here.
As well as applying for corporate graduate roles, I was also fond of the idea of doing something different, but I had no idea what that looked like. I was introduced to a programme called the New Entrepreneurs Foundation (NEF), which aims to build the entrepreneurs of the future. I didn’t know if I wanted to be an entrepreneur back in November 2018, but this was definitely an opportunity that I wanted to explore.
The NEF application process included interviews, online tests and an assessment centre selection day. The preparation required for the interview process forced me think about my reasons and motivations for wanting to be an entrepreneur. It made me reflect on how I’ve been entrepreneurial in the past and to explore what areas of entrepreneurship I am most attracted to. It also made me think about what skills are required to be an entrepreneur, which made me realise the areas in which I needed to improve.
By this time, around 3 months had past and by merely thinking about the reality of training to be an entrepreneur made me recognise that this is something that I could actually do.
Fortunately, I made it through the interviews and was invited to participate in the selection day. The selection day included more interviews and an entrepreneurial group task, which we had to prepare for in advance. This made me think more holistically about how to build a sound business model as well as to come up with an innovative idea to solve a challenge I had no expertise in – i.e. to think like an entrepreneur.
At the selection day I was surrounded by high level diverse people of all ages. There was a Facebook employee, a junior Olympic gold medallist, an app creator, someone who has her own podcast and a retired professional athlete just to mention a few. It was an exciting prospect to know that, if selected, I would be spending my year with a community of people of this calibre. I know that surrounding myself with people with more expertise and experience than myself would not only accelerate my learning but also force me to step up my game.
Although challenging, I thoroughly enjoyed the day, especially interacting with the diverse, creative, ambitious fellow participants. It was at this point I was convinced that creating my own career is something that I wanted to pursue.
The competition was high and a few days later I got the call explaining that I wasn’t quite ready to be on the programme. Although it wasn’t the news I wanted, I came off the phone feeling positive. At this stage the rejection didn’t matter, I had already gained so much.
The lesson I learned here was that by spotting an opportunity and by purely going through a process, which forced me to think in a way that I wouldn’t have otherwise has shifted the way I look at my future career. So, whether I got accepted onto the programme or not, the shift in my mind had already occurred, which is what’s invaluable.