The past year has taught me that no one can predict what will happen. On a flight to India, sitting next to a bin in the departure lounge of Doha airport to find WIFI in order to promote my course to Indian students, I could not have imagined that in a space of just 12 months, whilst trying to pass my medical exams and at the time of a global pandemic, I would become CEO of a revenue producing company, In2Med – a unique online education platform, founded by medical students at the University of Cambridge, that helps you apply to and navigate through medical school.
My name is Ankit Chadha and I am a final year medical student at the University of Cambridge and co-founder of In2Med, with Eleanor Phelps, my business partner. The idea behind In2Med was borne out of the experiences and challenges my friends and I faced to not only gain admission into medical school, but also the stress and effort it has taken to navigate through it, especially in the clinical years.
Medicine being a highly competitive course requires guidance, work experience, a top-quality personal statement and much more. Yet, most schools lack the infrastructure to support their medical applicants to gain admission into university. This motivated me to develop a course that was comprehensive, user-friendly, online, interactive, affordable, which provided such students with a fighting chance to learn and prepare in their own time to gain admission into a medical school and in turn help the NHS to recruit more home-grown medics from a diverse background.
Our Personal Statement training course was originally launched as a classroom-based course in India, but it soon became extremely popular with the British schools. The high demand and uptake of the course in UK schools highlighted how many students faced the same challenges as I had done. This also cemented my belief of the gap that exists in our education system. In addition, the onset of COVID-19 followed by the 3-month lockdown acted as a catalyst in making the world more virtual. This meant that we had to quickly adapt and develop a program that aligned with the new normal.
With the help from the Entrepreneurship centre and the funds we received by winning the Santander Accelerate Cambridge Project Award 2020, we converted the already successful classroom based personal statement course into a comprehensive online course
comprised of interactive text and video based lessons. This was then added to an array of additional medical courses already available at In2Med – creating a comprehensive online medical platform that takes students on their journey from school, through
medical school and beyond. The course was launched on 13 July and has received great uptake and feedback, and was recently mentioned in the Cambridge Independent newspaper.
I am and will remain indebted to the Accelerate Cambridge programme for all the support they have provided, as for me, the business world was an alien world. I remember turning up to my Accelerate interview in my medical attire having just come from a ward round, trying to pitch my idea. I was really nervous just handing out my business card whilst trying to “network” – I felt much more comfortable learning 2000 drug names than get confused with all the jargon of digital marketing and setting up a company. In2Med has grown organically having to learn each stage of the process from scratch, making mistakes all along the way.
The future of In2Med looks very promising. We continue to develop additional medical courses and expand our reach to every medical student across the country. Having been awarded funding to now hire our first intern, we look forward to developing our upcoming medical interview course as well as online medical modules designed to teach students clinical medicine. Our top priority is to develop high quality resources and become the single place that medical students turn to for information, whilst at the same time personally trying to pass our final year medicine exams.
The best way to end is ironically with the last sentence of the personal statement I wrote when applying to medical school 6 years ago. In Hippocrates words, “The life so short, the craft so long to learn.” I’m excited to keep on learning and this year become a doctor and entrepreneur.