Christopher Cleves - BSc (Hons) Business Management graduate

Current employer: alva

Current job title: Practice Leader, Industry at alva intelligence

Current location: Canary Wharf, London

“If I could give any advice to prospective students, it would be to get involved in everything you can whilst at Plymouth Business School; learn a new language, join societies and sports clubs and meet as many people as you can.”

Tell us about your career path since graduation.

In 2013 I joined alva, a start-up business intelligence firm specialising in corporate reputation. I originally joined as a consultant in the Industry & Defence practice, advising defence, infrastructure and security companies on risks to and opportunities for corporate reputation. I have since moved into the Energy & Extractives practice and have been promoted to Consulting Director, managing the firm’s relationships with its mining, energy and oil and gas clients across the UK, Australia and South Africa.

What is the most difficult thing you have faced in your career?

Working for a start-up has been very demanding in terms of the time and energy needed to succeed and grow the business. The level of responsibility and autonomy I received as part of joining a small company was daunting, but it has been ultimately very rewarding as new challenges have forced me to learn and grow as a consultant.

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

Presenting the conclusions of our analysis to some of the largest companies in the world and seeing our recommendations implemented has been very satisfying. Seeing the impact of my work has been the most rewarding part of joining alva.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?

Read around the subject you’re studying as widely as you can, watch the news and make as much use as you can of all the employability and skills development facilities at the University. What’s being reported in mainstream media can seem a little far away when you’re studying but coming to interview with a good knowledge of current affairs can help to bridge the gap between university and full-time work.

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

Studying at Plymouth Business School gave me the opportunity to become involved in lots of different societies and projects. The Leadership In Social Enterprise Program, the Certificate in Sustainable Business, the Entrepreneurs Society and the Students In Free Enterprise Society all helped to widen my commercial understanding and allowed me to implement some of what was taught on the course. Taking part in different extra-curricular activities and societies at Plymouth was just as valuable as completing my degree and was where I met some of my closest friends.

Would you recommend undertaking a course with Plymouth University, and why?

Plymouth was a fantastic place to study for me. All the extra-curricular activities provided really enriched my experience and what I learned on the fast-track BSc Business Management course helped me to secure my positon at alva. If I could give any advice to prospective students, it would be to get involved in everything you can whilst at Plymouth Business School; learn a new language, join societies and sports clubs, and meet as many people as you can. I learnt just as much from my peers as from the course material whilst at university and having this network has been invaluable since graduating.