From ideas to impact: my entrepreneurial journey during the Oxford MBA

3 minute read

Embarking on the entrepreneurial path

Becoming an entrepreneur was a dream I had nurtured for years. Building and creating small applications, and witnessing their real-world impact, has always been thrilling for me. So, when I was accepted into the Oxford MBA programme, I knew I wanted to focus on entrepreneurship and formalize my education in this field. However, the journey wasn’t as straightforward as I had imagined. Initially, despite the informative lectures and networking opportunities, I found myself losing the spark for entrepreneurship. The academic environment felt too theoretical, and the connections I made seemed distant from my entrepreneurial aspirations. It was then that I decided to dive into a new project, leveraging the vast Oxford ecosystem to learn by doing.

Mēin: the one-stop skincare platform

Moving from Japan to the UK presented several challenges, one of which was navigating the overwhelming selection of skincare products. The sheer volume of information online, combined with diverse opinions from articles and influencers, made it difficult to find the right product. This experience inspired me to create Mēin, a platform designed to simplify skincare choices using machine learning and computer vision. By answering a brief questionnaire and taking a selfie, users receive a detailed skin analysis report and a match score for various products. After receiving personalized recommendations they can then purchase the products and their recommended routine through our platform. Developing a quick minimum viable product was an exciting process, but we soon faced challenges in bringing it to market and executing effective marketing strategies. Fortunately, an opportunity to refine the project was just around the corner: the Entrepreneurship Project, a course integral to my MBA.


The Entrepreneurship Project

The Entrepreneurship Project, run by the Entrepreneurship Centre, became my favorite course during the MBA. It involved forming a team of five MBA students to work collaboratively on a business idea. Our team was incredibly diverse, with members from North America, Europe, East Asia, and Southeast Asia, each bringing unique expertise in sales, marketing, and the personal care industry. This diverse knowledge base was crucial for the development of Mēin. Throughout the project, we received invaluable insights from entrepreneurs, including Lars Rasmussen, the founder of Google Maps, and benefited from the guidance of our mentors and experts across all business areas including legal, tech and finance. By the end of the course, we had built a solid foundation, achieved our first sales, and were ready to take Mēin to the next level.

Expanding horizons: taking Mēin further

The entrepreneurial ecosystem at Oxford is dynamic and filled with opportunities. We were fortunate to join the Oxford University Innovation (OUI) incubator, participate in workshops led by the student-run incubator OX1, attend events organized by the university’s Entrepreneurship Hub, EnSpire, and take part in the Entrepreneurship Centre’s Oxford Venture Builder. One of the most memorable experiences was participating in the Oxford Demo Night by EnSpire. This event allowed startups to showcase their innovations, interact with potential customers and investors, and receive real-time feedback. We were thrilled to win the competition, which brought us grants and additional support.

Reflection on the journey

Reflecting on my entrepreneurial journey during the MBA, I realize it was much more than an academic pursuit. It provided real-world experiences, facilitated meaningful connections, and was incredibly enjoyable. The challenges and triumphs of developing Mēin, combined with the support of the Oxford community, have been instrumental in shaping my path as an entrepreneur. This journey reaffirmed my passion for entrepreneurship and equipped me with the skills and network to continue building impactful solutions in the future.

Oxford MBA