Graduates from Aston Business School have gone on to work for big names like Google, PwC, and BMW, equipped with the tools to climb to the higher tiers in their career.
But what about those who want to launch a business venture of their own?
Aston MBA graduate, Gaurav Singhal, saw business school as an opportunity to develop his understanding of more international business practices, with the view of taking his own home décor business––G Decor––onto the international stage.
He enrolled in 2014 and hasn’t looked back.
Why Gaurav pursued an MBA in the UK
Gaurav is from India, and had plenty of practice running his own business before he enrolled at Aston. He was always interested in traditional business, the old-fashioned barter system. His first business in India focused on manufacturing and exporting door handles from India to the US and the UK.
As a business owner in India, he began to realize that global boundaries are really shrinking. International borders simply aren’t what they used to be; trading between countries is quicker, cheaper, and less complicated. He wanted to expand beyond his home country.
“I knew I needed to upgrade my knowledge to understand different cultures and working styles to effectively access international trade,” Gaurav states.
He decided that taking the time to move to a different country and really immerse himself in a different culture was the right move for him.
“I realized I could really enhance my entrepreneurial skills by enrolling at Aston,” he continues. “I was excited by the international and experiential diversity the school offers. I was in the classroom with students from all over the world, all with different backgrounds in manufacturing, property, IT, and consulting.”
Merging cultures in the MBA classroom
Initially, the MBA classroom was something of a culture shock, Gaurav admits. Everyone had a different approach to business and it was through collaborative project work that he grew used to working in diverse work situations.
It was during the MBA that he ideated plans for G Decor, and began working on a plan to develop the business on the international stage.
“I loved having the opportunity to analyze and evaluate my business plan for G Decor and apply what I was learning in my lectures, peer group sessions, and speak to some of the UK’s leading company directors through networking events hosted by the school,” he recalls.
Although Gaurav had moved to the UK and joined Aston with a focus on developing his international business plan, the social aspect was a welcome surprise, and went a long way to preparing him for networking on a bigger level.
“The true MBA experience isn’t just going from one lecture to another,” Gaurav explains. “It’s socializing during break times, group study sessions, and going for dinners with your classmates. It ended up being incredibly rewarding.”
Taking the business global
Gaurav says he’s always had a passion for home decoration and interiors, and is confident his time at Aston has helped him build his business into more of an international empire. Six years after the launch of his latest business, G Decor deals with customers across Europe, the US, and soon Australia.
Headquartered in the UK, Gaurav has settled after his time at Aston, and is enjoying operating his business outside of India. The business has over 300 registered designs and is growing quickly across Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.
“I love the opportunities I have to be creative through the business. We invest a lot of time into designing products with natural materials,” he explains.
But what does it take to make it as an entrepreneur?
“The biggest misunderstanding is that you need to have a lot of money to be a successful entrepreneur. And that’s not true. You can make it happen through investors, and so on,” Gaurav concludes.
“But I think the most important thing to have in order to be a successful entrepreneur is the right mindset. You need to constantly be evaluating and evolving yourself and your business. You need to be a problem-solver and solution-finder.”