Newcastle University Business School

Pauline

Student Profile - Pauline

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Biography

Before the Innovation, Creativity and Innovation programme, I did a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication and Psychology at the University of Nairobi in Kenya. My degree focused a lot on corporate communications as well as interpretation of human behaviour in both the work and social environments. It was a valuable experience and I felt that this marketable course would enhance my career prospects afterwards. I started this degree with the intention of later specialising in media communications before ideally becoming a news anchor or journalist in one of Kenya’s top media houses.

Interestingly, by the end of the four year programme, I was certain that this would not be the case as by that stage I had developed a strong interest in following a route in Enterprise Management.

Choosing Newcastle

I chose to study at postgraduate level because in my country, currently, an undergraduate degree is the equivalent of a UK high school diploma. The job market is very competitive, therefore, I always knew that I would undertake postgraduate learning.

Whilst my choice of undergraduate study was based around discussions with my parents, I researched and selected my postgraduate programme independently, motivated to progress further along a path towards entrepreneurship.

I chose Newcastle University Business School because, when researching programmes, I did not find any other university that encompassed innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship all within one programme.

I initially thought I would need to pursue a postgraduate in entrepreneurship with the option of selecting optional modules in creativity and innovation. It was therefore such joy to find that there actually was a programme that combined all three interests. Additionally, Newcastle University Business School is ranked highly among UK Business Schools.

My course

The programme provided countless opportunities to network and meet people from various related fields. I also interacted with classmates from all corners of the globe, which really opened my mind to better understand other cultures and helped grow my network.

The module leaders were committed and always keen to explain more, support and give us a hand. The course content was invaluable, which enabled me to learn immensely within the one year programme.

Throughout the programme I gained more confidence, especially in my business aspirations.

Studying at postgraduate level

There were quite a few differences between my undergraduate and postgraduate study. My postgraduate learning experience was of higher quality than my undergraduate programme. It was also a much more multicultural experience, which I really enjoyed.

I had less free time at this level of study due to the demands of the programme. Comparatively, the teaching methods in my postgraduate course were more interactive, varied and more frequent than those of my undergraduate programme. 

A typical study week for me tended to be full of various activities. I typically woke early in time for my morning run before my first class. I usually had up to six hours’ worth of classes in a single day and the rest of my time was occupied by group work, studying and attending Business School events.

I tried to keep a balanced study and social life as well.

Funding

I was lucky and very grateful to receive a fully-funded scholarship from Newcastle University in conjunction with the Commonwealth/DFID. The scholarship funded my airfare, visa, tuition, accommodation and living expenses.

Career aspirations

The support from the School really steered me towards my career goals.

As I intend on starting a manufacturing enterprise, the contacts I made throughout the course are invaluable, and they continue to help me towards my career goals.

Most notably, through the collaboration between Newcastle University and the Business Innovation Centre at Sunderland, I was able to get connect with an entrepreneur in the manufacturing industry in Morocco; a field that I hold an interest in.

As a result, preparations are in the pipeline for me to visit the plant in Morocco and see their manufacturing methods, all thanks to Newcastle University.

Before starting my postgraduate degree, I aimed to develop my interests in enterprise management through starting a manufacturing enterprise in my country, focused on empowering women. 

Postgraduate study has helped open my mind to new ideas and networking has allowed me to connect with similar-minded entrepreneurs. 

The Careers Service Rise Up team provided me with immense support in terms of idea direction and business planning. I also had a number of sessions with my Careers Adviser Marek, which were very useful in planning my next career steps.

The Business School was also able to link me with graduates who were currently pursuing a similar career path, which led to friendships and further guidance beyond my master’s programme. 

I have now returned home and currently in the process of launching my new product range.

Settling in

When I arrived, I was apprehensive. I had never been to England before, and I had no idea what to expect.

I arrived in Newcastle, tired from a 13-hour flight, to be greeted by University representatives waiting to meet international freshers at the airport. They helped us settle in to our respective accommodation where I instantly made friends.

I was also glad that the accommodation service provided cutlery, bedding, and other items that made settling in really easy as I didn’t have to worry about sourcing these amenities myself.

The Business School provided me with information regarding arrival events as well as a campus map. I attended these events which made the process of settling in and making friends even faster.

Accommodation

My accommodation was St. Mary’s College, which is university accommodation in the Fenham area. This quickly felt like my new home, with great flatmates and manicured grounds at the front. It was very homely, which made leaving so hard. 

Living in Newcastle

What I enjoyed most about living in Newcastle was the people. The Geordies are the friendliest people I have ever met. In addition to this, the city is very safe, affordable and has a vibrant social life.

I particularly liked the Quayside, it is such a beautiful place to spend time. My favourite landmark on the Quayside is the millennium bridge as at night it would light up in a rainbow colours. The Castle Keep also became a favourite place of mine to spend time as it is rich in Newcastle’s history.

Student experience

Postgraduate study at the Business School can be demanding and intense but it is just as fulfilling. The hours and work I put in translated into valuable lessons which made it all worth it.

The postgraduate community is very focused, supportive and vibrant. I like that the Business School encouraged students to keep both a school and social life balance.

I enjoyed getting involved in opportunities such as the career fair, seminars and conferences, as well as keeping in regular contact with supportive staff who catered to the academic needs of the students.

I attended quite a few events, guest lectures and networking opportunities, all which were always very informative and enabled me to make valuable contacts.

I also enjoyed living in welcoming accommodation with a mix of communities.

Spare time

In my free time, I enjoyed listening to music, writing, reading, travelling, socialising and just having a laugh. I particularly liked to engage in charity or activities that contribute towards making the world a better place. 

I initially joined many clubs when I started the programme, however at times the meeting times coincided with my lectures. 

I was a class representative as well as representative for commonwealth scholarship holders at Newcastle University.

Advice for new students

  1. Be focused right from the beginning - one year sounds long but it really isn’t much time.
  2. Make full use of the amazing facilities provided by the Business School, especially the networking opportunities.
  3. Remember to have lots of fun and enjoy the beauty that is Newcastle.

Highlights

  1. A tour of Europe which was the most beautiful trip I have ever taken in my life. The close proximity and low cost airfares were great. 
  2. The year away from home, along with the programme, helped me to learn more about myself, my strengths and my weaknesses.
  3. I have made beautiful friendships and networked with people from all over the world - I hope these connections will last a lifetime.

My postgraduate experience in three words

Educate, interactive and fun.