We spoke to recent business graduate Morgan about all things uni, life, side hustles and more. Read about how Morgan embraced every opportunity that knocked at her door and what she is up to now.
Tell us about yourself and your interest in technology and business.
My interest in technology started in primary school where we were lucky enough to have multimedia classes equipped with Apple computers. Fast forward to university and this interest has grown into a potential career.
What’s been your greatest achievement during your uni studies?
My greatest achievement is probably coming second place in the Alpha Innovation Contest. I won $5000 and met many innovative people who are doing some really creative projects. I also made connections in my field of marketing. Mark Da Silva from Concept Marketing has been the best mentor I could possibly have asked for. Concept Marketing have been really awesome in helping me strip back my idea to have a clear picture of my brand and the way I want to move forward from there.
Tell us about the Alpha Innovation Experience and your idea.
The Alpha Innovation Contest gave individuals or groups the opportunity to pitch an innovative business model for the chance to win monetary prizes and the potential for investment. I entered as an individual.
I presented a social media, ecommerce hybrid app called Mirror Mirror. If you think about an Instagram-style app which is exclusively fashion related – that’s essentially what Mirror Mirror is. It gives women the opportunity to social-shop in an online environment and removes other clutter found on Instagram and Pinterest. It’s a space to post or save all your inspiration and share that with your friends, as well as maintain an Instagram-like profile. It can also be used to shop all of your favourite brands by either searching the shop or directly from your feed.
I was really blown away by the calibre of entries, and it made me feel really proud to have been placed second! I received a $5,000 prize for coming in second place.
What was the best part about the contest?
I have been working on my business idea for some time now but hadn’t really thought seriously about it. The Alpha Content pushed me to refine my business plan and really knuckle down on getting a pitch together. From here, I feel way more prepared to go and pitch to more investors. I met some awesome, like-minded people and it really opened up opportunities for networking, investment and mentoring.
I’d definitely recommend other students to enter contests like Alpha to push themselves and gain the experience and opportunity to listen to other people’s ideas. Just presenting in front of the judges – although nerve-racking – was a great experience to build confidence going forward. To me, it was “Why not?” There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain by putting yourself out there.
How did your studies help to prepare you for the real world?
Being amongst some crazy technical innovations being pitched – I think my strength was in my business model and having a marketing and finance background from my Murdoch degrees probably helped me in this aspect. I also went on exchange to CSUMB (which is just below San Francisco) to study entrepreneurship and I was definitely able to apply content from that to develop my business model.
Why did you choose to study at Murdoch?
I decided to switch courses, after previously studying engineering and finance at another WA university. Murdoch stood out for its strong sense of community. It is truly apparent that the teaching staff are invested in their students. They go above and beyond to engage, help and build strong relationships with their students, which makes it a lot easier to stay focused and ambitious.
I [also] specifically chose to move to Murdoch so that I could study abroad in California. Studying abroad in California was really awesome and gave me the opportunity to study entrepreneurship just south of Silicon Valley. I had really great teachers and learnt a lot about the intricacies of getting a start-up business off the ground.
One of the best parts was meeting incredible like-minded people from all over the world. We worked together to come up with new innovative business models, while being mentored every step of the way. My time on exchange really grew my confidence in my own ideas and a game plan in how to execute them.
What practical and real-world opportunities did you experience whilst at Murdoch?
I participated in extra-curricular programs which have helped me gain practical experience.
I was a part of the On My Feet Social Enterprise Program, which gave students the opportunity to build business plans while raising money for people dealing with homelessness. This program enabled me to connect with successful people in Perth’s business environment and build my networking skills.
I also entered the Start-Up Challenge while I was on exchange in California. This helped me to develop my pitching skills and [gave me] insight into entrepreneurship and start-up culture. My experience at the Start-Up Challenge was also enhanced by entering the Alpha Innovation Contest at Murdoch.
What did you hope to achieve at the end of your course?
I hoped to have the skills to start my own business and I believe Murdoch has provided that for me. I want to work in an innovative environment, while using my marketing and business skills. I have actually just been accepted into the 2019 IBM graduate program, so I am super excited to see where that will take me.
What tips would you give other budding entrepreneurs?
I don’t feel like I’m experienced enough to give out tips, but I think it’s important not to be afraid to ask for help. I’ve been lucky enough to get some great advice from successful people, but also sometimes all you need is a fresh perspective.
Another one of the biggest things I’ve learned so far is to really simplify your idea and build a strong brand. That was the difference between my idea not even placing at the Start-up Challenge and coming second place at the Alpha Innovation Contest. Explaining a fashion-related product to a room full of old men is a challenging task. You need to demonstrate the commercial opportunity, and I think my marketing degree has really helped me to achieve that.
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