Bhavesh Desai, 21
Course: BEng Internet Engineering, Brunel University
Winner of the Shell ‘Step’ award for the ‘Most Enterprising Student’ in London
"I’m in my final year at university. Because I hadn’t taken a sandwich course and wanted to gain work experience over the summer I applied for a two-month placement through Step, which offers undergraduates project-based work within small to medium sized businesses. I spent eight weeks working for a company called Mafkildea, a small, solid wood floor supplier with six employees. They had initially asked for a student to do their website and help with the marketing. But when I showed up I saw that what they really needed was a new invoicing system: there was paper everywhere. So I decided to build the whole system from scratch. Because of the size of the company I was able to analyse it from top to bottom, make the system fit and really make a difference.
I really enjoyed doing it and it’s helped the company. The time spent on administration has fallen by 75 per cent and the financial saving is more than £16,000. The system I’ve built can take up to 400 per cent more as the business increases.
For a company to say, ‘Go on, show us what you can do,’ is amazing and has made me so much more confident in my own abilities in anything I undertake in the future. I’d had no previous hands-on experience. I’m absolutely sure that small businesses are where I’ll end up working in the future, hopefully running my own company."