Similarities between academia and business? Lessons learned from Health Startup Day 2019.

On Friday, I attended Health Startup Day 2019. An event organized by Health Innovation Initiative, a group of graduate students from the Faculty of Medicine at McGill interested in building a community of guidance for those interested in careers outside of research.

This year’s event focussed on entrepreneurship started with a business model workshop. Presented by Renjie Butalid, the Associate Direction of the Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship, it was a quick lesson in business basics. For those of us in the audience with no business background, it was a simple and effective manner to get a clear grasp on fundamental concepts to consider. Followed by keynote talks and a panel discussion that showcased a wide array of Montreal based organizations and their founders, the event delivered on its promise of providing information and resources to graduate students.

From the discussions that emerged, it occurred to me that being an entrepreneur can be at times, similar to being a grad student in that you are responsible for creating your own success. I may not own a company, but I certainly own my thesis!

Here are some tips for success, although introduced in a business context, are just as relevant to academia and graduate student life:

  1. Define the culture of your team. Having a diverse team is important as different  backgrounds and experience are complementary.
  2. Know the processes to make things happen. Essentially, how to get done what you want to get done.
  3. Understand the purpose of your work. Why are you doing this? This will give you something to come back to when feeling uninspired.
  4. Value yourself and what your bring. Your past experiences, work and knowledge will help you with what you are working on now. This sometimes means distilling your knowledge in a simple way to those around you.


Banner image by GradLife McGill instagrammer @steezsister

Bottom image from Health Innovation Initiative Facebook event page

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