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‘And I saw Sparks’ – Is Entrepreneurship the new Rock n’ Roll? – an interview with Sparks@LSE President…

The current ‘Startup Scene’……Could it become the 2010’s version of Counter-Culture? The current Student equivalent to the 60’s and 70’s revolution of fashion, music, freedom and alternative delights…

Is the next big revolution within Youth Culture going to be the demonstrations, not of social rights, but the demonstration of young peoples abilities to change the World and their own job opportunities, making Entrepreneurship the new Rock n Roll? In a slightly less poetic manor, TheEmployable spoke to Rajiv Dhokia, President of Sparks @ London School of Economics, to find out whats happening….

Do you think University prepares Students for the reality of the working World? 

Yes and No is the simple answer. Studying towards a degree in itself is a discipline that requires hard work and dedication that are transferable to any job title. However, often the soft skills required to be successful in the working world are overlooked and are difficult to develop within the academic framework unless students get involved in the social and societal aspects of University life.
You are the President of Sparks@LSE 2012. Tell to TheEmployable, why should a Graduating Student consider working for themselves?
With the current economic climate and the pertinence of youth unemployment being at the forefront of the media – I suppose this is one of the most sensible times for graduates to consider entrepreneurship as a serious career path. With the recent proliferation in entrepreneurship schemes and government-backed programmes ranging from student incubators to business-pitching competitions – if students do have a business idea but are unsure of how to actually start implementing – there is definitely not a shortage of widely accessible programmes to get you up and running in the startup scene!

What do you think are the key characteristics needed to be an Entrepreneur?

For me, creativity and passion is the key. Without creativity – it is impossible to set up a sustainable business and progress as an entrepreneur and similarly without passion and belief in your service/product it’s difficult to have the commitment to execute from idea stage into a running business.

Give us all a ‘rallying cry’ – persuade the cynics that Entrepreneurship is the way forward!!

Hear it from the PM himself, David Cameron – Entrepreneurship is one of the only strategies we have left in trying to increase economic growth! Through Sparks, I have experienced unlimited scope to use my creativity, boundless opportunities to network and meet like-minded people and have had the satisfaction of knowing that what we will be doing in February will be inspiring and hopefully changing people’s lives! These are just a few of the many perks associated with entrepreneurship!

Tell us more about Sparks@LSE – how did it start and what should we expect this year from the Conference?

Sparks@LSE was founded and launched in 2010 as London’s largest student-run entrepreneurship conference with the intention of providing a platform for students and young professionals across the world to connect with high-profiled entrepreneurs to recent exciting startups.

This year’s conference will run over 2 days and students can expect to be inspired by a world-class line up of speakers ranging from Kris Gopalakrishnan (Co-founder of Infosys – one of the world’s largest tech companies) to Stephen Wiener(Founder of Cineworld), develop specific skills required to be a successful entrepreneur through our focused workshops, learn more about investment decisions though our VC panel and business pitching competition and of course make use of great networking opportunities!

How did you get involved yourself in enterprise and Sparks itself?

When starting off at the LSE, the LSEsu Entrepreneurs Society was a society that I definitely wanted to take a more active role in and luckily for me it was also the inaugural year for Sparks. I started off as the Sponsorship Director for the inaugural conference but then through active involvement was able to focus on more general tasks for the event including securing the likes of Lord Karan Bilimoria (Founder Cobra Beer) and Ed Wray (Co-founder Betfair) as keynote speakers.

 What do you have planned yourself – any exciting projects you have in-store?

After graduating, I’m looking forward to joining Citi having secured a position in the Investment Banking team. Learning the ins and outs of how businesses are run – right the way from being able to analyse their financial statements to understanding their business models are valuable skills. Sparks are currently working on a project to welcome James Caanto the LSE in mid-March and also a partnership with TiE to co-host entrepreneurial events in the future.

In the meantime my focus is putting Sparks@LSE on the global map as the world’s premier student entrepreneurship conference! 

Check out the Sparks@LSE website if you fancy buying tickets…

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