As part of our Business and Law Student Spotlight 2021, we spoke to recent UWE Bristol Marketing graduate, Charlie Mills, about her journey at UWE Bristol and finishing University during a pandemic.
What has been your biggest achievement during your time at UWE Bristol?
“Getting through third year during the pandemic! I’ve also got a job starting which will be working at a HR company with the Digital Marketing team which is really exciting and was a great feeling to have something secured.
Also, getting a Deans Award Certificate of Excellence for every year of study has been such an honour and so rewarding.”
What did you find challenging about University?
“My first year was rocky. I did a Foundation Year in Business and Law and found the first term really hard, so for anyone struggling when joining University it definitely gets better! I ended up making such a close group of friends on my course and had lots of fun.
I also took advantage of doing a Placement Year which was a great way to set me up for my future career and get a years’ worth of experience in Marketing before Graduating.
I have really enjoyed creating great personal and professional relationships at UWE as this is what really drives me. It is so nice to know that my lecturers are routing for me both during my time at UWE and afterwards.”
What advice would you give to new students?
“If you don’t love University straight away, and you think everyone around you is, do not panic, you are not alone! Often, people aren’t having as much fun as it looks and transitioning from school to university is hard and a massive change. You might not find your best group of friends instantly, but people change and grow so much over the 3 years you will find your people. Get stuck in with as much as you possibly can, whether it’s a sport, society, student ambassador programme etc. as you’ll meet so many like-minded people and you never know what opportunities might arise.
If you have the opportunity to do a placement or year-abroad, definitely do it. If this isn’t for you then try and make the most of the long summer holidays and take part in work experience and internships.”
During the Covid-19 lockdown, four Business and Events Management students ran a virtual event aimed at raising money for a charity whilst also raising people’s spirits during a tough time. As part of their programme, they were tasked with running an event within the ‘Staging and Evaluating Events’ module, however, this time it was slightly different in that no physical events were allowed to happen and everything had gone online.
Emma, Imogen, Hannah and Maddison worked together to produce their event ‘Light up your Lockdown’ and decided that they wanted to make this a fundraising event as they wanted to support charities struggling through the pandemic. St. Michael’s Hospice (North Hampshire) was the charity chosen as Imogen and Maddison are both from the area and wanted to support the amazing work the charity does for the community, such as supporting many patients and their families in their final stages of life.
The students were tasked with hosting the event with no budget, which was tough, however, they managed to pull it off and ran a hugely successful event. It consisted of a cocktail masterclass, origami workshop, bingo and a charity raffle. The students said that they had wanted to put a different spin on the typical lockdown events they had been seeing, with virtual zoom quizzes being heavily exhausted. This paid off and they had fantastic attendance and raised £1,257 in total.
“I have had to learn to work in new ways and think outside of the box. For example, if COVID had not have happened I don’t know if we would’ve come up with the event ideas that we did – creating something unique to engage people and thinking outside of the box.”
As part of our Business and Law Student Spotlight 2021, we spoke to Business and HR Management student, Elena Carmen Ceesay, about her journey so far at UWE Bristol. Carmen is a mature student and has recently returned to education to help her get her dream job.
What has been your biggest achievement over the past year?
“My greatest achievement is successfully passing all my exams despite all the challenges! My confidence has definitely improved and I have learnt new things that I can now apply to every aspect of my life.”
What has been your biggest challenge over the past year?
“The last year has been really challenging, not only due to the pandemic but also due to personal circumstances. I am a mature student and a working mum. It has been a struggle with childcare for my two-year-old undiagnosed autistic daughter, and I have particularly struggled with time management. It was inspiring to me to receive such good results in my first year at university and this has given me the confidence to go into my second year.
I also had doubts about fitting in with my classmates due to an age gap, however, in our team working assignments my experience benefited the whole team and we worked really well together to complete various projects.”
What advice would you give to new students or those looking into Higher Education?
“Never be scared to always improve yourself, no matter what age you are! Returning as a mature student I was worried I wouldn’t fit in, I wouldn’t have time to do what is needed and that it wouldn’t benefit me – but all those thoughts are now gone.
I would also advise new students to plan their time well and ensure that they work on assignments from the beginning of the module and not last minute. Engaging with the reading list is also important, it is there to help you, so take advantage of that list already put together for you.”
As part of his role on the Business and Management advisory board here at UWE Bristol, MHI CEO Paul Brown advocates for getting students ready for SME employment once they enter the working world. In 2019, MHI introduced the ‘MHI placement student scheme’, offering UWE students the opportunity to join the team for a year of industry experience.
We caught up with Sophie Cottrell, a Business and Marketing student on placement at MHI for the past 10 months.
How have you found adjusting from student life to working life? What have you enjoyed?
“Initially it was a challenge. The days felt long as I was adjusting to a full working day as opposed to the odd one-hour lecture. And as for student nights out, Covid has worked in my favour as I haven’t missed out on any which made the adjustment easier! I have really enjoyed having a routine. I now find that I fit so much into my days, enjoying keeping busy and feeling productive. I hope to carry this mindset into my final year of University.”
Which has been your favourite department to work in?
“This is a difficult question, as I have benefitted so much from working in different departments. It has really consolidated my knowledge of the business. But also, because I’m afraid I might offend the “marketing boys” when I say my favourite department has been Client Services. I enjoyed the process of following a job through from start to finish. I found the role challenging, with most tasks being completely new to me, but that made it even more interesting!”
What advice would you give to the next placement student?
“My advice for life is to always remember that every day is an opportunity to start afresh. If you find yourself having a challenging day, just remember that the following one comes with a fresh slate.”
What are your plans post-university?
“I’m hoping to complete a ski season in France for the winter after I graduate. I was debating doing one before Uni but thought I better at least learn to cook and look after myself before I host a chalet! I’ve been lucky enough to ski since I was 6 and love the entire experience. The feeling, the views, and the overall lifestyle. My plans are then to focus on securing a job. But for now, I would like a few more experiences before things get too serious in the world of work.”
“I’d like to thank everyone at MHI for their continued support, and I look forward to seeing how much more I can learn in my final 2 months.”
Exam season is just around the corner and we know that this can be a stressful time, so we have gathered our top tips from some of our Business and Law academics to give you a head start in acing your upcoming exams.
Read the question, answer the question
Lucy Rees (Associate Head of Department, Law)
It might sound obvious, but it’s really important that you carefully read the whole question thoroughly and actually answer the question. Take time to identify the key words – if it asks you to define, you get marks for defining, if you are asked to provide examples that means you will get marks for your examples. Only write what is relevant and required in the question.
Remaster the art of pen to paper
Hilary Drew (Associate Head of Department for Partnerships and Senior Lecturer in Human Resource Management)
How much time do we actually spend writing these days? Writing with a pen on paper, for two and a half hours, even the thought of it is enough to make your wrists ache! When doing your revision, actually write up your notes by hand instead of typing them. Buy a fancy notebook, some highlighters, and a new pen or two! By writing your revision notes longhand, not only will you be training your arm for the exam marathon, but also engaging with your learning at a deeper level. It helps you to absorb the information you need to learn, making it easier to recall it in the exam room.
Make it easy for the person marking it
Osman Yukselturk (Associate Head of Department, Accounting and Finance)
Sometimes presentation can be as important as calculation and arriving at the result. Remember that somebody will be marking your paper, so present your work in a clear and understandable way that makes it easy for them to see how you got to the answer. Having a look at the mark allocation might give you a hint about how detailed your answer should be and how much time you should spend on it.
Prepare for the exam, not just the content
Marcus Keppel-Palmer (Senior Lecturer, Law)
Answering an exam is a skill, the same as any other skill or assessment. You get better at sport or piano by practising, and it’s the same with essays and exams. The more you practice writing out answers in full – adhering to time limits, word limits and structures – the easier it is under the extra pressure of the exam setting. If the first time you write an answer out is actually in the exam, you are trying to master a new skill under stressful circumstances. Write out your answers in full and within the time limit, then read them back. It’s amazing how you will see an improvement.
Read the entire exam paper
Yvette Morey (Associate Head of Programmes, Marketing, Events and Tourism)
Don’t dive straight in, take some time to read the entire exam paper first. Take in the scope of the paper and questions, and start thinking about what is being asked of you. By doing this, your brain will start doing some of the processing for you. Use some paper to do a rough plan of each answer – it’ll help you remember, save you time when you come to later questions, and break the paper down into smaller, more manageable chunks.
Renée Marston studied at UWE Bristol on the BA(Hons) Business Management with Accounting and Finance course. This blog is about Renée’s experience of studying abroad whilst at UWE Bristol.
I chose to take a year out to study overseas as part of my course. And through the Erasmus+ scheme and UWE Bristol, I attended Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences (JAMK) in Finland.
I have to say that this experience has already enhanced my prospects for the future, both personally and professionally as I was able to take part in a volunteering experience which enabled me to gain international experience within a place of work, whilst also helping others. I was also able to take a language course as part of my studies which employers really value.
Something that was very important to me personally, was that I was also able to significantly increase my confidence and adaptability to a brand-new environment. This has and will continue to help me personally and professionally in the future when applying for graduate roles.
Socially, I took some amazing trips and got involved in different activities. I went to Lapland and saw the Northern Lights. I also joined the University’s dance team. Stepping outside of my comfort zone enabled me to make new friends from countries all around the world.
“This experience has already enhanced my prospects for the future, both personally and professionally”
Top tips for students thinking about study year abroad
The main advice I would give to students wanting to go abroad, particularly to study, is to believe in yourself and believe you can do it. Be bold; get involved and use your time overseas to the fullest.
On a practical level, do your research. Look into things that are important to you about the university and the country. This could be checking out the sports facilities, what food outlets are on campus or the support facilities such as the library. You want to be able to find comfort in the place you will be living in for a significant amount of time.
Don’t miss out
Whatever your decision, do this for yourself and not based on what your friends are doing. None of my friends applied to study abroad and I nearly followed them, even though I knew I wanted to get more information and apply. If I did follow my friends, then I would have never had the experiences that I did.
“Studying abroad has been the best time of my life. Thankyou UWE, JAMK and Erasmus+ for allowing me to have this opportunity of a lifetime.”
Benjamin Draper, Business Management with Economics graduate and William Testeil, International Business graduate, have created an app that makes it fun and simple for families to improve their wellbeing by encouraging them to exercise, eat well and stay mentally active together, and all within their own home if necessary – very pertinent in the current climate and beyond.
The app differentiates from what currently exists in 2 primary ways:
Firstly, it is the first app specifically catered to families, covering all 3 fundamental elements of wellbeing, exercise, nutrition, and mental health. Within each category is a variety of challenges and activities, appropriate for both children and parents. These range from simple workouts to more innovative challenges with different difficulty levels and time taken to complete them. This range of activities means the app can adapt to a busy family lifestyle and diverse needs. This allows families to easily implement health habits into their routine to achieve their desired health and effortlessly spend more quality time together.
Secondly, the app combines health activities with gamification through an engaging personal avatar that tracks their progress. This enables the family members to visualise the positive impact their healthier lifestyle is having on them, providing a fun and motivation experience to improve wellbeing as a family. Keeping everyone’s character healthy = keeping the family healthy! Additionally, to further motivate each family member, the app also contains a simple and engaging rewards system. Each time you successfully complete a challenge you gain a seed, collect multiple seeds in a row and you can earn a wellbeing flower! The aim is essentially to grow and collect as many wellbeing flowers as possible while enhancing your own health and happiness.
As we all know having a healthy family unit is incredibly important. When a family spends more time together and keeps a healthy routine, they tend to be much happier.
Benjamin and William say that “while there are a significant amount of health and fitness resources to help individuals, we have recognised a lack of solutions and support available to families. The current lack of solutions to this problem can result in children becoming disinterested to engage in healthy activities, and with parents having numerous responsibilities and limited time, it can be a challenge to implement essential health habits into a family routine.”
From this realisation, they believed it was time to fill this gap in the market and provide the tool families deserve to help them stay healthy and happy.
After a full year of extensive market research, they have been able to gain invaluable insights from talking directly with children and parents. “Through this customer-centric research approach, we built numerous prototypes, to test our assumptions and allow families to give us feedback to develop a compelling concept. In turn, the combination of our passion for health, helping others and our research has led us to leveraging modern technology to provide this simple and engaging mobile application with one objective in mind – help children and parents collectively achieve their desired health in a fun and convenient way.”
The app has had very encouraging feedback from both children and parents:
“This is a great idea and would have been amazing when my kids were younger. I searched for similar at the time and never found anything like this”
“I love this idea, my girl is 6 and she loves anything that may be a challenge!”
“Translating the health of the app-user into a facial expression is a great way to motivate the user to care for themselves”
“I really like the selection of challenges. Cleaning or climbing upstairs is something you do every day without realising the benefits”
“I think it is really cool to take care of your own character, and it has definitely motivated me to be healthier”
“This makes improving my health fun and not so boring sometimes!”
“Downloaded the app 15 minutes ago, we have completed something out of each category. I think the workout 1 is the most I’ve been able to happily get my 5-year-old to move during lockdown. Also the food lucky dip he has just happily eaten an apple. He’s already asking what else we can do next. Really enjoying it so far. “Yep I’m enjoying it” – George 5 years”
What was your biggest challenge?
“One of the biggest challenges so far has been funding for the project. While we are very driven individuals, we have only recently graduated university and lacked the start-up capital we needed for this amazing project. That is why we set up our Kickstarter campaign, to present our idea to the public and get people as excited about it as we are. Fortunately, the campaign got amazing support and we achieved 115% of our funding goal.”
“Another challenge we face concerns choosing features to include in the app to further its development. We want to make sure we are providing families with exactly what they need and want to achieve their wellbeing goals, so making sure the correct features are included is very important to us. While we have conducted extensive research on this, there is still room for more improvement by testing not just what features will be included but also how they are integrated to provide families with maximum value.”
How does it feel to have launched the app and secured funding?
“We were completely blown away by the community involvement in our app, as well as the belief in us and this project. Securing 115% of our funding goal was amazing and we did not take it lightly!”
“Since then, we have worked very hard to create something that truly helps families and that we would be proud of. To have all this hard work come to fruition and get the reactions we have already had from parents and children feels amazing. It is a very fulfilling feeling to see and be told by your own customers about the positive impact that we are making on their lives.”
“One of the most exciting things for us is that we are only at the very beginning of this exciting journey and we are only going to improve what we provide from here. We cannot wait to introduce the app to more and more families to help them achieve the health and happiness they have always wanted.”
What are your hopes for the future?
“Our ambition is to be the go-to, trusted platform, families can easily access to effectively improve their health in an enjoyable way. Offering a simple solution to a large problem.”
“We also hope to create partnerships with schools, as well as local gyms, to reach and positively impact tens of thousands of families on a global scale. On a personal level, we cannot wait to continue positively impacting families lives and get more people healthier and happier. At the moment we are only able to work on this part time so getting funding to enable us to have this as our full-time work would be amazing. These are our goals over the next 12 months.”
Jerry Barnor is a final year BA Banking and Finance student studying at UWE Bristol.
I always knew I would study Finance at University, it’s something that I’ve always been interested in. I would regularly follow the financial news and read articles about inflation and interest rates and how this affected the economy. It was fascinating to me even though at that time, I didn’t fully comprehend what it all meant.
As I’ve progressed through my course this has all fallen into place and I have a much deeper understanding of the subject matter. I still continue to follow the financial news the difference now is that it makes complete sense to me.
Friends, finance and facilities
My time here at UWE has been really good – I’m close with all my classmates and the teaching and staff have been great. Very different from what I was used to previously (at college). There’s a good mix of lectures which focus on both theory and practical application. I’ve been involved in debates and presented both individually and as part of a group. This was something I had never done before. I’ve also been involved in reflective essays critiquing my work to understand how this could be improved.
“I’ve made some very good friends both in and out of class and I’ve taken advantage of the facilities such as the Bloomberg Trading Room. The data you have access to is incredible and has been valuable to support my studies, in particular with writing my dissertation.”
From Bristol to Barcelona
The great thing about UWE is there’s always something going on. And I had heard about an event called Go Global. Go Global is an opportunity for students to work on a short-term internship in a different country.
There was a position at a tech firm in Barcelona which I applied for and got the job! The firm specialised in gaming which is something I know about (being an avid gamer myself).
The placement was over two months in the summer and through Go Global and Erasmus I was given a bursary of £1,500 which helped finance my flights and accommodation.
The role was quite varied, I was working in the marketing department supporting recruitment of new clients. This involved writing emails and setting-up meetings. I was also lucky enough to attend some of these meetings and present to prospective clients. I would create estimates, getting the balance of each pricing model depending on the needs of each client, which was a great way of bringing my financial knowledge to the role.
Being in a working environment you learn so much. I feel I had a good grasp of different software (Word, Excel etc), but using this in a real scenario was very different! I feel like I’ve learnt a lot.
“Taking part in the Go Global scheme was such a fantastic experience and I made new friends who I’m still in touch with now.”
Isabelle Peters, former UWE Bristol Marketing and Communications student has written a guest blog with her advice for current students looking to get into a Marketing role after University.
There comes a time when all good things must come to an end, and that includes school and then University.
Most people leave
school and go straight to University without actually being exposed to all
their options and end up regretting their course and being stuck with a degree
in something useless and not knowing what to do.
happened to me.
I was just about to
head to Manchester to study History when I stopped and asked myself: what do I
need this degree for? I took two years out to figure it out
and landed on a Marketing & Communications course at UWE instead (best
decision ever by the way).
I studied (and
partied) hard for three years to get my degree, and then the realisation kicked
in that I had to find a job, and that it should be in the field I’ve spent a
lot of time and money on during University. It should be easy right? You study
for your degree, and now it’s your time to shine and get your dream job and salary
and begin your life…
Well, sadly no.
Getting a job is
very difficult, and I wasn’t enlightened about how hard it would be, nor did I
listen. I must have applied for over 60 jobs before I even started to get
interviews, and my experience still wasn’t enough. This is an essential piece
of information that I HAVE to express to current students: if you don’t have
actual real-world experience in your desired industry, good luck trying to find
a job because it will be hard.
If you are serious
about a career in Marketing, PR, Comms, Journalism or anything related, I would
100% suggest doing a placement year or at least a few weeks unpaid work
experience here and there during holidays. I’ve found the best way to approach
this type of work experience is to build a solid LinkedIn page, do some
research and connect with the MD/CEO of the company expressing your interest in
working unpaid/work experience.
If you need
assistance with finding a workplace/work experience, Moxie
& Mettle offer a unique Graduate Plus scheme for entry-level graduates and current
students. They aim signpost candidates to their clients who are looking for
students or graduates to fulfil a work placement and hopefully help more people
My second piece of
advice is to familiarise yourself with extra marketing blogs and materials on
the internet – all posted at the bottom. A big part of marketing is
understanding the current market, keeping on top of changes and understanding
constant developments. Not only will this increase your knowledge, but it will
accustom you to the language of marketing and develop your copywriting
This brings me on
to my third piece of advice. Copywriting is at the heart of what you do. (When
I first started at Moxie & Mettle, I didn’t even really know what this
meant, and I actually had to Google it discretely). It is the activity or
occupation of writing the text of advertisements or publicity material. It
comes in all shapes and sizes from a blog to a post on social media! Usually,
we’re taught to write academically for essays and reports, while in the real
world, we should be writing in a style that’s accessible for our target
audience. Meaning it should probably be more colloquial, simpler and ENGAGING.
Marketing is moving
away from theory-heavy academia and newspapers to digital platforms, which
means our consumer is changing the way they take in information.
Blogging is a big
part of content marketing; it promotes and raises brand awareness. I know
blogging can’t necessarily be taught, but practise helps, and the process of
understanding different audiences can be tricky. I struggled a lot when I first
started writing blogs for Moxie & Mettle, I was unsure how to lay it out,
and the tone was all wrong. My advice is to read a lot of these style blogs and
practise writing whenever you can.
Finally, my last
piece of advice is to try and build your confidence up as much as you can.
University can’t teach you to be a people person but testing yourself by
joining clubs and societies can!
I’m a firm believer
in the ‘people hire people’ concept, which pretty much suggests if you leave a
great impression you will be remembered. A significant part of my job is
attending any slightly relevant events to act as a brand ambassador for my
company; this helps us generate leads and meet new clients.
I have currently
been working for Moxie & Mettle for almost a year, and honestly, I have
learnt so much about marketing and myself; what I’m good at and what I can
improve on; but weirdly enough what marketing really is.
The below blog post has been co-authored by Edina Opoczki (BA International Business student) and Hayley Iovannelli- International Recruitment Manager for the Faculty of Business and Law.
Hi! My name is Edina and I’m currently studying the International Business programme here, at UWE Bristol. Now I’m in my final year, I decided to continue my studies overseas as part of the ‘Study Abroad’ scheme. I chose to study at one of UWE’s partner institutions (ESSCA) as it provided me with the opportunity to study in two countries; Angers (a city in western France, about 300 km (190 mi) southwest of Paris) and I’m currently in Shanghai, China.
It has been an interesting journey so far, and I wanted to share my experiences to help anyone who may be thinking about doing this.
Things I now know (that I did not know before)
I spent a lot of time researching the institution and the area in France and China. But, as I discovered, there’s always more you can and should do!
Here are my top tips:
Try to learn a bit of the language before you go – not everyone will speak English and if you can speak even the basics this will really help. And your language skills will evolve as you’ll have lots of opportunities to speak with other students.
about the local amenities and services – I needed a dentist quite urgently
when I was in France and it just wasn’t something I’d considered before, so
well worth finding out about local English speaking amenities
your budget – some areas are more cost effective than others so it’s worth
scoping out the different places to live and eat
and speak to students who have done this before – they can give you
valuable information about what to expect, places to visit to really make the
most out of your time there
Be prepared for the cultural differences – find out the basics about how you should meet and greet people, restaurant etiquette, tipping etc. as each country is different
yourself! – take every opportunity to explore, discover, practice the
language and make the most of it!
Things I wish I had done differently
While I was in Angers during my first semester, I felt like I was missing out on the opportunity to make close friendships with the other international students because I found my accommodation privately rather than staying in the dormitory where most of the students were. On the other hand, in terms of money – value proposition, my room seemed to be the better option and that is why I choose it in the end.
When preparing to head out to Shanghai, the only thing I wish I had done even more before arriving was saving up money for travelling around the country. Life in Shanghai is more expensive than in Bristol so be prepared. Travelling around this huge country is costly and time-consuming because of the distances so I would advise everyone planning to study in Shanghai to save up as much as you can.
Why France and China?
The reason why I chose France to study is because I wanted to make sure I can build more international experience through my ‘Year Abroad’ scheme and France just seemed to be one of the perfect locations to do so. My goal was to live in a country which is a founding member of the EU and is totally different from the UK in terms of culture.
China has always been one of those destinations I have been dreaming about ever since I was a child. When I found out ESSCA has a campus in Shanghai I was beyond happy. China for me is the Rome of business world where all businesses leads to China. Because of the nature of my international business studies, I wanted to further build my experiences in a country taking a lead of newness, innovation and world trade.
How do I find my way around in Shanghai?
Before I came to China, I already downloaded multiple apps on
my phone, saved all important addresses both in English and Chinese, made sure
I always had a copy of UWE Travel Insurance on my phone and I already
familiarized myself with the metro lines. There are several websites and apps
you can take advantage of, and these are the ones that I found to be the most
(guidance when visiting other cities)
(like TA but more complex with local metro map)
(detailed list of services, shops, information about SH)
(online supermarket for Western style grocery shopping)
This list is not full and there are many other apps and websites available.
How did I develop personally and professionally during
‘Study Year Abroad’ allows me to further extend my knowledge and experience on the following topics: cross-cultural management, international human resources, international marketing, artificial intelligence, the energy sector, old and contemporary European and Chinese history and politics, the European Union, French and Chinese languages, doing business in China and many more.
As well as personal development, I have gained and further extended my academic skills and abilities. Both France and China have prepared me to take on the next challenges. I believe, with cultural awareness my ability to adapt to change of circumstances and openness for newness has prepared me to gain new experiences and makes me brave enough to apply for international jobs in the future.