Graduate story: from QMUL to the Civil Service

fullsizerenderNiva Thiruchelvam, Law graduate

Niva Thiruchelvam (NT), graduated from QMUL with a law degree in 2003 and began her career with the Civil Service Fast Stream in 2007. Since then she’s had a variety of interesting and exciting jobs, from running Oliver Letwin’s office in the Cabinet Office to negotiating EU-level changes to Free Movement policy.

She spoke to Yasmine Hafiz (YH) about her career journey.

YH: How did you become interested in the Civil Service?

NT: I fell into a career in the Civil Service. I’d read law at QMUL, and the natural next step would have been to go to law school, and then to become a barrister or a solicitor, but that didn’t hit the spot for me.

While I thought about what I wanted to do, I took various jobs, including one in the then Department for Constitutional Affairs. It was an excellent introduction to the world of policy in the Civil Service, and I loved it. I’d never really thought about the huge amount of work that went on behind the scenes to make things happen – from the conception of an idea, through to legislation in Parliament, and so on.

I discovered that the Civil Service offered a wide range of roles within each department, and that really appealed to someone like me. It’s an ideal path for someone who’s interested in everything, so I applied for the Fast Stream and my Civil Service career began there.

YH: What kind of jobs have you had within the Fast Stream?

NT: My first Fast Stream role was in the Department for Constitutional Affairs (now Ministry of Justice), getting stuck into Scottish devolution and how Scotland’sconstitutional arrangements might be strengthened.  I helped to set up and support a cross-party, independent Commission reviewing Scotland’s devolution settlement.  As part of this, I led work on communications – this ranged from running town hall events in the most remote parts of Scotland to developing a media strategy that encompassed print, broadcast and social media and involved liaising with the political editors of the major Scottish newspapers.

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Where Our Students’ Business Ideas Come From (Part 2)

inquBusiness ideas are born in many different ways. To show this, and to demonstrate to students that coming up with business ideas isn’t rocket science, we asked the teams on our current InQUBEate cohort to tell us how their businesses were born. This is the second half of their responses; we published the first half last week.

If you’re inspired by what you read, be sure to apply to our funding awards – and an automatic place on InQUBEate – by 10th December.


Priscilla, Match Your Vibe

An inability to find fashionable couple outfits led us to envision a place where people could find matching outfits for different types of relationship and occasions. Match Your Vibe started to come to life when our fashion stylist put together the first matching outfit looks. The idea was to create a sample collection using different fashion brands to create the perfect looks. We then organised a photo shoot to create visuals that will tell the world what matching outfits meant to us. We have released the beta version of our website and now are hoping to launch the brand on the 6th of December and raise more funding to improve the user experience of our website.

Zsolt, Foundley

The idea of Foundley started four years ago when one of the co-founders was still in high school. He had the need to find a potential co-founder for his business idea but couldn’t find the right person through his friends. He therefore thought a platform through which like-minded students (high school and university) could connect and pursue their projects and activities could solve the problem.

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qEnterprise: 3DS Bootcamp

On Friday 12th November, qEnterprise had the privilege of welcoming over 60 aspiring entrepreneurs from QMUL and London Mentropolitan University for our 3DS Bootcamp. It was an exciting, intense and fast-paced weekend of entrepreneurial thinking where students were tasked with forming their own teams and building a business in JUST 3 DAYS.

We had lots of fun. Here’s our vlog of the weekend!

If you have any questions regarding 3DS or would like to discuss growing your business with our support, get in touch at:

Click here to hear more from the qEnterprise team.

Bag yourself some work experience with the likes of TfL, NHS and Crossrail

QChallenge London will offer successful applicants the chance to develop their problem solving skills, their leadership skills and their cultural intelligence.

Apply for QChallenge London here.

Watch the video below to see Andy Coxall, CEO of Common Purpose Student Experience, give an intro into this brand new programme.

This is your opportunity to test yourself, your creative thinking and your ability to work with different people. You’ll develop leadership skills and your ability to innovate. You’ll also develop your networks across a wide variety of organisations across the city. Who knows where your challenge could take you?

Applications for QChallenge London close on Sunday 3rd December, and the programme will run from 5 February to 18 April 2018.

Please visit our website for further details and to apply.

Why starting up a business while you’re a student could be the best decision you ever make: an interview with PhD student Ovando Carter

ovOvando Carter won a Grow It award while he was an undergraduate to develop his parkour business. The business has gone from strength to strength, and he’s now continuing his education with a PhD at Queen Mary while starting up a brand new technology startup.

Tell us a bit about yourself

When I first started out I was studying an undergraduate degree in Physics, but I soon felt that there was something missing. Often I could find no connection to what I was studying in the lectures and the real world. Mostly, I wanted to get a good education so that I could get a good job, but the deeper I got into the education system, the less it looked like anything I was learning had any direct connection to the greater world. It was very hard to choose another path because I didn’t know much more about other degrees than I did for physics, and for me, reading about the courses in brochures and attending open days really didn’t help me at all. In the end, I decided to continue with the Physics degree but take on some modules from the Engineering department to see if I would find some larger purpose in them. 

When did you first discover you were entrepreneurial?

I was looking for a job but couldn’t find a company that either (a) offered jobs relevant to my degree or (b) would hire me. We were still recovering from the global recession, and a lot of graduate schemes were so competitive that they would discount you if your A-level grades were not to the standard they set. At this time a Careers Consultant at Careers & Enterprise found out that I was working on some part time projects that she noticed I was very passionate about. She asked if I’d ever thought of creating a business, and then directed me to some fun QMUL competitions, “Try It” and “Grow It”.

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Where Our Students’ Business Ideas Come From (Part 1)

inquBusiness ideas are born in many different ways. To show this, and to demonstrate to students that coming up with business ideas isn’t rocket science, we asked the teams on our current InQUBEate cohort to tell us how their businesses were born. We’re publishing the first half of their responses today and the second half next Monday. Enjoy!

Oh, and if you’re inspired by what you read, be sure to apply to our funding awards – and an automatic place on InQUBEate – by 10th December.

Louise, Hexad Brewing

Hexad Brewing is a collective of beer geeks and experienced brewers passionate about bringing people together over great beer. We met at a south London homebrew club and became friends over our shared interest in designing new beer recipes with exciting ingredients – including a CocoPop porter! We were all thoroughly bored of drinking unappealing beers and having been encouraged by the results of brewing for family weddings, we realised there is a gap in the market for customised craft beers.

Mattheus, Proper Gators

Our idea originates from QMUL’s East London Social Hack, where we first got together with the intention of reducing food waste. Our design has developed into a conveniently sized indoor hydroponic food-growing machine. Our experience at Launch22, an incubator in Old Street, allowed us to refine our idea with the support of mentors, staff, and friendly co-working individuals.

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Global Entrepreneurship Week 2017: Meet the qEnterprise team!

Greetings from your qEnterprise team!

As we kick off Global Entrepreneurship Week 2017, we wanted to take a moment to say hello and remind you that support for starting your own business is free whilst you’re still a student at QMUL, so if you have an idea get in touch!

We’ve been busy these last few weeks hosting enterprise events, 1-2-1 appointments and learning opportunities for QMUL students. Last weekend, we hosted the 3DS Bootcamp – an intensive 3-day event where students work in teams to build a business. We’re also a few weeks into our 7th InQUBEate programme, featuring a range of brilliant teams and ideas.

GEW 13 11

With our funding deadlines rapidly approaching, here’s a reminder of the funding available:

We have three funding pools available for students with business ideas at different stages of development. The deadline to apply is 10th December. Winning funding will also guarantee you a place on one of our InQUBEate programmes (see below). For more funding information, see our website.

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