How UWE Bristol helped us turn an idea into a business

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By Andy, BA(Hons) Business (Team Entrepreneurship)

UWE Bristol graduate, Andy, tells us about his choice to study the BA(Hons) Business (Team Entrepreneurship) course here at UWE Bristol, and how the course enabled him and his business partner Guy to start their own business; Target Student.

Why UWE Bristol?

The decision to come to UWE Bristol was an easy one for us both – when researching the course, we both felt it was describing us directly, listing our ambitions and career goals. I’m originally from Bristol so had admired the University before this, but the course information sealed the deal.

The vocational business management degree was one of the first of its kind, which made the decision all the easier for us both. The unique course delivery was fantastic, enabling us to learn from the experiences of others. This was combined with a blend of academic study and students running businesses supported by the UWE Enterprise Zone.

The course

The course delivered exactly what we were looking for; it allowed us to learn, implement, reflect, and assess the impact on real business ideas and decisions, instead of just writing about them hypothetically. The highlight for us was the hands-on nature and practical elements, which gave us the confidence and know-how to get our business up and running.

But it wasn’t the teaching alone that made our degree so special. The facilities at UWE Bristol were modern and tailored to individual needs. For our course, there was a dedicated team office space, which was a vital factor in establishing an entrepreneurial community.

“The lecturers were world-class too. Our course leader was a successful academic with an enterprising attitude. She had a thorough understanding of the spaces we’d be using, so was the perfect person to trailblaze the course.”

We also gained soft skills on the course, like patience, understanding, the ability to give and receive feedback from our peers, and a growth mindset that we both rely on to this day. And we each gained something students don’t often get from a degree – a business partner.

Starting our business

Joining UWE Bristol was the catalyst for us starting our own business – something Guy and I had often dreamed about before enrolling. We met on our course and began developing a successful working relationship that benefited from our balanced attributes and complementary skills. I’m often impulsive and excited about most decisions, while Guy is more measured and takes a step back to assess everything. Guy is good with numbers, while I’m more process driven. This combination of traits proved to be a recipe for success. Many of the philosophies and processes we practised during our degree now form the basis of our work, and we’re always looking for ways to improve.

We began developing our idea in our second year and secured a summer internship through the UWE Enterprise Zone, which helped us to start our business, Target Student. Our business focuses on changing the way the world engages with students at home, giving everyone the opportunity to connect with them all year-round through a responsible platform. We do this by supplying, managing and maintaining digital signage networks specifically for university accommodation providers across the UK, connecting students with the brands they love.

UWE Bristol gave us the tools we needed to get started. Even the city of Bristol helped us out; as a rebellious city with a thriving independent culture, it helped us build our first customer base.

“We’re both immensely proud to be UWE Bristol alumni, particularly on a course that gave us the skills and knowledge we needed to start a business with success and inspired us to dream big.”

Our next dream – seeing our names on the alumni board in the Bristol Business School.

How a unique learning opportunity at UWE Bristol offered me a career-changing experience.

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By Kate, BA(Hons) Filmmaking

UWE Bristol undergraduate, Kate, tells us how a unique learning opportunity gave her the chance to try out new skills, which has inspired her to consider new career options. Read more about Kate’s story.

“When I first heard about the Glenside major incident exercise from our teaching team, I knew I wanted to be involved. After all, this was one of most ambitious simulation exercises ever hosted at UWE Bristol. It took nine months to organise and involved 500+ people, so what a great opportunity to film this experience.

What was the Glenside major incident exercise?

The University wanted to bring learning to life by simulating a commercial airliner disaster for a major incident training exercise for students at Glenside Campus. They created this using a section of a Boeing 747 aircraft and staged a crash site wreckage in a field on campus. Staff set dressed it to look like the plane had just crashed. Some people played the part of injured passengers alongside dummies with cards around necks detailing the injuries sustained.

It was amazing how many students benefited from this exercise. Healthcare students from Adult Nursing, Paramedic Science and Physician Associate courses got the chance to test their skills in an emergency situation. Drama students played various roles alongside professional actors, and of course Filmmaking students, like myself, were there to gain experience behind the camera.

What was your role on the day?

As a Filmmaking student, I was in the centre of the action to follow the story from start to end. They announced the plane had crashed and then more and more people appeared on the scene. People were screaming and covered in fake wounds created by special effects make up. I filmed the students triaging and treating the casualties at the scene and then sending them off by ambulance to a simulated major trauma centre.

It all felt like it was really happening, and as the simulation was so well staged it was a great chance to see how you cope in a stress situation, especially for the healthcare students acting as first responders.

What did you gain from the experience?

I was excited to be involved in the simulation as I’m keen to get into camera work, and this gave me a chance to practise new skills without it being an assessed module. This was great as I didn’t feel any pressure on being graded. 

The filming experience was very different to the filming I do on my course. Everything on the course is normally very planned, so this was something completely different. You felt like you were being thrown into this crisis situation and I had to trust my filmmaking instincts worked under pressure. I had to think on my feet and decide what should be covered and how to get the best coverage of the situation when interviewing people telling their story through film. 

The simulation was such a great exercise. It offered a really unique learning opportunity for students across many courses to put their skills into practice. Having previously shied away from camera work, believing my strengths were in directing and producing, this was my chance to try it out. And the great thing is having had this chance, I can now really see myself moving more in to camera work. Without this experience, I could have missed out on this career-changing opportunity.”

How progressing to postgraduate study at UWE Bristol helped Ruth to find career success.

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By Ruth, BSc(Hons) Accounting and Finance and MSc Accounting and Finance alum.

Our alum, Ruth, tells us her reasons behind studying her master’s degree and why she decided to stay at UWE Bristol to continue her studies. She shares how progressing to postgraduate study helped her to gain confidence when job hunting and how her master’s has supported her career so far. Keep reading to find out more about Ruth’s story.

Ruth’s story

Hi, I’m Ruth. I completed my undergraduate degree in Accounting and Finance at UWE Bristol, where I later returned to study a postgraduate degree in Accounting and Finance too.

How I decided postgraduate study was right for me

I believe it’s so important to stay in education and reach the greatest academic level you can. It can be really intimidating heading into the working world, and having a master’s gives you that extra bit of confidence you need.

I’d always known I wanted to do a master’s. After finishing my undergraduate degree, I decided to start working in the field for a while. This experience helped me to find my best fit and showed me finance was the right career path for me.

“I wanted to find a role where I could progress and reach my full potential. The best way to get there was to return to education to build on my undergraduate knowledge to progress my career in finance.”

Why I chose to continue my studies at UWE Bristol

It was a complete no-brainer to go back to UWE Bristol for my postgraduate studies. I’d built great relationships with my tutors during my undergraduate course. As I’d need to work alongside my studies, I knew my tutors would accommodate my situation, as they had done during my first degree.

The tutors genuinely wanted the best for us, and they were completely understanding of my circumstances. My tutors and lecturers offered extra support and would check in on me in a way that showed they genuinely cared. They didn’t only care about our success on the course, but our general wellbeing and future careers too.

Another benefit was the 15% alumni discount, which allowed me to balance my work and my studies. This financial support meant I only needed to work part-time for most of my course. The Business School is accessible 24 hours a day too, so I could go in whenever I could to study flexibly around my work.

How UWE Bristol has supported my career

Completing my postgraduate degree at UWE Bristol didn’t just give me the technical knowledge I’d need for my career. It also helped me to re-learn how to learn, by getting my head back into studying. I’m now studying for professional qualifications around my work, which has become second nature to me thanks to my master’s.

The classes were much smaller for postgraduate study, which helped me to come out of my shell and build confidence in sharing ideas and bouncing off others. This changed the way I looked at finding jobs afterwards too. Job hunting wasn’t only about me wanting to find work, but it was also about companies having the chance to recruit me too.

“I had so much more confidence after postgraduate study, and I found the pay I was offered was substantially more than before gaining my master’s degree.”

Final thoughts

I’m so pleased I did my master’s degree at UWE Bristol. I now work for a great company, which is helping me progress my career by supporting me to become a qualified paraplanner. Paraplanners work with financial planners, completing research and helping make financial recommendations for clients.

The knowledge I gained has given me all that I need to complete my professional qualifications. I’ve also learned how to manage my time efficiently, develop logical exam technique and balance my working life alongside my studies. I’m looking forward to progressing my career in the future, with a huge thanks to UWE Bristol for making this possible.

Find out more about postgraduate study at UWE Bristol.

How my master’s at UWE Bristol is helping me to pursue my dream career in HR.

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By Harriet, full-time MSc Human Resource Management student.

Our postgraduate student, Harriet, tells us how her master’s in Human Resource Management (HRM) is supporting her career aspirations. Harriet shares what she’s enjoyed most about her course and the support she’s received throughout her studies. Read more about Harriet’s story.

Continue reading “How my master’s at UWE Bristol is helping me to pursue my dream career in HR.”

How my master’s at UWE Bristol is supporting my career change to become an HR professional.

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By Anthony, part-time MSc Human Resources Management student.

Our postgraduate student, Anthony, tells us how his master’s in Human Resource Management (HRM) is helping him to change careers after returning to university. Anthony shares the highlights of studying HRM at UWE Bristol, as well as how he’s managing studying part-time alongside his job. Read more about Anthony’s story.

Continue reading “How my master’s at UWE Bristol is supporting my career change to become an HR professional.”

How progressing to postgraduate study is helping Laura to invest in her future.

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By Laura, BSc(Hons) Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science and MSc Science Communication student.

Our student, Laura, tells us why she decided to stay at UWE Bristol to study for a master’s after graduating from her undergraduate degree. She shares the benefits of postgraduate study and how UWE Bristol is preparing her for a career in science communication. Keep reading to find out more about Laura’s story.

Continue reading “How progressing to postgraduate study is helping Laura to invest in her future.”

How UWE Bristol have supported my PhD studies as an international student.

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By Rista, Aerospace Engineering PhD student.

Our PhD student, Rista, tells us about her experiences of studying a PhD as an international student and how she’s funded studying abroad. She also shares how UWE Bristol are supporting her career aspirations in academia through her postgraduate research study. Read more about Rista’s story.

Continue reading “How UWE Bristol have supported my PhD studies as an international student.”

How my PhD at UWE Bristol has helped me to pursue my passion.

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By Anna, PhD student.

Our PhD student, Anna, tells us how she pursued her passion for community-led housing and social change through postgraduate research study. Anna shares how she gained funding for her PhD and how UWE Bristol have supported her as a mature student. Read more about Anna’s story.

Continue reading “How my PhD at UWE Bristol has helped me to pursue my passion.”

How working in UWE Bristol’s Covid-19 testing facility has prepared me to create my best future working in science.

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By Daniel, BSc(Hons) Forensic Science

UWE Bristol student, Daniel, tells us what it’s like to work at the new walk-in Covid-19 testing facility on Frenchay Campus. He shares his experience of helping the local community during the pandemic and how his new skills have boosted his employability. Keep reading to hear Daniel’s story. 

Continue reading “How working in UWE Bristol’s Covid-19 testing facility has prepared me to create my best future working in science.”

How the opportunities at UWE Bristol have helped Kirsty to get a Women in Engineering scholarship.

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By Kirsty, Mechanical Engineering student.

Our final year student, Kirsty, tells us about studying Mechanical Engineering at UWE Bristol. She also shares her experience of her engineering placement year and how she achieved a space in Santander’s Women in Engineering Scholarship Programme.

Continue reading “How the opportunities at UWE Bristol have helped Kirsty to get a Women in Engineering scholarship.”

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