Andrew Gold followed the Entrepreneurship minor to help realise his future dream

Andrew Gold, third-year student in the Data Science and Knowledge Engineering department, followed a minor in Entrepreneurship to realise his future dream. Read why he found the practical assignments particularly useful.

Is your bachelor’s programme the best start for becoming an entrepreneur?
“Yes, I think so. I chose Data Science and Knowledge Engineering particularly because I like puzzles and I like to solve problems and statistics. I decided to do the entrepreneurship minor because both of my parents are business owners and I grew up in that environment.”

You’re 27 and before starting your studies you worked in Los Angeles for a couple of years. Was that work experience useful during your minor?
”Well, after working for other people I found out I’d rather die than work for somebody else. I had a great internship last summer, at a company in Heerlen. A fantastic company, it was great, but I never want to do this again. The saying is that entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours per week. And I think this fits my personality. I think the Entrepreneurship minor is the most education that you need. The rest can be practical: you learn it as you go. I am really glad I did the minor, but not necessarily for the reasons people might expect. Academically speaking and theoretically speaking, the material was good, but I have learned the most from the assignments in which we had to go through all the steps of forming a business. Also the projects pretending you were in front of venture capitals pitching your business ideas were beyond worth it. That was fantastic. But me discussing in a group the theory of running a business, nah… But the projects, the group projects and presentations were exactly what I was looking for.”

What kind of students took the minor?
“Most students were from the School of Business and Economics but there were also students from the Maastricht Science Programme, Data Science and Knowledge Engineering and one student from the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience.”

Would you say that everybody who did this minor was thinking of creating their own business?
“I would say they were either thinking of starting their own business or they wanted to find out whether or not they were the type of starting their own business. They were exploring it. The minor takes 6 months, so it’s a good practice. Maybe 25% of the students were absolutely confident they would start their own business, 50% were on the fence - maybe they would, maybe not - and the remaining 25% were not sure if entrepreneurship was something for them.”

Who gave the minor? Entrepreneurs or professors?
“One professor was the theoretical academic, but his theory courses were not my favourite.
The other professor ran his own business and travelled around the world. His courses were about social and sustainable entrepreneurship. You had to build a social, sustainable business. His theory was based on real world examples. I did a case on the outdoor clothing company Patagonia. Not only are they sustainable in their operations, but also all their materials are sustainable. They are one of the world’s leading companies in second and third-degree sustainability. They try to minimise their impact. That was a really interesting case. Patagonia created a system for managing and identifying their impact on the environment. Learning about that was insightful. During the other courses we were only talking about business models, which I already knew. After the minor they asked us for feedback and we all said we wanted more practical work and hopefully they take this into consideration next year.

Would you do it again?
For sure. They exercises were fun. Working on our business plan was a good exercise.
And also the sustainable level of the entrepreneurship minor was a good exercise. The final paper was great. We had to pick a region, analyse its entrepreneurial and economic environment and write how an entrepreneur could start up a business in this environment. I chose North and South Holland, the Randstad area, because that’s the region where I want to start up my business. I needed to analyse all the opportunities, subsidies, had to find out where all the money is. I got graded for this, so it was a good reason to act and do it. This was the assignment that I got the most out of. Because now I know 100 resources to go to when I want to start my own business. So that was fantastic! That was my favourite part, although it was part of a course I didn’t like…  But, as any entrepreneur will tell you: you can sit and read about it, but you just have to do it!