The Scholarships Series – #2 Ioana Anutoiu on her experience as an Aspire X generation scholar

A picture with the participants from Aspire Professionals 2021. Some of them received a scholarship to participate to the summer program.

We are back with the second article of the series regarding the scholarships to the Aspire summer programs. Before we share with you the insights of another Aspire X participant, we’d like to highlight that you can easily find the technical details about scholarships and the steps you have to take to apply for one on our website.

Without further ado, if you’re curious to hear more from our newest alumni, we hope this piece will come in handy!

We are humbled to have had the support of Nuclearelectrica, which has been an incredible partner. One of the outstanding individuals who benefited from their input is Ioana Anutoiu, participant in Aspire Academy 2021.

Could you tell us more about your background and current activities you have been involved in?

My name is Ioana Anutoiu, I am an Urban Management Master’s student and a really eager lover of entrepreneurship and creating something from nothing. Besides my studies, I am working on launching my first startup – Cruze – an urban mobility project. I aspire to make cities work more efficiently and people realise how much little changes in their behaviour can have a positive impact on their lives.

My main goal is to manage to scale my startup as much as possible. Then I intend to continue by focusing my business around sustainability and having social impact.

What did you enjoy most at Aspire Academy?

I think words can’t describe well enough how outstanding I have found Aspire. But, in a nutshell, Aspire has not only astounding professors, but amazingly chosen participants and really well designed courses. What I appreciated the most was the emphasis put on human connection, on bonding based on our values, visions and things we have in common as individuals, not just as professionals. Last but not least, I loved the attention given to details: LDGs, personalized letters, matching with roommates based on their mutual interests and traits.

All of these things gave me a feeling that the program was going to be like no other.

What are your top 3 key learnings that you want to keep? 

1. We are more alike than we could ever think.

2. Charisma can be developed, you don’t have to be born with it.

3. Negotiation is an art, but it doesn’t mean you can just improvise. Prepare for it!

How is Aspire beneficial to future leaders? 

Aspire brings a new way of looking at leadership. It makes you understand that it’s not about how prepared you are or how good your decisions are, but more about how people perceive you and how being an authentic you means more power than showing no weakness.

What was the impact the Aspire summer experience had on you? 

Aspire made me realise that the best connections are the ones based on values. Having the same ideas or education is not enough when you think differently. Furthermore, it made me truly understand what a leader should look like and saved me from believing you have to be invincible all the time.

Are there any final thoughts you would like to share with us about the importance of this scholarship?

Trying to build a startup with no business knowledge is a hard risk. I chose to do it anyways and now it’s been over 3 years since entrepreneurship takes the biggest part of my time. However, being able to switch from reading books and watching videos to speaking to people and seeing real life examples of who I want to be was an amazing change. Being able to get a scholarship and put to practice the theory is such an important step and I hope many more will have the same chance I had.

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