Category Archives: business

How I started a business during my placement year

Ashleigh Plummer, who is an Aston graduate, started a business in his placement year with the support of BSEEN. Ashleigh shares his story below. 

What did you do for your placement year?

For my placement year I started a company called Deusoft Web Development and Creative Studio. This is basically a creative web company that aimed to help small-to-medium-sized businesses showcase their brands in the best possible light. As we worked with multiple clients, the specifications were always different. Our job was to listen to our clients’ needs, break it down and then use an agile process to produce something that our clients were proud of.

How did BSEEN support you?

BSEEN helped by providing an office space at the innovation campus in Birmingham which gave us the professional outlook we needed, especially when meeting with clients. BSEEN also provided a grant which enabled me to purchase business equipment and software. They also provided a mentor who was able to clear some of my thoughts about the direction I was taking the business.

Tell us a bit about the process for applying to the BSEEN programme and the support offered during the year.

The process is very simple. At the end of the day, BSEEN are there to help you start and run a successful business. The process consists of filling in an application form and a panel interview to which you provide a presentation on your business idea.

Once you are accepted onto the programme, you have to attend a business boot camp which provides you with essential foundation knowledge of running a business i.e. Finance, Marketing, Sales, etc.

Over the year, BSEEN organise and advise you on a ton of different events that would be beneficial for your business. These events are great for meeting potential clients and creating new acquaintances.

Can you tell us a bit more about the business you ran?

The company was a web and mobile development studio based in Birmingham, which also offered additional services such as branding, social media marketing and SEO.

Main services included:
• Web development (HTML, PHP, JavaScript and CSS)
• Mobile App development (Android/Java, iOS)
• Branding (logo design, business cards and social media branding)
• Digital Marketing (SEO and social media marketing)

Deusoft was set up in the aim of bringing web solutions to small businesses and start-ups within the West Midlands.

Would you recommend the BSEEN programme to current 2nd year students?

I would, however, it is not your traditional placement scheme. You must have a lot of self-discipline and be a pro-active thinker. No one is going to tell you what to do: you must decide it all by yourself. So if you have a business idea that you are passionate about and you have a long term vision for it, then the programme is for you.

 

What was the highlight of your placement? Receiving my first payment for my creative skills.

What advice would you give those considering starting up their own business?

You need to know how to communicate what your business is as simply as possible. If your customers don’t understand what you’re selling, then they won’t buy from you. The way people see, hear and recognise your business is crucial. Know your audience, know your business.

Did Ashleigh’s story inspire you to start your own business during your placement year? Why not come and speak to BSEEN about the support they can offer you at our upcoming #FindYourPlacement event, which is taking place on 11th June? Spaces are limited, so book your place now!

An insight into a postgraduate alumni researcher at Aston Business School

My name is Nafees Zahir, a recent graduate in, BSc Business and Management from Aston University. I had the opportunity of undertaking a role as a postgraduate researcher within the

nafeesAston Business Schools Alumni relations team.

I am currently in my final week here at the Business School as a postgraduate Alumni Researcher. The role has been very exciting and enjoyable. I have worked within a vibrant team who are at the forefront of forging relationships with Alumni graduates and ensuring they are maintained.

The role has involved conducting research and communicating with a cohort of recent alumni graduates ahead of the FT Masters in Management and Masters in Finance rankings. The role has provided me with an insight as to why students from all over the world want to come and study their postgraduate qualification here at Aston Business School.  From day one I was provided with the responsibility of ensuring tasks that came my way were delivered on time and to schedule. This incorporated updating senior management of progress and sharing my opinion in order to increase ranking figures.

The role has involved me developing my time management skills, by ensuring I plan my day accordingly to the priority of the tasks. My communication skills were crucial for this role as it involved communicating with alumni who were based overseas and to get the message across was crucial. I realised that Alumni students have a strong connection with Aston University and what to give back in any way or form they can that will help contribute to the success of the university, moving forward.  The role was varied in terms of being prepared for the resistance of change as I had to identify a number of tactics in order to reach the Alumni students.

I identified that calling them would be better as I would be able to relay my message clearly. I was unable to reach a number of Alumni to which then I took to social media and was able to reach them via email and LinkedIn.

I would like to thank the Alumni relations team for the opportunity. It has been a pleasure working with you all over the last few weeks.