Antonia Benson

Antonia Benson

How did you hear about Leeds University Business School and why did you choose to study here? 
I first heard about Leeds University Business School from my father who studied here when he was at university. As my undergraduate degree was very far away from my family home in Yorkshire, for practicality I wanted to study my Masters degree somewhere a bit closer to home. Leeds University Business School was immediately in the running because of its prestigious reputation. I was particularly looking for business schools that offered courses focusing on entrepreneurship; the fact that Leeds offered an MSc in Enterprise was one of the main reasons that I chose Leeds over other business schools.

Tell us about your course – why did you choose it?
The MSc Enterprise particularly stood out to me over the other Masters programs that I considered for its emphasis on a practical approach to learning and on pushing its students to be forward thinking and innovative. 

The Business School has a good relationship with SMEs and entrepreneurs in the Leeds area, so I was particularly excited for the opportunity to learn from established entrepreneurs through the Enterprise ambassador programme and through the Enterprise project. 

The MSc Enterprise’s commitment to fostering entrepreneurship is clear; together with the University of Leeds careers department and SPARK, it acts as an incubation centre for students with bright ideas who are willing to make use of the facilities and scholarships.

Did you receive a scholarship? 
I applied for the MSc Enterprise scholarship after going to one of the Business School’s Open Days in the summer. The staff and students were very inspirational and encouraged students to apply for the scholarships, many of which are based on merit not circumstance. I was surprised but ecstatic to receive one of the Enterprise scholarships, particularly because I hadn’t considered applying for one before the open day.

I think that my scholarship application was successful because my aspirations for the future match very well with the course that I had chosen, and because my personal and academic background brought some diversity to the course. So far being called upon for the odd scholarly duty has been a great addition to the course and my learning experience.

What would you say to anyone considering applying for a scholarship?
I would definitely recommend that people apply for the scholarships, even if they don’t think that they match the criteria or qualifications. If you’re honest about your experiences and aspirations, you might be in with a shot so give it a go.

What are the best things about your studies here – what are you enjoying the most? 
So far, I’m loving the course. My academic background is in English Literature so everything is new to me, but I’ve learnt so much already because the lectures and seminars are interesting and engaging.

The staff are all excellent and we’ve all really enjoyed and learnt a lot from the guest speakers who have come in to share their experiences. The Enterprise tour of local businesses from Leeds to York was a highlight of last semester as we got to see a range of business ideas and models, and had a very interesting networking session with local entrepreneurs.

What are your career aspirations? 
My current intention for the future is to start a business venture of my own, either independently or as a subsidiary to my family’s SME which is, as it was historically, in the textiles industry. Like all surviving textiles manufacturers in the UK it has had to adapt significantly over the years in order to survive the major changes to the industry that have occurred in the 20th Century due to technological innovations and globalisation. To expand the company and build on its current success, I hope to utilise the experience and knowledge that I gain on the Enterprise course.

With regards to starting up a business venture of my own, as well as firing my own novice ideas, the Enterprise course is also making clearer the opportunities to exploit within growing industries. I know that I will gain invaluable experience from the Enterprise and New Venture Creation module as well as The Enterprise Project which will give me the opportunity to put my learning into practice. I’m particularly excited to work alongside and to learn from established entrepreneurs about their experiences, failures and successes.

What has been your experience of the facilities, the staff, your peers, the city of Leeds and the Yorkshire region?  
The Business School and the facilities available (including the careers department and SPARK) are great. I really feel like I’m in exactly the right place for what I want to do in the future. There’s a really good atmosphere in the class, with students from various countries from all over the world bringing something unique to the table.

I’m a local girl so I already know and love Yorkshire, but for students considering studying here from further afield, it really is a beautiful place with lots of lovely places to visit. Leeds is a great student city with lots to offer.

Are there any experiences outside of your studies that you particularly enjoy? 
Leeds University Union is great; they really cater for all interests so there’s something for everyone. I’m personally a member of the ski society and the wine society! 

Leeds is a great night out because it offers diversity. There’s plenty of grimy student nights for people who like clubbing but there’s also lots of nice bars and places to eat too if that’s not your scene.

There’s lots to see and do in Yorkshire. The countryside is truly beautiful and it’s easy to get to everywhere by train.

Would you recommend the Business School to others who are considering studying here?  
I would definitely recommend the Business School to anyone thinking of applying.