Nivi Ranjit, a third year Arts student at the University of Waterloo, discusses her change in educational path from healthcare, to majoring in economics and how the Enterprise Co-op (E Co-op) program with the Conrad School of Entrepreneurship and Business is helping to "start-up" her future.
Throughout high school and my first year of university, I was completely invested in going into the healthcare field and becoming a surgeon. I had a full plan: I was going to complete my bachelor’s degree in biology, go to med school, do my residency and follow the path that a surgeon must follow. The classes in first-year biology were not how I expected them to be, though.
In the second semester, I truly struggled, and I was just stressed 24/7. I realized I wasn’t actually enjoying any of the content as I used to, and as a result, I was doing poorly in my courses.
Over the summer before my second year, I was having conversations with my father, who owns a business of his own, when I discovered my interest in business and entrepreneurship. I decided to switch programs from biology to something more related to business – that’s how I ended up in economics.
I didn’t have any previous knowledge or experience with entrepreneurship, so I decided to do something related to it for my next co-op term. This is when I discovered the Enterprise Co-op (E Co-op) program with the Conrad School. I had a business idea that I figured I would apply with, and sure enough, I got in.
Because of my previous step into the healthcare space, I had a certain bias towards it. So, when coming up with a business idea, I immediately thought of something within this space.
The basic idea was to create an app that could connect patients with their doctors faster with the aim to shorten wait times in healthcare. Although I thought this could work at the time, I now realize it was too complex of an idea, especially for my first start-up. My conversations with various alumni advisors in E Co-op also affected how I look back at it now.
After the first month of my E Co-op term, I decided to take a step back from this venture idea to spend the rest of the term learning about entrepreneurship, to find a venture idea that I might be better suited for and that I am still interested in.
Thanks to Wayne Chang's guidance and advice, I learned a lot during the term and by the last month, found a venture idea that I am confident about pursuing. It is still early days and just a seed of an idea, but I feel so much better about it and I have a more realistic plan about how to go about starting it.
The E Co-op program really helped me connect with various people, and also learn how to approach beginning a start-up.
Switching my path was challenging at first but I believe I made the right decision. Business is the right path for me and I feel more motivated to work, learn and grow.