Sophie Dundovic, St John's College, BA (2013) Mathematics, Social Anthropology
Since graduating, I have co-founded Parasym Health
, a medical device company that uses bioelectric medicine to treat chronic conditions such as Tinnitus and Depression. We are operating in a relatively new and growing market which means we need to be able to adapt quickly. I’m often learning new skills or troubleshooting problems that I have never come across before. As a company we are motivated by positive feedback from users and our aim is to grow the company and to have a positive impact on the lives of many more people.
Applying to Cambridge
I remember walking around St John's on a cold December evening after being interviewed. I was in awe of the surroundings but the support provided was excellent throughout the application process and this continued throughout my time at the College. Back then I didn't know anyone who had studied at Cambridge, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I quickly made friends both on my course and in the University Athletic Club.
What Cambridge did for me
My time at Cambridge was formative in many ways. The teaching environment encourages independent thinking and that has been very important for me in my professional life. Particularly in the early stages of a company, business decisions can have critical outcomes and sometimes you need to do things that go against the conventional wisdom. Being able to question things and not being afraid to make bold suggestions is important.
What I’m doing now is very different to the career I imagined when I was 17. At Cambridge I met a lot of talented, motivated and interesting people, many of whom have become great friends. Conversations with these people challenged my views about what was possible. Some of the courses I took as an undergraduate also dramatically developed my way of thinking, and I was very fortunate in having the opportunity to live in Germany for a year as part of a reciprocal exchange between Cambridge and Heidelberg University. I was able to pursue very specific areas of interest that year, as well as learning a language, which was very rewarding. It was then that I started to think seriously about my career path.
While I think I've always been motivated by social aims, the academic freedom at Cambridge allowed me to explore exactly what that meant and how I might apply it in work. Exposure to the research environment has also allowed me to better understand the objectives of some of the different stakeholders that we deal with as a company. We often receive emails from patients telling us that our products have really improved their quality of life and that provides us with plenty of motivation to keep improving what we are doing.