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Our Sixth Form Visit to the Creative Destruction Lab at the Said Business School, University of Oxford.

A group of 12 Sixth formers had the amazing opportunity to dive in head first and be able to experience and observe first-hand the mentoring of upcoming new business ventures selected for the Space programme at the Creative Destruction Lab in the Said Business School, University of Oxford. Amaneet Thind shares her experience:

"We were based at the Thatcher Business Education Centre. It was an amazing day to be part of as we met inspirational figures including Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to walk in space and operate the Canadarm, as well as a former Commander of the International Space Centre. We took part in small group sessions as we observed the mentors and their interactions with ventures.

On arrival we were introduced to the CDL staff, briefed about the upcoming day and the need for confidentiality. After breakfast (the café was another highlight!), we went straight into the small meeting group sessions where, in individual rooms, a scientist, entrepreneur, investor and operator would talk to representatives of ventures from all around the world who had been selected to be part of the Space programme. We witnessed mentoring of the new businesses and them being challenged about their business development and objectives.

We then all met Chris Hadfield, as he gave us some advice and tips to be able to achieve our full potential as well as telling us why and how he became the iconic and influential figure he is today. We took photos with him including a fun one for International Women’s Day to celebrate women in STEM producing world changing and innovative work in the name of science.

Then, starstruck, we went in for the LRD – Large Room Discussion, where all the ventures were going to stand up and the mentors discuss each companies work and development in this programme. This was if not the most anticipated moment of the day as we were going to introduce ourselves as sixth formers to a room full of well over 100 people including mentors, investors, successful entrepreneurs, postgraduates, and upcoming world changing companies. It may sound intimidating, but our audience was welcoming, full of praise, and supportive as we each stood up and gave a short introduction as to who we were, why we came and what we were interested in.

Mentors unpicked each venture, their aims, objectives, risks, advice, and future plans as all were making notes for a final decision. The whole process was like an experience like no other. We were shown in depth processes and ideas that we may not have been able to see had we not taken this opportunity.

Post lunch (which was a delicious buffet!) discussions were still ongoing, but we had our own discussion to go to where we met a CCO’s of one of the ventures, and an MBA student from the University of Oxford. They shared their advice and experiences, as well as their varied career paths. In short, find your passion and run with it.

Finally, we toured the Said Business School where we walked around the beautifully made architectural structure as well as learning a few facts about the history, the development and opening of the doors of this Business School in 2002.
This trip showed us all, especially women interested in STEM or business-related careers, that we are the future generation and by taking opportunities like this we can find crucial and helpful advice which can be used in our own journeys as we help form out career paths.

To witness these conversations, meet these inspiring people from all around the world and be immersed in a day like this, was a truly unique opportunity.