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Desire for top business skills at heart of school

Published: 28 November 2016 at 15:23

Student interns at Lord Ashcroft International Business School

Talk to anyone at Anglia Ruskin's business school and you won't have to wait long to hear the word 'entrepreneurship' mentioned.

Rather than merely studying their effects, a desire to produce the skills and expertise needed to create successful new businesses runs through the heart of all that happens at the Faculty of Business and Law. It's an ethos that's clearly been paying off, with the university scooping the Duke of York Award for University Entrepreneurship at last week's Lloyds Bank National Business Awards.

Described as 'the Oscars of Great British business' by former PM David Cameron, the competition's judges said the university had "injected enterprise and innovation throughout the curriculum", and praised its efforts to drive business growth in the UK. But there's more to this philosophy than winning awards at glittering ceremonies - for Faculty of Business and Law's students, it's also having a direct impact on their future prospects.

One of the school’s recent innovations has been its student intern scheme, which sees students gain firsthand experience working on real-world projects within the university. Speaking to the News, some of the recent interns told how it had given them a valuable advantage for the next step of their careers.

Senior intern Silvia Baudone is currently in her fourth year at ARU, following a year’s placement in industry. She said: “On the intern scheme nothing comes to you unless you go and research for it, you have to put the effort in. Your CV has to be done properly, you put out a covering letter, and you have an interview to get on.”

After making it through the selection process the 23-year-old spent part of the summer working with the university’s clearing team, helping would-be applicants to get onto their desired courses.“You see the whole process that HR would need to go through when employing new students on the course”, she said. “I had the support of the team and I really enjoyed it. There are no walls between the students and the organisation of the university.”

As well as internal projects, the students are exposed to real firms throughout their time at the Faculty of Business and Law whether through guest lectures, networking events or one-on-one mentoring. Human resources undergraduate Rhiannon Bennett, 20, said: “There have been so many opportunities. In my first year every single week I went to something the business school was putting on - panels with local business people, talks on how to improve the student experience.”

Students at the school also take part in its advisory panel, where they meet with academics to give their direct feedback on their education. Silvia added: “They ask us, ‘what are you expecting from this course and what would you like to improve?’, and I have already seen what we said to them applied to one of my lectures.”

All the students, regardless of their course, also get the chance to receive direct feedback from their own business mentor, given them a further insight into the workings of real businesses. Marina Melani, 28, is studying for a one-year masters course in entrepreneurial management. She said: “My mentor has been amazing – he is a business coach, he has helped me so much, even with big decisions about whether to do a PhD, or what to do next. He got me to ask all right questions, I can’t believe how lucky I was.”

For Yasemin Yildizgoren, 25, a postgraduate marketing student, time with her mentor has also opened up new possibilities for the future. “She is a director of marketing in the global side of her company, which is an amazing opportunity, and she is a female which is important to me”, she said. “She seems quite keen for me to progress my career there, but I am also keen to stay here for a couple of years.”

Article courtesy of the Cambridge News, 23 November 2016