UCL Careers


Alumni profile: Parham Rakhshanfar

Read about UCL alum Parham's interesting career journey so far, from studying Information Management at UCL to running his own business.

A portrait image of UCL alumni Parham Rakhshanfar.

23 February 2023

Parham Rakhshanfar graduated from UCL with a BSc Information Management for Business in 2021 and now runs his own business, Huzzle. He explains how he came up with the idea for his company, how he started and how UCL helped him get it off the ground.

1. What does your company Huzzle do and how did the idea come about? What are your greatest achievements so far?

Huzzle is a career companion that guides students from ‘Freshman to Graduate Job’. Most career platforms get students jobs when they already know what they want. Huzzle starts earlier, when they're lost. Almost all conventional job platforms only serve those with an intent or a concrete search query. Huzzle works with broad interests and helps students develop an intent as they move through university. The idea came about after we hosted the London Start-Up Fair in 2020 where we had over 1000 students and 50 start-ups attend. We experienced the students’ and recruiters’ problems first-hand and felt that the early career journey for students was difficult and unfavourable. So we set out to build something that put students at the centre.

To date, we’ve built a team of 20 with 9 full-time developers, over 15k students use our app on a regular basis and we’ve closed pilots with EY, Pegasystems & Salesforce – with 20+ companies in the pipeline.

2. What support did you seek from UCL to set up Huzzle? How did UCL help you?

Taking part in societies was a big support, I got a ton of experience and made lots of connections early on at UCL. I was a part of UCL Entrepreneurs which was super relevant for me as I was looking to build my own start-up – after all, the idea for Huzzle originated from one of the events we hosted. In the early stages of founding Huzzle, I sought out support from my professors and career advisors in the School of Management. They made introductions to other relevant people in the start-up space (part of UCL Innovation & Enterprise) and gave me feedback on things like product, market research and financials. After that, we got accepted to the Hatchery which is UCL’s accelerator. They helped us set up the company legally and get it off the ground with the right structure.

3. What are the key skills you think you need to be an entrepreneur?

The most important skills are being creative, scrappy and frugal. As a founder, you’ll have to wear many different hats. That means you’ll face an array of challenges from raising money from potential investors to getting feedback from users, and of course, convincing people to come work for you. You may not have the best tools in your box to deal with everything, so you’ll have to find creative ways to solve problems while making sure your company survives and hits the milestones you need to succeed.

4. What are the greatest benefits and challenges in working for yourself?

The greatest benefit of building your own company is being able to do something that you are truly passionate about that can also make a significant impact on society. The biggest challenge is having a persistent belief in what you are doing and building a team that has the same conviction for your company’s vision. There will be times, especially as a young entrepreneur, when you will question yourself and things may not be going your way. At the end of the day you are responsible for everything, so you need to persist until it succeeds.

5. What are the first steps a potential entrepreneur could take while at university to explore this as a career?

Before starting your own venture, it’s important to get some relevant experience and build your network. The best way to start is by joining the committee of a society. This way you can get experience working in the domain that interests you whilst collaborating and building relationships with people that you can then leverage down the line. The next step would be to build get some practical experience. During my 3 years at UCL, I worked at several different venture-backed start-ups in different industries such as Logistics, Fintech and AI. Getting a feel for different teams, cultures, technologies and industries helped me understand what fields I was most interested in and gave me tons of relevant skills that I took advantage of when starting Huzzle. Lastly, when you are ready to embark on your entrepreneurial journey start by reaching out to people that can give you support. In the early stages, it can be difficult to have everything about your idea ironed out so it’s key to get feedback and help from others. You can start with your own faculty and then make use of the resources provided by UCL Innovation & Enterprise and the Hatchery accelerator. LinkedIn is also a great way to connect with the most relevant people and you’d be surprised at how many people are willing to help. One of the first things we did at Huzzle was reach out to big companies on LinkedIn and interview them to understand how we could build the most desirable product.