UCL News


7 Questions with Marie Legrain

16 October 2017

This week we meet Marie Legrain, who combines studying for a BSc in Social Sciences with Quantitative Methods with being a Student Ambassador for UCL Innovation and Enterprise, and whose motto is 'Try.

Marie le Grain You might be pleasantly surprised'.

1.    Why are you interested in this subject?

Studying an interdisciplinary degree at UCL satisfies my constant desire to know more about the world, and to confront new challenges.

When I joined UCL, I came along to UCL Innovation and Enterprise's three day Enterprise Boot Camp*. This experience gave me insight on the entrepreneurship eco-system and helped me to develop many skills, from public speaking, to working more effectively in groups. I would recommend this event to everyone, whether you are an undergraduate, a postgraduate, whether or not you know about business and start ups. Whatever your profile, you will find it useful. From then on, I soon realized business and entrepreneurship were key in complementing my studies and preparing me for the real world.

2. Who inspires you and why? What do you plan to do in the future?

My mother. She has always been my motivator, my supporter, my source of inspiration and my example to follow. She has many talents and knows how to succeed in anything that she does. She writes poetry and books, paints, is an executive coach and above all an amazing mother. Two weeks ago she published a book "Femmes: osons pour réussir !" ("Women, dare to succeed!"), offering advice to women who want to triumph in their career.

I would say my interest in business developed thanks to my mother, who launched her startup and became an entrepreneur a few years ago. She opened my eyes to the importance of doing something you are passionate about in your life. I believe one way to assure happiness in your job is to create it yourself. Thus, my plan for the future is to love my job. Finding a revolutionary idea for a startup is a potential way of doing so.

3. What is the most interesting thing you've done, seen or got involved with while at UCL?

Becoming an entrepreneurship student ambassador. I'm realising more and more what this job can give me and the network that comes with UCL Innovation and Enterprise.

**BaseLates was an incredible experience, an event hosted last week at the UCL Innovation and Enterprise hub - UCL BaseKX. I met a wide range of people who all have one thing in common : they are interested by entrepreneurship. I became more familiar with start-ups, launched by UCL students, that UCL Innovation and Enterprise supported. I realised how incredible the student body is and how much potential it has. It was an amazing opportunity to network and meet interesting people with whom a 10 minute conversation can change the way you see the world.

I am also looking forward to ***Google DevFest on Saturday 11 November. This event hosted at UCL is a 1,000 person festival for tech entrepreneurs and developers.

4. Have you discovered any hidden gems during your time at UCL?

Definitely UCL Innovation and Enterprise and the people who work there.
I found my hidden gem and a place I want to get involved in as it both interests me and enables me to meet new and fascinating people.

One advice I could give you is to get out there, discover new things, step out of your comfort zone! Coming to UCL is not just about studying (even if, don't get me wrong, it is your main reason of being here). It's also about experiences, discovering new things, new people.

5. Give us your top three things to do/see/go to in London:

  • Millennium Bridge is one of my favorites, I just love the old/new contrast between the bridge and St Paul's Cathedral in the background.
  • I recently discovered (and still haven't been but it is on my to do list) that London has an Ice Bar. It's a once in a lifetime adventure that I would really recommend to all.
  • Go rowing in Hyde Park. London is home to the prettiest parks ever! This is definitely something you should do while living in London.

6. If you were Provost for the day what one thing would you do?

When you weren't 100% sure you wanted to do something, apply somewhere, go somewhere, did you ever make up excuses such as "I don't have time"; "I will be bad at it", "I don't want to embarrass myself"; "Maybe next year"?

I have. For this student ambassador job. I received an email during summer about how UCL Innovation and Enterprise wanted to recruit entrepreneurship student ambassadors. My initial thought was "Oh my god, that sounds so cool, I should apply!". But, for some reason, I also thought "It's not worth trying. You won't get in …". Well, guess what? I didn't listen to this evil voice inside my head, I applied and I am now an ambassador!

My point is you don't know the outcome of something unless you try and if you don't try, you might miss out on an incredible opportunity. For this reason, if I could be Provost for a day, I would develop a new UCL scheme during which students have to pick a new subject that they want to discover more about during their studies (but aren't sure about). The aim of this event would be for students to step out of their comfort zones and broaden their horizons.

7. What would it surprise people to know about you?

I spend my summers as a sailing instructor. Sailing has always been a passion of mine and enjoy sharing that passion with others.

But on a more professional level however (and I bet you're not expecting this answer) …
As an entrepreneurship student ambassador my job is to promote UCL Innovation and Enterprise, find people that are interested by what we do and want to get involved. As you can imagine I spend most of my time talking to strangers. But a year ago today I would have been terrified by the simple idea of walking up to strangers to talk about something that could interest them. But people can change fast and you can develop new skills in just 1 year, trust me.

One thing my ambassador job has taught me is that there is no point in fearing rejection or being scared because you will never know what the outcome will be unless you try. I believe that it's better to try and to get rejected rather than not trying.  

So my final words are: Try, you might be pleasantly surprised.

*The next UCL Enterprise Bootcamp runs 6-8 November. 

**The next BaseLates event is running on 13 November, as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week.

***GDG DevFest London 2017 takes place on 11 November, at UCL.