Santander University Entrepreneurship Awards – deadline extended to Monday 24th April 

£82,000 up for grabs…

  • Open to current students and those who have officially graduated within 2 years 
  • Send submissions to enterprise@qmul.ac.uk

2017 categories

Pre-revenue category: This is defined as a business focusing on ideation, discovery and business validation with minimal sales generated (if any)

Post-revenue category: This is defined as a business focusing on efficiency and scale

Email enterprise@qmul.ac.uk with your video and business model canvas stating which category you are entering.

Helpful resources: business-model-canvas-support-document and 2017-entrepreneurship-awards-information-pack

Prizes

Pre – revenue winner 

  •  £20,00 of equity-free seed funding
  • Mentoring from one of the judges at the national final
  • Five page brochure or e-commerce website hosted for 12 months (Provided by Talent Cupboard)
  • An additional support package (details to be announced)
  • A fully funded intern.

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Employment law: Know your rights (Part 2)

Following on from our recent blog Employment law: Know your rights (Part 1), QTemps Recruitment Manager Rachael takes us through some more employment law issues you may encounter when applying for a new role.

True or False … ?
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It’s illegal to make me work on a Bank Holiday

FALSE – Although it’s common practice for employers to give time off for a Bank Holiday, it is not a legal right. Some employers may close down on a Bank Holiday which means you will have to take that day off, whereas other employers may pay you more to work for the day, especially in hospitality or retail. Make sure you check your contract to see what you are entitled to.

Nobody can give me a bad reference

FALSE – Your employer can give you a bad reference, however they have to have evidence to support this. For this reason most employers choose not give a good or bad reference nowadays, instead just confirming dates. When leaving a job it’s a good idea to get the details of your manager and ask them if it’s okay to put them down for a reference for your new job. Also ask them if they will just confirm dates or whether they can give you a more detailed reference. Some employers require a detailed reference from your previous employer before you can start.

Verbal agreements don’t count as a contract of employmenthandshake-1205055_960_720

FALSE – Although it is best practice to get a written contract, verbal contractual agreements are legally binding. If you only have a verbal agreement it would be best to push them to get a written contract so there are no disputes about the terms and conditions of your employment.

Lying on your CV can get your fired

TRUE – Technically if you lie on your CV you are committing fraud. If this is found out by your employer, you could not only lose your job but you can be taken to court. If you feel you have to lie on your CV to be selected for an interview then the job is probably not the right one for you.

I’m an intern: don’t I have the right to minimum wage?

TRUE – As an employee of the company you do have the right to minimum wage. To determine if you are an employee you must personally be providing a service or you must be working under a contract. Some industries do not offer paid internships, especially media, arts and music. You can choose to do an unpaid internship to get a foot in the door but you must keep in mind that it is unpaid.

Guest blog: Can you Turn your Hobby into a Digital Career?

Turning your hobby into a career can be risky, but the benefits of successfully doing so will lead to a happy work life and future career! Do you spend time scrolling through social media pages, taking photographs or even creating a blog? But never really thought much more of it? You might want to consider taking these hobbies one step further. If you’re a student who doesn’t yet have a clear career direction, or are unsure where your degree will lead you, transferring your skills developed from your hobby and focusing them towards a career could prove a successful transition.

Here are some factors to think about before you make the transition from hobby to career.

Consider your options 

__1First off, consider your options and where a hobby can take you. Think about what you do in your spare time, which might involve spending lots of time on various different social media platforms. Your social media skills are transferable into the workplace. There are lots of job opportunities within marketing departments of organisations who need tech savvy individuals who can ultimately help build their brand through social media. You might be someone who is creative and has the ability to sketch drawings or create high quality graphics. But is currently doing a degree in a non-creative discipline. Don’t let this limit you to the certain subject area. You could create a portfolio of your work and maybe try freelance work, to see how well your work is received. Remember what you pursue your degree in does not necessarily restrict your future to that subject area.

Develop your skills

The next stage we suggest you embark on is to, develop your skills. If you are serious about turning your hobby into a potential career, think how you can improve what you already know to a professional level. For example, if you are interested in web development start by learning the web fundamentals of HTML and CSS. This will provide you with the knowledge to create and design the structure of a webpage. If you already have these skills expand them further by learning JavaScript to develop the websites interactivity. However, this will take lots of your time to learn and can be difficult. So really consider if it’s something you will be committed to learning and pursuing a career in.

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Upcoming events – November/December

Tuesday 6th December

Enterprise: InQUBEate Final Pitches

The final session of our incubator programme, InQUBEate, will be hosted in Central Working, Whitechapel. Students will pitch their business ideas and how they have developed over the course of the previous 8 weeks. If you are thinking of joining next term or want to hear the journey our entrepreneurs have been on, please join us on this evening. Drinks and food will be provided at 6.15pm and pitches will commence at 6.30pm.

Wednesday 7th December

CCLS: Mishcon de Reya: The business of law/commercial awareness

Employers want to see that you understand the context in which law operates – that you have commercial awareness. Nick West, Chief Strategy Officer at Mishcon de Reya, will take you through current and potential future developments that will affect lawyers, the way they work, what they do, and how they do it.

For PG Law students only
Wednesday 7th December
Does the thought of an interview send you into a panic? Have you ever had an interview?
Have you had an interview and want to do better next time? Then come along to this interactive skills clinic, getting some tips and individual practice on how to ‘Impress at Interview’.

Even though we try to source as many internships as possible, one of the best ways to obtain one suitable to your goals is to find it yourself.  We will help you clarify your goals, identify potential sources, and use the best approaches to possibly securing one.

Thursday 8th December

Career Conversations: Careers in International Development

Come and meet QM alumni who work in a range of different areas of International Development – from project management and policy to academia and fundraising. Join us to hear about what their job involves, how they got started and their top tips for getting in to the sector.

QMUL Makers Market

Despite the weather, we had a fantastic day at the Makers Market on 21st May.  We had a mixture of students and young people from Tower Hamlets who participated in the event, promoting their business or selling products.

Below are examples of a few of our participants:

Farahnatalia

Left: This is Farah – a young person from Tower Hamlets.  She imports different pieces of jewellery and accessories from India then repackages it and sells it on. She sold a lot of produce on the day and was really grateful for the opportunity.

Right: Natalia was granted a £500 Try It Award in January for her Karate classes that are based in East London.  She also attended InQUBEate this term and is intending to apply for our June round of Grow It since she has managed to secure 30 customers with a waiting list too.

TakeInDevjoy

Left: This is one of two developers behind the app TakeIn.  The idea behind this app is that home chefs can cook meals and sell their extra produce to customers who want home cooked meals, as opposed to an unhealthy take away.  They have delivery drivers who pick up and drop off.  They applied for the £10,000 Build It Award in our last round and we are waiting for a couple of pieces of information before we tell them we are going to fund their idea. They had a lot of interest on the day and I connected them with a contact from The Prince’s Trust who has 30 plus food businesses that could use this service.

Right: Devjoy was advertising their TEDxQMUL conference which will be held on the 4th June.  He also attended the East London Social Hack earlier this year.  They managed to promote their event and engaged with a lot of the public by asking them to write down what one of their dreams were.

For more information on our Enterprise scheme, visit careers.qmul.ac.uk/enterprise

Natasha Triay, Enterprise Coordinator

Mastering your application to do a Masters

Over the winter vacation many students are writing Masters applications and it’s the personal statement which is often the most intimidating part. The format for the personal statement varies depending on the area of study and institution you’re applying for, so make sure you check the guidelines for each degree you’re applying for really carefully.

Typically personal statements are one page of A4 (although they can be longer). Topics you can address in your personal statement include:

Why do you want to study this subject? This sounds obvious, but it’s often something that is difficult to articulate. What interests you about this subject? What have you done that demonstrates this interest? (For example, attending optional lectures or events, reading particular books or choosing particular modules at undergraduate level). How does this subject allow you to use your key skills and abilities?

Why do you want to study this course at this particular university? Demonstrate that you’ve given some thought to your choice of course and university and done some research. Is there anything distinctive about the choice of modules/approach/practical experience offered? Is the course broad, therefore giving you an overview of the subject area, or is it specific, therefore giving you expert knowledge of a particular, defined topic? Do they have interesting visiting lecturers? Try to go beyond saying that a university is ‘prestigious’ or ‘well-known’ – this might be why you want to go there, but it sounds a bit vague. What is it about the university’s resources which will be particularly useful? Do they have libraries with extensive subject-specific resources? Are the lecturers active field-leading researchers?

Why do you want to do a Masters? Sometimes students just apply for Masters degrees because they’re not sure what they want to do in their careers. It’s better if you can demonstrate in your personal statement that the Masters is not a last-resort. You don’t necessarily need to have your whole career mapped out, but try to show that you have thought about how this Masters will contribute to your likely career path. Sometimes a Masters won’t directly contribute to career development – but in this case stress your real intellectual engagement with and passion for the material. You could also mention the transferable skills a Masters will develop, and which you can use in your career: writing skills, analytical skills, ability to work with others and so on.

What skills and experience do you have which will enable you to complete this Masters?

Sell yourself! Think about your academic experience: do you have particularly high grades, especially in relevant modules? Have you won any prizes? You might well have noted such achievements on a CV (if required), but it’s still worth drawing attention to them on the personal statement. Outline the knowledge base you have gained through your undergraduate degree and explain how this will support your learning on your Masters. Describe work experience you have undertaken, especially if it is relevant, and explain the skills you have gained through it. Also note any extra-curricular activities you have been involved in and the skills they have developed, particularly if they are activities which contribute to your current university.

Here are some things to AVOID in your personal statement:

DON’T cut and paste from the UCAS statement you used when applying for your undergraduate degree. A Masters application is a different document with a different structure and approach and you will have developed and changed during your undergraduate degree.

AVOID anything which sounds too cheesy. It isn’t necessary to begin with an inspirational quote or to talk about how much you loved your subject when you were three years old. Your statement is more likely to stand out if you clearly explain your motivations and persuasively outline your achievements.