Joe Fitzsimons is one former student who would certainly agree that our links with the Institute of Directors (IoD) is helping to develop the budding entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
“I first became aware of LSBU’s relationship with the IoD during a guest lecture,” recalls Joe. “I instantly knew that getting involved would be very beneficial to me and so I submitted a membership application as soon as I could.”
As he began to attend IoD events, Joe grew in confidence, and his work as a student ambassador and an internship at LSBU meant he knew he enjoyed working with universities. “In my final year, one of my lecturers told me about a permanent role at the IoD as part of the Student Membership team,” he says. “I decided to apply and after two formal interviews and a presentation, I got the job. I’m thoroughly enjoying it too, as I get to meet inspiring students and directors on a daily basis.”
There are so many amazing services available to students that you can’t help but conclude that LSBU just has enterprise and entrepreneurship in its DNA.
Joe is very clear in his belief that making the most of links like those provided by the IoD can make all the difference when it comes to landing that first job after graduation. “This generation of graduates is entering a hugely competitive working environment and it’s really important that you find ways of differentiating yourself,” he says. “By becoming a student member at the IoD you are proving that you are a proactive student that wants to get involved in extracurricular activities and develop skills and knowledge. It is also an excellent way to network with other likeminded students and develop a network of people that you could one day do business with.”
While he was studying with us, Joe also added to his education by taking part in the Network of International Business Schools (NIBS) Case Competition, an international business simulation that pits universities from all over the world into competition with each other. Joe’s opportunity to take part came when we hosted the event in 2014.
“I worked with staff at the university on the planning of the event alongside working through the entire week long completion supporting both LSBU and the visiting students and coaches from around the world,” says Joe. “This provided me with a huge amount of insight into the event and what it entailed. I then heard that the next competition was going to be hosted by Carlton University in Ottawa, Canada and that LSBU was going to select a team to represent the university in Ottawa, so I was delighted to be a part of that too.”
Joe describes travelling to Canada to compete in the tournament as an amazing experience. “My favourite part of the entire experience was the time we spent working together with our coaches and also competing in Ottawa,” he says. “The trip was a lot of fun and also helped further develop many of our skills such as our communication skills. We were all very proud to have made it to the quarter finals of such a prestigious and highly competitive international business competition.”
Of course, NIBS is intended not just as an enjoyable competition for students, but to help prepare them for the world of work after they graduate, and Joe feels it does an excellent job in doing just that. “It really helped me realise the global environment in which business today operates and apply this to my work,” he says. “Another major benefit of being involved in the competition was that it really boosted my employability. The experience helps develop so many skills that can be applied in a graduate work environment.”
That commitment to employability and entrepreneurship is part of everything we do at LSBU, and Joe feels that anyone who wants a career in enterprise should be considering an application. “LSBU has an incredibly engaged and intelligent student body which, combined with excellent teaching and staff, can be very fruitful,” he says.