Help review my application (Talent, Business)

hi everyone, I have been following this forum and it is amazingly well managed and super insightful. Thanks already to anyone who would be willing to read through my planned content and is able to provide some some feedback for my Exceptional Talent application. I am very grateful!

Quick summary of context:

  • 16 years of work experience (hence would apply to Talent, not Promise)
  • 2017-2022 working for a large MNC in the HealthTech space
  • significant contribution on sales and marketing on the localisation and launch of a service to enable consistent up to date software releases in medical devices
  • Since mid last year working in Innovation and Digital for a UK tech MNC
  • I want to set up my own business in ClimateTech and got accepted in one of the suggested accelerator for fast track (Carbon 13). Now I need to sort out the visa to enable this
  • I don’t have academic contribution or publication and I have not been invited to public global conferences (yet :slight_smile:)
    here below my planned list of LOR and evidences.

Letter of recommendations:

  1. MD of Carbon 13 -> on the fact I am selected to join the program after thorough selection process as very promising ClimateTech co-founder
  2. EVP EMEA in current UK company -> on the work I am doing to bring digital best practices in developing delightful customer experience in a holistic and fully integrated customer portal, bringing to next level the way the industry engages with customers. The Investment committee approved the investment to go ahead and develop the portal which is expected to drive customer retention and sales uplift
  3. SVP Global Business leader at previous HealthTech company -> on how in APAC, my work on Sales&Marketing excellence initiatives to drive tech services was recognised as global best practice and recommended to EMEA, NAM, Greater China pushing the boundaries for HealthTech improvement. In particular the work to localize and relaunch a disruptive digital tech service which drove 10x acceleration in Orders and Revenues

Evidences
MC: recognised as a leading talent in the digital technology sector in the last 5 years.

  1. System snapshots showing Substantial marketing and sales initiatives generating 10x revenue growth for a tech based service
  2. Referral from my direct boss from last year on my ability to support the growth of the new service in APAC and that it would have not been possible without me
  3. UK Contract - showcasing the ability to command a high salary in my subsequent job
  4. UK bank statement
  5. Letter of acceptance from C13 for fast track to showcase the selection as recognised talent

OC1: made significant, commercial contributions to the field as a senior executive or employee of a product-led digital technology company

  1. Singapore contract- showcasing the ability to command a high salary
  2. Singapore bank statement
  3. Recognition of the good work across the company (global best practice, internal Sales & Marketing summit conference where I presented the results and showcase the impact, snapshot of messages of appreciation from colleagues when I left the company)

OC2: Recognition for work beyond the applicant’s occupation that contributes to the advancement of the field

  1. Letter from another UK venture accelerator proving that I have been selected as mentor for current cohort
  2. Contract from a VC fund where I became an advisor for their portfolio (something beyond my day to day job)

I hope you can help me strengthen it beyond doubt. Any suggestions and feedback are very welcome!

@ciripao I am sorry to say, but I am afraid this given list of evidence will not be enough for Exceptional Talent endorsement. And here are my comments and suggestions below.

MC:

  • #1 and #2 seem to be the same story. If you can have your boss, or yourself add another story of your leadership story/achievement, it will definitely help strengthen your application.
  • You can combine #3 and #4 together in 1 piece of evidence, and you should include the industry benchmark to show that you have higher than the national average salary.
  • Letter of acceptance, will not be a strong evidence here. I guess it will be only a small part of your story. If then, I suggest you include this as a half page of the other evidence to demonstrate some showcase only.

OC1:

  • This OC1 is about INNOVATION. Your given list of evidence does not show the impact. However, it may be better to use these for OC3.
  • Bank statement is nothing. Don’t waste 1 of 10 slots of your evidence space with this. Employment contract is much more important.

OC2:

  • the letter saying that “you are selected” is not enough. You will be required to demonstrate that you have been actively mentoring in a “structured programme” and it must not be a paid mentorship.
  • being a VC fund advisor alone, does not show enough contribution to advance the sector. Was it a paid program?

What’s next? / Other Suggestions:

  • OC1: If you had been in Tech Industry for a long time, you may find yourself in some INNOVATIVE project in the past 5 years. Do bring those up and demonstrate that you had contributed to the projects. This could be an easy criterion for you to achieve.
  • For OC2 or OC3, I need to understand Tech Nation’s requirements thoroughly. Read more at https://technation.io/visa-tech-nation-visa-guide/#optional-criteria . Spend time on it, and find out how you meet these criteria.
  • You should try/aim to have at least 3 different evidence/projects on each criterion.

I hope this helps

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thanks @alexnk for the insightful and prompt feedback, it really helps!

Indeed I plan to apply with OC2 and OC3 (significant commercial contribution). It was a typo. I thought about innovation but I felt the evidences I could gather were stronger on the commercial side (OC3).

on the topic of the mentorship it is indeed a structured program and not paid (will make sure to explain). Although quite recent, I can gather some evidences from the mentored startups. Would snapshots of ‘thank you’ emails explaining my support be enough? or maybe adding it as a separate one?

on the advisor role for the VC fund it is ‘paid in kind’ (e.g. a share of future fund performance as articulated in the contract) would that be enough?

on MC, as per Tech Nation guide, I could add how I managed to steer investments and strategic decisions while in APAC or new sales processes developed, however I don’t have access to the decks used 2 years ago at my previous employer, how to provide evidence? I could write my story, would that be enough? Potentially I could include also this in my boss’s letter, would that be stronger?

@alexnk appreciated your input here

@Francisca_Chiedu, @May, @ask4jubad any inputs on my comments? on OC2 especially how much in details should I go to prove mentorship? is the fact that a VC ‘enrolled’ me as an advisor supporting evidence of contribution beyond day-to-day to advance the sector?

Hi @ciripao,

I think @alexnk has really nailed it and you have also responded on the observed discrepancies.

Just one thing regarding your question on OC2, I don’t think a paid contract (assuming it is paid) as an advisor qualifies for OC2. You could perhaps, repackage it and put it under MC/OC3. In fact, tech nation guide specifically mentions that “Note that simply training a colleague, providing general support or advice, or advising at a company of someone you know is not considered to meet the definition of mentorship.

Also, generally, I don’t get the need for adding bank statements in *MC4 and OC1.2 (actually OC3.2). That’s potentially two additional evidences that can help strengthen your case. This has already been mentioned by @alexnk, just re-emphasizing it.

With the above, it means that OC2 is virtually empty. So, you would need to add more content there. If you have op-eds that you have written in the news or magazine, those should suffice. Then you provide statistics to demonstrate their reach.

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You can write those up for your evidence, but it will not be strong if you cannot prove it. Therefore you can additionally try to reach out to a well-established individual in that company to write a letter to confirm your contribution and/or rough metrics you wrote.

Also since you mentioned “working in an Innovation company”, would you be able to find some innovative projects that you had some contribution for your OC1 to replace OC2? What do you think?

Spend some more time repackaging this. The worst thing you can do is to spend some more months proving those missing parts. You can do it.

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For OC2, You should show track record of mentorship so if it’s only recent, how recent is it and what do you have as evidence of mentorship activities?
Check this post out if you need some more perspective on Innovation.

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@May and @alexnk, thanks for your feedback

Fair point on OC2. My participation to the structured mentorship program started only few months ago as before I was not in London and personal circumstances didn’t allow that. I could mention that in my personal statement.

To make the case stronger I could add that for the last 10 years I was Board member of a non profit foundation focusing on sustainability (with publication of research material and organization of events) where I lead the scientific committee. With that work I curated two publication and have one fully in my name. They are not academic peer reviewed articles, hence I would not put on OC4. My plan is to work on ClimateTech, which stemmed from my passion from sustainability from the foundation, therefore it could be relevant. Could this strengthen the case?

Otherwise, thinking about OC1, what if an innovation is still in the ‘build’ phase? I led the discovery phase and prototyping, but it is not launched yet (although we have been working on it for the last 5-6 months). I could explain how this is innovative in the industry, add snapshots and have it mentioned in a reference letter. could that be considered enough for OC1? (I felt it was weaker than OC2)

grateful for your feedback!

@ciripao

:x: If your OC2 just started a few months ago, I think it will be too weak for the Exceptional Talent route.

:x: The “publication of research material” will need to be an academic contribution through research., otherwise it is not applicable for OC4.

:question: OC1. The build phase is fine, and OC1 does not require to have an “impact” or even a “success”. It just needs to be innovative, which is considered a “new concept”. I think this will be easier to prove for a technical role, but for your business role in innovation, I am unsure. Because the business role usually takes the finished product to the market, and in your case, it is still “building”.

Innovation is mainly for people involved in actual creation of tech product. It’ll be more difficult, not impossible, for business applicants to establish an appropriate connection between their efforts and the product creation process. Also, some market traction can set it apart.
You should also have a track record of innovation, either for several products or multiple innovations on one product for talent application.

@May, @ask4jubad, @alexnk, @Francisca_Chiedu thanks for all your feedback and for your amazing contribution to this forum. I submitted on 20/03 and got endorsed on 29/03.

I made some changes to my initial plan and sharing here for the benefit of the broader community:

LORs (all from same HealthTech MNC):

  1. Referral from my direct boss in CEE (2019-2020) --> on my support on the strategy development and implementation in the region to generate commercial success
  2. Referral from my direct boss in APAC (2021-2022) --> on my contribution to the growth of the new service in APAC and that it would have not been possible without me
  3. SVP Global Business leader (2019-2022) -> same as originally planned

MC

  1. Strategy and business impact in HealthTech in CEE (my contributions to strategy, vision, plan, impact)
  2. Marketing and Sales excellence in HealthTech in APAC (explanation of what I did in sales cadence, marketing plan, investments, results)
  3. Recognition of above average salary in Singapore (contract + bonus + benchmark)
  4. Letter from MD of Carbon 13 on the fact I was selected to join accelerator + Letter of acceptance

OC2
5. Climate Tech startup mentor at venture accelerator (explanation, letter, snapshot mentor profile, startup feedback)
6. Recognized start up advisor at VC fund (explanation, contract snapshot)
7. White paper on CleanTech and strategies to achieve net zero, explaining how it was outside my direct scope of work

OC3
2. reused evidence above
8. 10x growth for new service offering in HealthTech in APAC (problem, actions taken, results)
9. Recognition for the exceptional contribution (S&M conference, global best practice, referral letter from Executive in current UK employer)
10. Recognition of above average salary in London (contract + payslip + benchmark)

In my personal statement I explained in details my experience and what I thought were three key strengths I would bring to the UK tech scene which were built in my past experience and proven in the evidences. I also mentioned clearly my plan is to build a Climatetech startup in the UK.

I was very uncertain on the outcome (given I spent most of my time in Strategic Consulting firms and large corporates), but I am glad it came through.

Thanks again for your precious support!

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Glad it worked out for the best.

Congratulations.

Congratulation! @ciripao . Best of luck on your stage 2