Hometown: Penrith, Cumbria

 

About You

How did you come to choose this course and why QMU?

Being an English student, it was a key factor that wherever I studied, it had to be three years as that’s the standard in England, and due to tuition fees, I wasn’t considering four years due to the prices. QMU offered the Business Management course I wanted covering all the modules of the four year course in three, which is exactly what I wanted. Although English students have to pay to attend a Scottish university, the tuition fees for me are over 22% cheaper than studying in England which is a massive advantage to highlight as English students have to pay wherever they go, saving over £6000 on overall tuition fees is nothing to be sneezed at.

Why did you choose to study in Edinburgh/Scotland?

My family are mainly all Scottish living in Edinburgh and Glasgow, and so I knew I’d always have family around me for support or respite if I ever needed an escape from things.

Location wise, Edinburgh has amazing transport links with a 90 minute train journey from Penrith to Edinburgh, making it easily accessible to get home. Not only was this beneficial, I also wanted a place that was far enough away from home that my mum wouldn’t visit me unannounced, but close enough that she could come up at short notice if I needed her for any reason.

Living Away from Home

If you are living in halls what’s the best part?

I lived in halls last year (as a fresher) and the best part was probably the close proximity to the transport links such as buses and trains which connect to anywhere in the city. A day ticket is £4 for any Lothian bus whereas I’m used to day tickets being £10.80 at home due to living in the sticks and being miles between anywhere. Buses in Edinburgh are also very frequent, and there’s a good app which has live departures and arrivals, as well as maps, so you can plan journeys via different places. This is revolutionary to me as I lived in a village where there was one bus going in each direction one an hour if I was lucky, which was often late, or even cancelled.

The good links meant I wasn’t in the middle of a city, but it was easy to get there, and also easy to escape the busy city life.

What are the top three items that you packed that you wouldn’t be without?

I have a collage of all my school friends and family which I have propped against my desk. I find it comforting that they are with me during both my most stressed times as well as when I’m ecstatic that I’ve completed a gruelling assignment (or any assignment for that matter). I always change the photos so I have something new to look at, and different memories to cherish.

I could not live without my laptop… I’m always using it to keep in contact with people, writing my essays, accessing academic material etc. I genuinely don’t know where I’d be without it. I have items of sentimental value I keep, but I couldn’t be away from my laptop.

I’m in no means a ‘rich kid’. My mum doesn’t give me any money, I have a job and I budget well (and I don’t go out partying and drinking) but I do admit, the thing that I do bring with me (get ready to laugh) is a steak knife. When I’m feeling down, or over the moon about something, steak and prosecco (a one glass bottle) is my go to meal. A full tummy and a bit of fizz cheers anyone up!! My whole family laugh at me that I don’t live the university life, but I’m on a management degree, and I manage my money so I know I can afford the luxuries in life…

Life in Edinburgh – what’s the best experience you’ve had so far in Edinburgh? Are there any hidden ‘gems’ you’d like to share?

My best experiences in Edinburgh are exploring the city with my flatmate whom I love. I spend lots of time with her shopping, going for the occasional meal or drink, and generally knowing I can have fun and forget about university work and go out and do things while I’m young and have few commitments.

If you ever find yourself in Portobello, head to the Foresters Guild. It’s proper pub grub but in the garden they have brightly coloured beach houses where you can sit and eat. It’s more of a novel experience than a ‘gem’.

"I just found QMU a small university which focuses on the development of everyone as an individual than offering a service where you must conform and you’re ‘just a number’. The lecturers were generally interesting people who are easy to talk to."
Katy Mason

The Course

Did you attend an Open Day? If so was there any aspect of the University which made up your mind for you?

Yes, I went to the open day, and the successful applicants’ open day. I think the greenery and the swans played a major part, but I talked to Craig Cathcart, a lecturer at QMU who was promoting Fast-track and genuinely seemed interested in me as a person and how the course would complement me, rather than this is what we do and expect from you. Craig gave me his business card and when I emailed him with questions he got back to me immediately. Having been at QMU a year and a half, I can say the lecturers will happily stand in the lift for gossip, and one lecturer was talking to my group of friends for well over an hour.

What’s been the highlight of the course so far? What have you learnt, or which particular activity has been the most interesting?

The most interesting activities to me are research projects. I thoroughly enjoyed researching Duncan Bannatyne for Entrepreneurship, and even found out he had a log cabin in the Lake District, so I’m within a stone’s throw away from one of my favourite Dragons (from Dragons Den). As a person, I’m a perfectionist, and I fear failure. Countless times on this course we have been told that all entrepreneurs have failed at some point, and that makes them the hard-headed people that I aspire to be, so my biggest lessons is, if I fail at something, there’s plenty more chances for you to do well if you take the risk.

Any advice for students who might be interested in this course?

I am the only ‘school leaver’ in my year’s intake of fast-track students, and I was told that it was a heavy degree, completing over a year’s amount of modules in each academic year due to the composition of the degree. For those of you who have done A-levels, first year was probably less stressful and full on as A-levels, so join clubs and get a job this year, as second year becomes a little more intense when you have third year modules that actually count towards your degree. I didn’t do enough first year, but enjoy your time at university, go out and have fun. Being stuck to textbooks is no fun, especially on a Friday evening.

One lecturer quoted me this, which is a very fitting quote for me "your qualifications get you through the door to interviews, but it’s in that interview you need to sell yourself with experience."

Any future plans after graduation?

When I graduate, I’d want to go on the Mark’s and Spencer’s graduate programme to gain hands on experience within a company doing a management role while being mentored along the way. Once I’ve got sufficient hands-on experience I’d aspire to be a manager or marketer for Innocent Smoothies as after studying them every semester (my choice) they are such a fun, and innovative company.

My dream though is to own my own business and have a comfortable life where I could support a family. I’d want a successful company and do well for myself, but I’ve learnt no amount of money makes you happy, and you always want more. I wouldn’t want to miss out on my child’s first day at school because I needed to go to a business meeting.

Life as a Student at QMU

Are you a member of a QMU club or society? If so, what was the reason behind your choice and what do you enjoy most about it?

No, I am not in a club of society but I have been a student representative for the Student Parliament, and a student reviewer/validator, who goes through the validation process of courses to be introduced to the university, or reviewing existing courses. This is such a major role and responsibility to the university and I enjoy it as though I’m reading about business management, I can validate other subjects such as social sciences. Being a reviewer/validator is enjoyable as you’re with a panel of amazing people such as nurses from Sick Kids in Edinburgh, alongside the lecturers at QMU I’d never meet. In business there’s a large discussion of whether you get a job from what you know, or who you know, but this experience really gives me experience like no other, as well as making links with such amazing people in our community.

What’s your ‘top tip’ for making the most of being a student?

My top tip is that you’re at university to get a degree, but you also have time to yourself to get a job and meet up with friends. I regret dissolving into books from about week two and starting revising from week five. For a lot of people this is their first time away from their family, so enjoy the time and make sure you have a good work-life balance.

 

Story published 2016-2017