My keen interest in business was my main motivation in choosing the Economics & Management course at Leeds University Business School. The course helped develop and encourage the entrepreneurial spirit I always knew I had (for example, I used to sell cigarettes at school for a significant profit, not very ethical I know, and certainly not something I would do now!).
The best part of my studies was learning & practicing skills that have been of great use to me in the ‘real world’. Examples include setting up, operating and liquidating a company as part of the young enterprise project, studying financial accounting, employment law, SWOT and PEST analysis.
I loved Leeds – the people were friendly, the city had a great buzz and there was always something interesting to do in my spare time. The Business School was fantastic. The building is impressive and inspiring. Certain tutors made me realise that attention to detail in business is key – and that high standards make you stand out from your competitors.
I remember selling box frames with Chinese symbols on at a shopping centre that we had created as part of our Young Enterprise project. The idea was mine, and in Marxian terms, I found the experience of being instrumental in the conceptualisation, manufacture and selling of the goods empowering and satisfying.
My graduation was attended by all my family and it was commented by one of my tutors that I had a very loud cheer when I got up on stage to receive my certificate!
I originally aspired to be a millionaire by the age of 21! My goals have changed significantly as a result of my work experience post graduation, and having travelled significantly through the developing world. Foremost, my ethics are now my motivation, but I believe the best way to create and sustain a significant movement is through running my own organisation, within which I practice the skills I learned through my course at the Business School.
Upon leaving Leeds, I went travelling around South America, and upon my return started working in sales for the UK’s largest gap year operator. My final position, before leaving them, was Business Development Manager. In some ways, it was my ideal job; as I was paid to fly out to beautiful locations like Vietnam and do business, however, I also witnessed the inexplicable disparity between the standard of living for the average person in the West compared to those in developing nations. I felt like my company was too greedy and made demands of organisations in poor countries that were unacceptable, so I decided to leave.
My experiences provided me with the ability and inspiration to set up my own not-for-profit social enterprise organisation, called PricePie. Along with my business partner Darren Wilson (also a Leeds University Business School graduate, and Harold Speight prize winner in 2005), we help businesses show their customers where their money goes when they purchase a goods or service from them. (see: www.pricepie.co.uk). Our long term mission is to create and sustain a movement which encourages and enables a fairer distribution of wealth around the world.
My ambition for the future is to empower & provide a better standard of living for impoverished people in the developing world.
My advice now to current students and alumni wishing to pursue a similar career is ‘Do what makes you happy – life is short, so make the most of your time by focussing your energy on something you’re passionate about.’
Making friends that I’m still regularly in touch with today and doing business with, is my lasting appreciation of my time at Leeds. I would certainly recommend others interested in studying business to go to Leeds University Business School. In seriousness, I believe the courses available are relevant, of high quality and will equip students with essential skills to succeed both professionally and personally.