Coming into the MBA, I had a clear plan: flesh out my business idea, pitch to some investors, get some fundraising and move back to Tanzania. It was easier said than done. As a passionate scuba diver, I saw three beautiful Tanzanian islands that were not interconnected but had amazing diving. My solution was to connect the islands through a yachting excursion that focuses on diving.
During my first MBA pitch, I was asked: why do we come all the way to Tanzania? Why are you going capex (capital expenditure) heavy? Where is the impact here? I didn’t have all the answers but my fellow MBAs had some ideas.
One peer suggested – ‘why don’t you do a trial trip?’
I got all excited and conducted my beta trip. Over a week-long diving excursion, my classmates witnessed the beauty of Tanzania and returned as champions for my startup, Blue Escapes.
Another peer joined my entrepreneurship project and said, ‘whatever you do don’t buy the boat.’ Thus began the journey to transition to an asset-light model. We became a marine connector, bringing together catamaran renters, dive centres and tour guides, for a unique experience.
Seeing my affection for the marine, a friend nudged me to reach out to the wider Oxford marine network. The world of conservation suddenly became wide open. We started brainstorming scientific research and reef restoration on our trips.
Somewhere along the way, I lost motivation for the idea. My passion was diving, not hospitality. Marketing was not the most fun job. My startup didn’t fit the venture capital model.
A friend reminded me, ‘your passion is diving and curating a unique experience. Trust the process and stick with the journey.’
So why am I telling you all this? Entrepreneurship is hard and it is ok to be demotivated from time to time. Celebrate small milestones and set accountability partners. Remember your true goal and focus on learning and process rather than outcome. Most importantly, allow your fantastic classmates to be your advisors, motivators and caretakers. The Oxford MBA is truly about your transformation with the help of the exceptional people around you.
You may be wondering, what’s happening with Blue Escapes? Well, as I was working on the Blue, I was reminded of the green. With 250 dives and 30 safaris under my belt, I love Tanzania’s wildlife as much as I love its marine life. From the Great Migration in Serengeti to the resident whale sharks in Mafia, we are embarking on a mission to connect and conserve the wild and the marine. We are in the midst of curating the eco journey of a lifetime.