DEGREE/EMPLOYMENT: Graduated in 2005 from Birmingham University with a degree in MNatSc Chemistry. He now works for marketing agency Dialogue DLKW as an account executive.
While at university Matt undertook a number of community projects and set up an online site and a fashion show to promote giving to charity. He made the top 10 in the Whitbread’s Young Achiever of The Year award in the Community Category last year.
What was your motivation?
I think many of my peers were really switched on and had a passion for getting involved and getting the most out of university life. When I looked at students involved in societies I saw the skills which they employed to run events and their dedication to different causes, like ethical trading. They were really good role models.
What did the application process involve?
When I was a student I sponsored a child for six months but found I couldn’t afford it for long – it was too expensive as big charities sometimes ask for up to £18 a month. Then I realised that if I could get some friends to join me we could pay just £1 a month and jointly sponsor a child.
What did you do?
We founded a mini society called Smile and over the summer thought up a number of marketing ideas and posters to encourage people to get involved in giving to charity and fundraising in an enjoyable way. We did a two–week campaign around campus. We also organised some really entertaining fundraising events such Passion4Fashion Show, which is a fashion show which uses Fair Trade and student–designed clothes to raise money for Oxfam’s Make Trade Fair campaign.
How did you sell the experience on your CV?
Well, I have been told that I do have an impressive CV because of everything I’d done at university. I also did internships with the marketing department at ICI and also had a PR internship. I made it clear I was a person who was naturally passionate about marketing and communication.
Did you enjoy it ?
Yes, that was because I did everything out of a genuine passion.
What did you learn?
I think it’s a case of being determined to do something and not being complacent. You also must not be afraid to include other people.
I went back to Birmingham uni this year and saw the third Passion4Fashion. I felt really proud of setting something up which continued to run even after I’d left.
I do remember falling asleep in lectures, but I always revised very hard. I was thinking about giving it up once, but then I got a pack from charity World Vision that reminded me what it was all about.
Advice to readers:
Get involved in as many things as you can at university – and as soon as you can. That way you can find out what you really enjoy doing.
If you think your uni needs a particular society then why not
get involved and set it up.
Get ahead as an entrepreneur
Until recently, fewer than one–in–20 graduates has pursued self–employment in the six months after graduating, but now the number is growing. If you want to run your own business while at university or just after you graduate, get it off to a flying start by making the most of the help and advice that is available. You can begin by checking out Make Your Mark (www.starttalkingideas.org) which will give you all the advice you need on getting inspired and getting started. Also try the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship (www.ncge.org.uk).