Background: A business plan is a set of steps that explain to an “investor” how you intend to achieve a value creation goal that you wish them to invest in. In the context of this assessment, an investor is defined as an individual or organisation who you will identify as appropriate to help you achieve a specified goal. by providing funding and/or expertise.
All investors want convincing evidence that what you offer will be of value for them. They also need confidence and evidence that you have the knowledge and abilities to achieve the goal, i.e., that you are worth their finite investment.
Preparing a business plan takes substantial research, creativity and enterprise. However, investors are busy people. So often they require candidates to “pitch” a summary of a more detailed, written business plan in a concise oral presentation. A pitch is a short oral presentation that covers all of the key points of your plan in a convincing way to secure the specific investment that you seek. It usually forms part of a competitive process, with investors judging each pitch on its merits before deciding which plan to invest in. Experienced investors make decisions on suitable candidates very quickly based on their pitch, therefore being able to pitch well is a key communication skill for 21st Century Postgraduates.
What You Need to Do:
THE DOCTORATE OPTION: Your suitability as a candidate for a PhD position in a specified research laboratory
In this option, you are the product that you seek investment for. The investor will be the specified head of the research laboratory. The research laboratory and type of research that they currently undertake must be real. Your pitch should provide credible evidence that you understand both the purpose and type of research currently being undertaken. Your pitch should present a plan of how you could further develop pre-graduation to become a stronger candidate for this PhD position. It should contain all the elements of a personal model canvas.
PHD STUDENTS need to understand both the University Departments and supervisor labs they want to study in. The supervisory team and departmental representatives are the customers who decide which applicants are most worthy of a PhD opportunity. Having knowledge of the research undertaken in the laboratory and the goals of the research are important before applying. PhD candidates need to understand the market they are competing in, often for both a place in a host laboratory and for scholarship funding. This means knowing what skills and behaviours a potential supervisor is looking for in a candidate and marketing appropriately to demonstrate potential value.
Understanding customers and markets is part of the business planning phase. Marketing to investors is done through personal documents, such as business plans, CV’s and covering letter. The key points of these are usually presented to investors in the form of a business pitch or interview pitch.
You should aim to cover the above information in approximately 8 minutes. For the remaining two minutes of your pitch, demonstrate your creativity by describing which unique attributes you bring to the investor that might make you stand out from other applicants. Examples include, but are not limited to:
• Explaining your personal reasons for being interested in the start-up, role, or PhD position.
• Explaining a relevant ethical or sustainability practice that you would like to contribute to developing, based on your own values.
• Explaining a type of impact or value that you would like to contribute to during your lifetime and how the opportunity in your pitch could help you work towards that goal.
• Explaining any general skills, experiences, or practices that you have and how they might help your ability to achieve the plan in your pitch.
• Explaining how you would aim to overcome any obstacles that you might have in achieving the plan in your pitch.