This post marks the end of my Bio-enterprise and Employability module and the ever closer end of my third year. Overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed this module and believe it has been an integral part of getting ready to leave university for the real world.
After attending nearly all the seminars held this year I have found myself regretting not going to more than one or two I did over my first two years. The seminars, held weekly by external speakers, covered a wide range of topics including:
- The Complex Project
- Poverty and farming
- Fear landscapes
- Ruminant gut microbiome
- Monitoring stress in chickens
Although the wide variety of topics meant that I did not have a personal interest in all the seminars, there were very few that I did not enjoy, and in every one, I learned something new. It also made me experiment with different ways of taking notes in a fast-paced conference style presentation, as in the first few I attended I found I was missing important information whilst trying to write.
I found the seminar by Dr Katherine Herborn on using thermal imaging to monitor stress in chickens the most interesting and enjoyable. I believe this was due to both the way she presented her work in a clear and concise way, and my own interest in animal welfare. It was also one of the few talks in which I found myself wondering how this could be implemented in the future in a different manner to that being discussed at the time.
I also enjoyed the refreshing critical view that Dave Harris gave on business in general. Although its aims may be well meaning, is the company happy to accept failure and portray it as a badge of honour, purely because they tried?
Nick Winders seminar introducing us to the complex project really highlighted the importance of building relationships with people you may not even agree with. This has also made me focus on building upon my networking skills, as these connections will be important in gaining funding and getting my foot in the door.
The workshops covered a range of real world situations; attending an assessment centre, careers café and dragons den workshop. Unfortunately, due to illness the assessment centre and careers café were run in the same session, meaning I felt I did not get as much as possible from either session.
Regardless of this, I found them to be the most useful workshops of the three. Talking to Bethan during the careers café really gave me the confidence to just get out there and start talking to people.
I found it also really emphasised the fact that we needed to focus on getting real world experience, including voluntary work, which has lead to me applying for many voluntary positions at animal and land based places. I felt the interview task in the assessment centre allowed me to see interviews from the perspective of the interviewer and I believe this will allow me to be calmer in the future.
The dragons den workshop was the least enjoyable for me. Although I could see it was useful for those wanting to set up a business, I found myself struggling to engage with the idea, and felt the video making section was a waste of time.
Despite this, I enjoyed having another chance to work on my presentation skills, as this is an area I feel I am lacking, so any practice is good. I also found the session helpful in truly understanding all the aspects of the business model.
The written assignments consisted of the cv and cover letter, business plan and the blog series. I found all of these to be useful in some form, however, I did not find them equally important as one another.
Of all the written assignments I engaged with the business plan the least, which I attribute to the fact that I have never wanted to run or own my own business. I found I did not truly understand the ins and outs of a business plan whilst writing it, and after completing it my views on running my own business have not changed. However, I do believe some aspects will be useful for future fundraising events.
I found the CV assignment the most useful and important of all the course. There were so many aspects that I had not thought of before when creating a CV that I now truly believe are critical in making your application count.
These skills are ones that I am already putting into practice, in applying for voluntary roles which required a CV and cover letter. I do believe that without the assignment my application would have been rejected.
I have also greatly enjoyed the blog posts. Although it has been extremely challenging to write in a less formal tone (but still for my scientific peers), it has been rewarding to come out of a module with a product I can use and hopefully continue into the future.
Although I am still unsure of the exact path I want to take once I leave university, I now feel more comfortable in my ability to apply for future jobs, internships and courses. This module has given me the confidence to just go out and get the real world experience I need and made me comfortable with the fact that there will be setbacks at times and that’s okay.
Even though I personally did not enjoy the Enterprise side of the course, this would not deter me from recommending this module to future students.