Robert Drake-Knight - BA (Hons) Business Administration graduate

Current employer: Rapanui

Current job title: Founder

Current location: Sandown, Isle of Wight

“Go for it! If you want something then make it happen. Do it! Be patient, it will take longer than you think. Work hard and have a clear vision of what you want to achieve.”

Tell us about your career path since graduation.

I came back to the Isle of Wight and looked for work. The Isle of Wight has a seasonal tourism trade but one of the highest rates of youth unemployment in the country, so it was hard to find a job. In the end my brother and I decided that ‘if we can’t find a job, we’ll make one!’ We co-founded Rapanui, an eco-fashion brand, and I now run the finance, PR and administration side of things for our clothing label.

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

I think calling Chris Packham ‘Packers’ at an awards ceremony has to be up there.

Businesswise, the goal is to make Rapanui into a group of companies like the Virgin Group, but famous for being sustainable.

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

Go for it! If you want something then make it happen. Do it! Be patient, it will take longer than you think. Work hard and have a clear vision of what you want to achieve.

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

The course itself looked great as I had the freedom to choose units in my final year based on where I wanted to go with my future – the accounting and marketing modules have proved very useful at Rapanui. Things have changed since I left but the enterprise part of the course and the business simulator were really helpful. I learnt a lot about how to manage people and the experience proved very useful in running my own business.

I also think that the enterprise sections of the course were really useful whilst developing Rapanui: the more the business growth at the label, the more applicable the theoretical knowledge becomes too.

Do you stay in touch with other Plymouth University alumni or lecturers?

Yes, I returned to speak at the Business Ideas Challenge and keep in regular contact with the alumni office.

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

Yes. I found the enterprise element of the course, the location, and the city itself to be excellent. I really enjoyed my time in Plymouth.