East London Social Hack 2018

The qEnterprise team recently held our second East London Social Hack at Stour Space, in Hackney Wick. It was a roaring success, and we’re keen to tell you why and to encourage you to get involved next time. To start with, check out the video below.

What is it!?

The East London Social Hack is an intensive weekend bootcamp that gives 60 Queen Mary students and alumni the chance to create social enterprises – commercial businesses that exist primarily to address social problems, not make profit – in just 48 hours!


Because it shows what a fantastic vehicle (social) entrepreneurship can be for learning a huge array of skills, personal development and positive social change. It also demonstrates the phenomenal amount students can achieve in a short space of time given the right environment.

We’re especially pleased to use the East London Social Hack as a platform to engage with social issues local to East London. The weekend focused particularly on four broad categories: Health, Housing, Community Cohesion and Environment. Stour Space was the ideal space for this: it’s a thriving hub not only for local social enterprises, but also artists, activists and community members fighting for a fairer society. We can’t thank them enough for hosting us.

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Student story: Breaking into Investment Banking

Christian Hirsekorn – 3rd year Economics & Finance Student & President of QMTIS

CMy name is Christian and I’m in my final semester of my BSc Economics & Finance degree. If you’re keen on breaking into the Investment Banking industry, keep on reading:

Some background about me…

I did a two and a half year banking apprenticeship in my hometown near Frankfurt in Germany before coming to Queen Mary. I rotated through all banking divisions such as Private Banking, Commercial Banking, Real Estate, Marketing, Risk, Compliance, Insurance and Investments. This narrowed down my options of what I want to do. When I started studying at Queen Mary, I knew I wanted to get a Front-Office role in an Investment Bank or a Hedge-Fund. That’s why I joined the Queen Mary Trading and Investment Society and started going to Insight Days from various Investment Banks straight at the start. They organised an office visit and insight into Morgan Stanley’s Global Markets division which inspired me to pursue this career path.

Tips & Tricks to get where you want…

Competition for roles is quite fierce, so it’s essential to apply as early as possible, i.e. have your application ready in September. It’s good to go for informational interviews before the application season starts – this way you can find out more about careers and network. There’s tons of advice on https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/ about that. I highly recommend checking out this page – it helped me a lot!

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Graduate story: My work experience in Film

RosemaryRosemary Koper, MA Film Studies graduate

I’m currently in the final week of a two month placement with British Film Institute Education team. Having completed an MA in Film Studies and being a regular visitor to the BFI Southbank cinemas, this placement struck me as the perfect opportunity to gain some valuable work experience with an organisation whose work has interested me for years.

BFI Education run events and courses and aim to encourage new audiences to engage with film. Every February they run the Future Film Festival, which showcases the work of filmmakers aged 16-25 and gives young people interested in getting into the industry the opportunity to get advice from professionals and to network. A large part of my role has been promoting the festival, both via email and social media, and by visiting colleges and universities to screen some short films and talk about the festival. I travelled to film and media classes across London to get the word out about what the festival had on offer; as effective as a popular Facebook post can be at promoting an event, it can’t match the personal touch of a face-to-face conversation.

During the festival, I was responsible for helping to organise the crew of volunteers who’d been assembled to ensure the smooth-running of all the screenings and talks. Luckily, I had a few opportunities to attend some of the events and was able to see the impressive short films screened, chosen from over 3000 entries.

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Student story: Lessons learned from internships

26854826_1701300166586943_888886152_o (1)My name is Daniel and I am about to finish my BSc Economics degree in a few months. Read on for my insight into the actuarial profession and how you can get an internship in the insurance industry.

How did you source your work experience?

During my first year I really did not know what I wanted to do but I was very keen to find an internship. I knew I would have a sixteen week holiday over the summer with not much to do. My first internship was hard to find as there are limited opportunities for first years but after applying online to 30 places I was finally offered an internship role at XL Catlin. This is an American insurance company and one of the largest syndicates in the Lloyd’s of London market. Here I was given the chance to work with many different departments. I found working with actuaries the most interesting and this helped me to narrow my search in the second year for another actuarial role, and I found one at Allianz.

What were some of the key lessons you learnt?

The insurance industry is extremely broad and has many opportunities even if you are not really interested in insurance itself. Every insurance company holds a huge amount of reserves and have large investment divisions with plenty of internship opportunities. One of the most notable examples is Royal London, which is the UK’s largest mutual fund. This particular firm has an internship open to second years across all their investment divisions as well as a graduate scheme.

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Working in Policy

You have to admit that it’s nicely vague. So what exactly does it involve?

If one had to define “working in policy”, it would be as a fusion of research, consulting and advice, often morphing into something dangerously adjacent to PR. Policy advisers provide the foundations and structure for decisions that are high- level and far reaching.


No 1 employer of policy advisers is Her Majesty’s government in its central, devolved and local incarnations (and – until spring 2019 at least – at European level too.  Post Brexit?  Your guess is as good as mine). Your overarching role in this context would be to provide objective advice, based on fact. Key functions here would be to analyse data, brief and debrief ministers (they’re not the experts here – you are), and answer questions posed by other politicians, the press, the public.

As a British Prime Minister once (allegedly) said, “A week is a long time in politics”. Things change fast, very fast. So if a political crisis brews up (and don’t they always with alarming regularity?) you’d need to be as nimble and nifty as any gymnast in grasping the implications, handling the fallout and adapting your strategy.

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What We Learned By Asking Entrepreneurs About Their Biggest Failures

The dominant image of entrepreneurship today is one of a shiny, Silicon Valley tech man. It is also one of success, because brand and revenue pressures incentivise entrepreneurs to suppress failure and doubt. But this is a narrow view of entrepreneurship. Not only do entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes, but failure, as well as success, is of critical and everyday importance to entrepreneurs.

Emojione_1F926.svgThis is why we recently gathered three diverse entrepreneurs to speak specifically about their failures. The aim was to paint a more candid, human and reassuring image of entrepreneurship by acknowledging (without lapsing into humblebrag) that mistakes are inevitable, just fine and often valuable.

Up first was Julio Alejandro, a former political journalist and now serial blockchain entrepreneur who has, by his own admission, failed three blockchain startups to date. Alyssa Chassman then confessed some of her failures in founding The IDHouse, which connects and educates young people around the globe to develop solutions to social problems. Closing the show was Vanessa Faloye, a social entrepreneur, social-enterprise educator, writer and facilitator. She spoke of some of her failings when founding Artikle 24, an organisation designed to provide alternative leisure activities for young people in recession-ravaged Spain.

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