Working together with university pals on your coursework assignments is one thing, but what happens when you decide to join forces and set up a dotcom with your friends from college?
After graduating from Oxford University with a degree in French and Russian, Luke Mills admits he didn't have a clue what he wanted to do with his career. "I went to work for an investment bank. I thought it would give me a broad training of business skills, but I actually ended up learning more and more about less and less as time went by."
Despite reaching the ranks of a rated analyst with his employer Warburg Dillon Reed, two and a half years later Mills decided to quit the City. Following a stint travelling the world, he teamed up with fellow Oxford graduate Emily Spencer to embark on a dotcom venture, and in October last year they set up whatsonwhen.com, an online events guide which allows you to search 15,000 events across 120 countries.
The partnership was more than just coincidence. Not only acquaintances from college, Spencer and Mills had shared "probably the smallest flat in Paris" while on placement in France.
Four's a crowd
Then, a couple of years after graduating, the two shared a flat in London with two other college pals. Now all four - Mills, Spencer, marketing director Joel Brandon-Bravo and chief technical officer Jonny LeRoy - work together at the company.
As well as the good business reasons for joining forces - since graduating Spencer had worked for UK internet service provider LineOne, where she was responsible for putting together the travel and business channels on the site - knowing each other so well was seen as a definite advantage.
But what is it really like working with people you're probably more used to seeing propping up the college bar or crashing on your floor after a heavy night's 'revising'?
"Working with friends has good and bad sides. You know people's strengths and weaknesses so you can position them accordingly. A lot of problems in startups occur when people end up doing the wrong jobs - they're misappointed, then disappointed!" said Mills.
When things go well, you share the success with people you like, he added. But there's a flip side to the coin - defining the boundaries between work and personal isn't always easy.
"It can be stressful at work and there are difficult situations that need to be addressed," Mills explained. "It's difficult for things not to get personal when you know the people you work with so well. The team try to get around the problem by making it clear when we're talking about business."
Leaving a high-flying job in the financial services sector to become the chief operating officer of your own dotcom can be quite a career leap.
"It's a more friendly and less cut-throat environment," he said. "People here aren't doing it for the money. I've taken a cut in salary, for instance. But you benefit more from your own actions in the long run and the atmosphere is definitely more relaxed."
So what, if anything, does Mills miss about his previous life in the City? "When you're working in the financial markets and things go right it's exciting, and you get a real adrenaline rush. That's something you don't get in a new-media role."
That's not to say Mills's role is devoid of thrills, but life at whatsonwhen has drawn on a totally new set of skills - in particular, people management. "Sometimes it's a bit like parenting - on the one hand encouraging them, and telling them off when they do something wrong," he said.
"It's a more precarious pressure now, but you get real enjoyment from seeing other people get pleasure from their job. We're all building an asset that will continue to add value going forward. When you work in the City you don't have any concrete satisfaction from what you're doing, and it can get quite demotivating after a while."
Mills has absolutely no regrets, and at 27 feels he was ready for the change in pace. "There are some things you can't do when you're my age that you could do when you were 23. I don't know if this is my dream job but it's certainly very fulfilling - we have a good product, and a great team of people," he said.
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