By studying the new MBChB (Medicine) Plus course, student Sophie-Rose Ekitok combines a traditional medical degree with enterprise education. This has inspired her to create a new academic planner for busy medical students, based on first-hand experiences she faced on GP placement and supported by her entrepreneurial studies.
Combining medicine with entrepreneurship
After beginning her studies at University of Leeds, Sophie-Rose expanded her degree in medicine to include an enterprise education. ‘The ‘plus’ part of my course means I’m studying enterprise and leadership as part of my degree in medicine and have intercalated onto the University of Leeds MSc in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship,’ she explains. ‘It wasn’t something I initially set out to do when I applied to study at university. Yet once I heard about the opportunity, I was interested to find out more. I’m excited to be part of the first cohort.’
‘I’m proud to be one of the few who gets to benefit at this early stage and be able to put our ideas forward as this nationally unique course evolves.’
Creating a business to solve real-life challenges
It was her time on placement as a GP that gave Sophie-Rose the idea of creating her business. ‘I quickly discovered there was a lot more to the job of a GP than perhaps I’d initially recognised,’ she admits. ‘There’s so much more than prescribing medication. GPs are the people speaking to the patients face-to-face, as well as those discussing the details of treatment with hospital managers and staff, such as waiting times and administration of specific drugs’.
Based on her experience, Sophie-Rose decided to create an academic planner specifically for medical students. ‘Most planners tailored to medicine degrees are focussed on revision tools and exam techniques,’ she explains. ‘But my combined studies have inspired me to come up with a business idea that will have a real impact on the lives of medics and medical students. A physical planner is really important as phones and digital tools are often a communication barrier in medical settings. People discussing potentially life-changing treatment with doctors want to feel heard and respected.’
Working with Spark and studying enterprise
As an MBChB Plus student, Sophie-Rose can access and benefit from the services of Spark: the dedicated business start-up service at University of Leeds. She is working with Spark to develop her business idea and plans to apply for an enterprise scholarship next year.
‘I’ve found my enterprise studies a huge help in getting my business plan ready for the Spark team to assess,’ says Sophie-Rose. ‘The enterprise modules I’ve studied include Small Business Growth and New Venture Creation, where I’ve learned how to develop a business plan and measure success of a small business start-up. I’m already putting this into practice as I look to take my idea to the next stage.’
Discovering new opportunities with intercalated study
'My chosen method of combined medical and enterprise study has helped me achieve clarity on how practicing medicine and creating a business can connect,’ concludes Sophie-Rose. ‘Though I still plan to become a doctor, my time studying enterprise has exposed me to a lot of business thinking. Through my initial enterprise – the academic planner – I can already see how I have the chance to put these ideas into practice.’
‘Studying enterprise alongside medicine has also shown me there are many opportunities available to me and given me the tools to progress them. I would like to create other businesses and product ideas to enhance my medical career, and really believe my MBChB Plus degree will allow me to do that.’