It was a different Friday’s evening - as I traveled 20km in busy traffic from Beijing’s CBD area (Chaoyang) to its Silicon Valley (Zhongguancun). This time I did not come for any business dinner rather I came for the start of Stanford Ignite program, a mini-MBA for entrepreneurs, at Peking University (PKU).
As I walked from PKU's entrance to Stanford Center where the program was held, the city noise gradually diminished and stunning views began to appear - a peaceful lake alongside with many trees and a pagoda. Somehow, they reinforced each other to create a "Zen" atmosphere.
SCPKU sits deep inside the campus. It was an architectural masterpiece mixing with Chinese and Western styles. Simply by staying there, I could easily feel inspired. It was full of state-of-the-art facilities, especially its immersive tele-conferencing technologies.
Having a group of 40 entrepreneurial people in the same room guaranteed that there would be a great amount of energy. However, what intrigued me from the first day was the enormous interests and energy coming from the other side of the world - Stanford GSB faculty. Though we saw each other only through two big screens, it did not stop the continual interactions between both sides, thanks to the state-of-the-art facility. There was constant exchange of opinions, and the lectures were very engaging.
Great lecturers made learning effortless. From one lecture to another, block by block, I found myself easily forming a business-centered framework. Many credits to the GSB faculty - they told stories and jokes; played music and waved hands; smiled and laughed. It turned out that those memorable moments effectively glued the hard pieces of knowledge together into something solid. It was indeed a very enjoyable and satisfying learning experience.
In addition to the lectures, a large part of the program was the team venture project where five people worked on a venture idea together and pitched it to real investors at the end of the program. I learned a tremendous amount from this experience. Having five strangers from diffrent backgrounds coming together to suddenly work on a new project with tight deadlines was a huge challenge. These challenges also meant great opportunities to learn. The program set up weekly milestones for each team to reach. Those milestones were essentially project breakdowns that we could adopt to our own ventures. Weekly team check-ins and assigned mentors provided us feedback on areas we could improve and work on. As a team, we have achieved so much from the beginning to the end. Despite all the other excellent teams, we, in the end, won first place backed up by GSR venture!
Before I joined the Ignite Program, I was a full-time, solo entrepreneur. I brought my venture idea to the Ignite in hope of finding potential business partners, polishing my venture idea, and pitching it to potential VCs. With the exception of finding a business partner, I have achieved all of my targets. I would definitely recommend Ignite to other who are similarly interested around me.
Ignite Program has taught me a great deal (about business, teamwork etc.). Nevertheless, I think the core of Ignite is its people. When I close my eyes, what I remember are energetic lecturers, friendly classmates, always-smiling facilitators, inspiring speakers, and lovely team members. I can share all I learned to others around me, but they can’t get the rich experience that I have unless they join the program by themselves. Welcome to the Ignite family.
About the author: Zilong Wang is founder and CEO of Liblux Technology, a company that develops "interactive video" based social application for generation Z. He obtained PhD (Optoelectronics) and BEng (Electronics Engineering) from University of Southampton, UK.