Author Archives: Ana-Gabriela Popa

23 May 2018 - 10:20 am Being an enterprise intern – a year in review

This year, whenever I met someone knew, the conversations went like this:

Person A: So what do you do?

Me: Well, I’m doing a full time Masters, but I also have three part time jobs.

Person A: Oh my, three jobs?

Me: Yes, but I don’t work a lot of hours overall. I still have time to study and to occasionally go to the cinema and theatre.

Person A: So what are the jobs?

Me: Well I work as an ambassador, I work in a coffee shop and I also work as an Enterprise Intern.

Person A: What’s that? The intern thing, I mean.

And this would be the moment when I would have to take a deep breath because this job is not a one-sentence description type of job. Even though I could technically describe it through one sentence: developing and supporting projects. But what does that sentence mean exactly?

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14 May 2018 - 2:50 pm Challenger banks, orange credit cards and Monzo

When I got my first Monzo card

Aside my Masters, I have three part time jobs (which accumulate to less hours than you would think) but they help with paying the rent (and the cinema and theatre) . One of my employers is Coffee Revolution in the SU. And whenever I’m on the till taking orders, I start noticing more and more orange credit cards. At first, I would ask: is that a Monzo card? And when met with a positive response, I would get really excited to meet a Monzo user. Now, it’s just becoming the order of the day. But what is Monzo do you ask?

Monzo is a challenger bank and a tech startup. It’s a newly established enterprise that aims to compete with the longer established banks in the country (Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds). It distinguishes itself through its focus on technology and online data. Monzo is an app-bank. Transactions happen online, the app has interesting features such as freezing your card if you’ve lost it, or saving money into separate pots. It also has free costs to use abroad.

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26 April 2018 - 2:25 pm Originals – How non conformists change the world

Originals - Adam Grant

Originals – Adam Grant

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” George Bernard Shaw

This is the opening quote for Adam Grant’s book – “Originals – How non conformists change the world”. “Originals” is a great read. It’s full of catchy metaphors, analogies, anecdotes and stories.

Of course, whilst most of the book is based on existing research, it still pertains the subjective opinion of the author and it is in no way an academic book with contrasting viewpoints. Rather, it is a book about what Grant learned about originality in all his years as a social reseacher. And I would recommend it as a read.

Recommendations, however, don’t tell us much about books apart from the fact that they were enjoyed by the people who recommended them. They might hint to the interests of the recommenders as well. What one needs in order to decide to read a book is a bit of a sneak peak, an insight or some highlights. So, if you’re wondering whether Originals is worth a read or not, why not read the following highlights and decide if any sparks your reading interest.

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22 March 2018 - 9:23 am DiversiTea – Taking tea culture to a whole new level

Minty camomile blend – DiversiTea

When you first meet Ted and James, the two co-founders of DiversiTea, you can easily mistake them for two regular Sheffield students. And that couldn’t be closer to the truth, but with a twist: they are two recent graduates from both Universities that decided to start up their own business.

Ted studied Law at The University of Sheffield. He is a beverage enthusiast. He used to woras a bartender and has a barista certificate. He’s more of the creative, strategy and operations person. James studied Network Management at Sheffield Hallam University. He’s more of the IT, software developer and the person responsible of the accounts. They complement each other well.

They first met in Start Up Weekend, an event organised by The University of Sheffield Enterprise Zone, where they came up with different interesting business ideas, including a gyro cup (that wouldn’t spill) and an ice tea company. This connection and similarity in thinking gave them the opportunity to reflect on tea culture in the UK. Continue reading “DiversiTea – Taking tea culture to a whole new level” »

27 February 2018 - 11:41 am Lessons from drafting a business plan

Developing a business idea can be a lot of fun and excitement. But it can also be a lot of toil and tears when it comes to writing it up in a business plan. I wish I would talk from real experience, from actually starting a business myself. But actually, I talk from another kind of experience, an imagination game (well, it’s not so much a game as it is an assignment for my studies but anyway).

One of my modules requires me to work in a group to develop a business idea finalised with writing up a business plan and proposal. The creative brainstorming part was great: we looked at problems in the world, at our vision and values, at our impact on society and so on. We had a pretty good idea at the start but we ended up with this complex mammoth of a concept that seemed to tick all of the USPs on the market. And we were quite excited about this idea, until we started writing up our business plan.

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31 January 2018 - 9:56 am CHANGE – Women in Leadership

CHANGE - Women in Leadership course (poster)

CHANGE – Women in Leadership course (poster)

One shiny morning, I woke up to the realisation that I have never tried listening to podcasts before on my way to work or school. So, I took my phone out and I started browsing through an endless list of options, when I discovered Revisionist History by Malcolm Gladwell. Malcolm Gladwell is an exceptional storyteller and the very first story he shared was about a woman, named Elizabeth Thompson, a British painter.But not just a painter, since Elizabeth Thompson is the first woman to be nominated for election for the Royal Academy, as you might expect, a male-dominated world. However, whilst this was a great feat for women around the world and art in general, Gladwell argues that the appreciation of the Roll Call painting, that brought Elizabeth’s fame and her nomination, has also brought her downfall. Why? You might ask. How can her talent be at fault?

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28 November 2017 - 11:06 am Millennials are killing social enterprise… Oh, wait…

Dear reader, you might be familiar with the classification of generations, or, at least, you might vaguely be aware of the existence of a Generation X, called the Baby Boomers, and their children, Generation Y or the Millennials – those born between the 1980s and the 2000s. We’re closely going into Generation Z – the post Millennials. But, since these latter ones are still in schools, and Generation Y is not yet obsolete, we are going to focus in this blog on the Millennials and the intriguing aspect of their ‘killings’.

Millennials have been accused in too many articles of killing something, being art, brunch, the career ladder, restaurant chains, politics, beer, food etc. They have also been accused of being too self centred, too lazy, too privileged with their avocados and Eggs Benedict . Too technology focused, too entitled, too DIFFERENT. And truth to be told, we are different. But the question is: different compared to what?

Most parents and children who have conflicting opinions blame them on something called the generation gap. A difference between generations. Children believe their parents to be narrow minded and obsolete. Parents believe their children to be rebels and disrespectful to authority and experience. Who is right? All generations create their set of norms that they respect, all generations should have the freedom to enact on their adopted norms. These norms are susceptible to change with a new generation. Change is positive for society! But older generations might not want to accept these changes. Conflict is created. Judgement is created. Accusations are created.

Screenshot of my search starting with ‘Millennials are…’

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30 January 2017 - 3:57 pm The role of perseverance in Leadership

My Campaign Manager, Jas, had an extraordinary patience with me. She’d film over and over again my campaign video until she felt it seemed right. She had faith in me, as she had faith in the previous International Officer that she campaigned for, and she was right, because I won. Winning was the result of perseverance and the beginning of a journey of perseverance and this is what I am going to talk about. I will jump over my personal experience of running as I have already written something on it in another USE blog . Thus, I will delve directly into the world of Students’ Union Leadership.

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26 May 2016 - 3:08 pm When you’re tired of FAMOUS failures

We have all Google-d at some point “famous failures”. We have all craved to see that reassuring video that tells us: success is not the exquisite privilege of  a tiny fraction of the world’s population, famous people around the world have failed and have failed, probably, bigger than us – the ordinary. And that makes us happy and complacent in our tiny lives – the simple reassuring, once-in-a-while-to-be-seen video which says: no matter how much stuff life throws at you, it is all rainbows and butterflies compared with what they lived. That makes us cope with the lives we live.

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25 April 2016 - 1:11 pm The Social Entrepreneur – it’s a change of lifestyle, not of status

After delving a bit into the concept of social entrepreneurship, I have learned one mesmerising fact: it makes the world bigger and smaller at the same time.

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  • About the author

    Ana-Gabriela Popa

    Ana-Gabriela Popa

    MSc Leadership and Management student at The University of Sheffield. Enterprise Intern. Global Citizen. Feminist. Avid reader. Series binge-watcher. Formerly International Students' Officer at Sheffield Students' Union, Chair of International Students' Committee, Vice-President Marketing at AIESEC Sheffield, Widening Participation Intern at USE. BA International Relations and Politics graduate.