Briefly describe your path as an entrepreneur since you started the university. What did you do in these almost 3/4 years?
Seeing that my colleagues are taking initiative and launching start-ups in the first year of university, I got encouraged by my them and also opened my first business at 19, in the second semester of year 1. My first business was an e-commerce store with interior design accessories and décor pieces, a business that I launched with my business partner, Maria Cilea. We just wanted to gain some experience in the real world through it, we learned a lot but, soon realized that neither of us want to continue in that direction so we took the rather hard decision of closing the business a year later and parted ways as associates. I continued my journey in the e-commerce world by launching products on Amazon.com in the US and selling products to a worldwide market. This business had a lot of ups and downs, full of lessons, but after almost three years I stopped it as it was not profitable anymore. My current business is Ez Stick (www.ezstick.ro) which consists of an innovative phone stand that allows you to stick your phone on any surface and serves as a more practical replacement for a tripod. I ran this business during the past year and a half with my colleague and partner Alexandru Andries and managed to reach quite a few milestones.
What milestones have you reached in the last 3/4 years? Please describe each of them individually and include relevant numbers.
Amazon.com brand milestones:
Over 1600 individual customers served
Over 5000 pcs of products sold
140 amazon reviews gathered
10 successful collaborations with US-based influencers
100.000 RON ($25000)
Ez Sticks milestones:
Over 1600 individual customers served
3500 pcs of products sold (B2C and B2B)
Total revenue of over 45000 Ron
Listed on 4 online phone accessories and gadgets retailers’ sites
11.8k followers on Instagram
Over 60 collaborations and partnerships with local (Romanian) influencers
Secured a partnership with a key player in the phone accessories industry and, starting next year,
Ez Stick will be available in over 200 physical stores around Romania.
What is the ROI (return on investment) when it comes to the cost of the university? Was it worth it? Why?
Having just recently graduated from EA, I can certainly say that enrolling in their program was a really good decision for my education and development as a young adult. I strongly believe that the expenses of studying at EA are worth every cent and no other university in Romania is able to give students the same overall experience. The modern curricula along with its educational model, makes EA a very well-rounded educational institution, helping students become responsible adults and prepares them for the business world. Personally, the ROI is quite high, following the studies of this university made me a better individual, I am ready to face future challenges, I now know how to make the most out of my resources and I have the mindset to adapt to new circumstances.
How did the colleagues, experts or university staff influence your development as an entrepreneur?
Besides the subjects taught during courses and the overall informal atmosphere, one major perk of being a student at EA is having the opportunity to meet and discuss with extremely valuable individuals. These individuals being represented by my team-mates, EA staff and experts, all of them being super supportive and open to give feedback or mentor you in your entrepreneurial journey. The way of thinking and the values that I was instilled during my four years at EA are something that will guide me for the rest of my life and I am happy to say that it was all well worth it.
If you were to do it again, what would you do differently?
If I were to do it again with all the knowledge I have already gathered, I would take more risks and go out of my way to meet to people to create long-lasting connections, both with my school mates, as well as, with business people.
If I were to do it again, being the same person I was four years ago, I would not do much differently, all my mistakes and hiccups were essential in becoming the person that I am today.
What piece of advice would you have for a young student looking for the ideal university/interested in studying business?
I believe that choosing the right university is a big decision but, nonetheless, its not irreversible. If you are looking for a safe place to study business and become an entrepreneur, EA is the perfect place in Romania. EA provides you with both the theoretical knowledge and the practical experience of running a business. The costs of studying should not scare you, as they can be covered partly by scholarships and you may even find companies willing to sponsor you. Good luck!