Oliver Page completed his Diploma Programme (DP) studies at St. Stephen’s School located in Rome, Italy. He started his first small business as a student and has since found his calling as an entrepreneur.
Why did you originally decide to pursue the DP?
I grew up in Rome, which is home to three United Nations agencies. My best friends in school were from Indonesia, Greece, Mozambique, Argentina and France. Choosing to study for the DP seemed like the natural choice for me since it set me on a path where I would be able to apply to universities worldwide.
How did you shape your DP studies to your interests?
If you knew me, it wouldn’t be hard to guess that I studied the humanities and my favourite class was history. I found it impossible to be living in the Eternal City and not be taken in by the richness of Rome: its ancient churches, monuments and arched bridges. I walked its cobblestone streets daily on my way to high school passing the Colosseum, the Palatine Hill and the Circus Maximus. These daily reminders of imperial life became imprinted on me and fostered my love of history. I continue to appreciate the depth of knowledge I took away from my IB history studies.
Do you feel the DP prepared you for university?
I felt very well-prepared to enter university thanks to the intensive academic foundation I had from studying the DP. Managing my class hours, independent study and my creativity, activity, service (CAS) experience was challenging I’ll admit. However difficult that was, I still managed to fit in time to dedicate to running my start-up during the school week plus I squeezed in sports, family and a bit of free time as well.
“For me, the essence of the DP was developing my communication skills”
During theory of knowledge (TOK) and economics classes at St. Stephen’s School, I developed methods of filtering information, learned how to analyse situations, break them down to uncover core messages and connect ideas to practical solutions. But for me, the essence of the DP was developing my communication skills. I believe we all have the aptitude to become great public speakers but not everyone embraces this valuable art. Building these valuable skills was the bedrock of my DP experience.
Who inspired you most as an IB student?
Without a doubt, it was my parents. They are both entrepreneurs who offered me their unwavering support, which encouraged me to stretch my limits, expand my imagination and feel at ease thinking outside of the box. My economics teacher, who also was my CAS advisor, also left a strong impression. He was a free-spirited soul who exhibited a fearlessness in life, not in a risk-taking way, but more as an adventurous, curious, information-seeking individual. He was not afraid to challenge established norms and led our class to seek out new experiences.
What did you research for your extended essay?
The title of my extended essay was The economics of the app store. I was very interested in Apple products and Steve Jobs, and I embraced the project with great zeal. The app store had just opened and there were only a small handful of apps available. During the spring and summer of 2010, the app store was so young that there was little or no research available on this groundbreaking territory. I conducted my own surveys of early adopters who were the first pioneers to immerse themselves in the domain of the app world.
Could you tell us about your current work?
I currently manage two start-ups based in Rome. My first company, NutKase, provides protective cases for iPads and MacBooks. In September 2015 I co-founded a second start-up called Scooterino, the first scooter ride-sharing solution in Europe. My time is split between leading these two teams that both share the same office. We just closed a new round of funding which will help us scale Scooterino nationally.
What advice do you have for current IB students that are thinking about a career like yours?
I would encourage all students interested in innovation and creativity to challenge the norm, be curious about everything and investigate alternate educational tools to enhance their learning.
When I was studying in the DP I was one of a handful of students who owned an iPad. The first model had just come out and the iPad was not yet valued in education. I got my first business idea by solving a real problem I was having: how to protect my prized iPad from slipping out of my hand! I needed a case to protect my iPad but there were none for sale yet in Italy. I got busy with cardboard, wire, tape, elastic and other materials to construct my own protective cover for my iPad. To build a real case for my business, I spent mornings before school online searching for a manufacturer who spoke English. By my 18th birthday my first shipment of cases was delivered from a manufacturer in Asia.