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Homepage / My First “Season” at the Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship

My First “Season” at the Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship

My First “Season” at the Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship

At the time of writing, I’ve joined the Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship as a new faculty member for just under three months. I thought it would be nice to write a little “milestone” reflection after my first “season” at Cranfield.

Reflecting on the past

My academic background started with a BSc in Mathematics, Operational Research, Statistics, and Economics at Warwick University. Having developed an interest in business, I stayed on at Warwick and did an MSc in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Not long after graduation, in 2016, I started working full-time in the research team at the International Centre for Transformational Entrepreneurship at Coventry University. A few months into the role, the opportunity came for me to do a funded part-time PhD through the staff development programme. I completed my PhD in 2020; in fact, my viva was held online not long after the first national lockdown, so quite a different experience at the time.

In the middle of 2019, I started a new role as a lecturer as my research contract had finished. This role provided me with a very good opportunity to gain various experiences in teaching and programme management quite quickly. Through teaching a variety of different modules relating to business, entrepreneurship, and business analytics, my research perspectives were also broadened.

I remember my Master dissertation supervisor saying “you have a rare combination of skills in both numbers and arts” (oh, I do Chinese painting and calligraphy if you wondered). So, I like to see my mixed background in disciplines as a strength and hope to keep the positive momentum going and make my share of contributions here at Cranfield.

Looking into the future

In addition to teaching discussions, when I was interviewed for the Lecturer in Entrepreneurship role, I presented my research plan for the next 2-3 years (as summarised in Figure 1).

My interest lies within entrepreneurship and technology, which also largely followed from my previous experience. For example, my PhD project analysed business growth with a particular focus on the UK digital gaming industry – where technology meets creative and artistic minds. I also looked at different growth frameworks and explored how entrepreneurial ecosystems work and support entrepreneurial activities. This is also where my interest and research experience developed further in areas of technology and the creative industry in the entrepreneurship domain.

Previous work experience also provided me with the opportunity to work on various projects such as entrepreneurial ecosystems and universities, innovation ecosystems and the AI industry in China, the digital skills gap in the UK healthcare sector, social enterprise, innovation, and entrepreneurship in the sports sector. I very much enjoy looking at entrepreneurship from many different angles and look to develop this further.

A “season” in with Bettany Centre, I have been discovering many interesting and inspiring entrepreneurship related programmes and events on offer, and meeting with colleagues and getting to know the university. I very much look forward to working with my excellent colleagues and developing my career further.

Please feel free to drop me a line if any of these (research or others) might intrigue you.

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Written By: Zimu Xu

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