Safiyyah Hafiji (BA Management with Marketing)

Safiyyah Hafiji

How did you hear about Leeds University Business School and why did you choose to study here?

The Business School at the University of Leeds has a fantastic reputation, and boasts many awards and accolades. When searching for a university to study locally, it was the Business School that stood out to me for those reasons. The status and rank of the University itself also persuaded me to study here. Finally, I quite liked the diversity of the students that studied business degrees at Leeds, and for me this was important in order to broaden my network and develop my cultural capital

Tell us about your degree - why did you choose it? What elements of the degree inspired you to study it?       

Since the age of 11, I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, founding and running my own businesses. I always had a passion and flair for business projects, and engaged with this throughout my life thus far, both through studying it and practically bringing my ideas to life. I believe that in order to understand how the business world works, but also the world in general, we need to study marketing. Markets are constructed ultimately due to the choices of people. Marketing in my opinion, underlies every action that an individual and organisation of any kind makes. Be it a bakery, a doctor or an online store. Every individual markets themselves in everyday life, without perhaps even realising they are doing so. This is very interesting. The way a business markets itself majorly defines its success or failure. A lot of the time, people misunderstand what marketing is. They think it’s about creativity and advertising, when in actual fact that is only a drop in the ocean of marketing. I wanted to study marketing, not to work in the industry, as I know that is not something I want to do, but in order for me to successfully bring my enterprising ideas to life and enjoy sustained growth and success, I need to understand the market and the consumers in it. For example, it teaches me strategy, the science behind decision making, broader external factors like politics and the environment that can affect business, as well as factors like trends.

That being said, I ensured that Management was part of my degree in order to develop my leadership skills as well as a variety of other skills that are required in order to manage a business. The psychology in the workplace (organisational behaviour), economics for management, accounting, operations and supply chain management, are a few elements of the management side of my degree that I was keen to learn about. I think both as a manager in the workplace as well as a business owner, one needs to understand all the elements within the business to be successful.

What is the best part of your studies? What are you enjoying the most?

I enjoy the breadth of the degree. I am able to learn about a variety of topics and then if I choose to, hone in on this through choosing similar discovery modules. It allows me to understand a lot, and also draw conclusions about what I enjoy most, and what I need to work on etc.

What are your career aspirations? Do you think the experience and skills you will gain from your degree course will help you in your future career plans? In what way?       

I want to own a range of businesses. Some I will run, and some I will bring to life and share. Right now, I am running two companies. I recently started up Enlighten Records, a record label

Do you have any noteworthy achievements from your studies at the Business School that you can tell us about - eg prizes, highest scores etc?         

There aren’t any particular achievements linked to the business school but the business school did financially support me when I competed in the regionals and semi-finals of the Unilever Future Leaders league competition. I led a team of three as a first year student with the other two students being 3rd year and Masters students. We came 4th in the UK competing against other universities.

Have you taken up any of the extra opportunities available to you and what was your experience of these eg. PASS scheme, work placement, study abroad, being an ambassador, student societies etc.? Any highlights?

I am a Business School ambassador, university student host, I received an enterprise scholarship, I am currently one of 4 students on the year in enterprise working on two business projects. I was the lead student business consultant at an SME in Leeds, after securing an internship with them. All of these roles and opportunities I have undertaken have in some way helped in the moulding of my career aspirations. They have helped in both personal and professional development and enriched my time at university beyond the status quo - I never intended to come to university, which was an opportunity I worked very hard for, to only achieve a degree at the end of it. My goal is to achieve a first in my discipline and be a well-rounded leader, professional and individual.

What is your impression/experience of the facilities, the staff, your peers, the student union, the City of Leeds and the Yorkshire region?   

The union is a lively place to be, I spend a lot of my time on the balcony working and socialising in the heart of the University. Having come from an all-girls high school and sixth form, where a lot of the students were from a certain demographic, coming to this very diverse University was culture shock- a welcome one. I had my reservations, as I found myself to stand out amongst my peers, but I have never had any issues being that way. It’s a welcoming atmosphere and the students are generally friendly. Everyone is doing their own thing, on their own journeys, and I found myself being able to do the same.

Would you recommend the Business School to others who are considering studying here?       

Overall I would. I am a very honest student ambassador, and I try to give parents and students a holistic picture of what a student’s experience could be like, but it’s always positive on the whole.

Were you involved in any widening access schemes before or during your time at Leeds? This may include Access to Leeds, Realising Opportunities, The Plus Programme, or a means-tested scholarship. If so, did this impact on your decision to come to Leeds?             

I was involved in Access to Leeds and by default part of the Plus Programme. The former did influence my decision to come to Leeds, but my heart was pretty much set on Leeds to begin with.