Anouska Wilkinson studied BSc Law with Business Studies and MSc Business and Management (Marketing) at the University of Plymouth. Now successfully running 51 Studio, Anouska explains how the University of Plymouth has helped to support her career.
Why did you choose the University of Plymouth?Location as I live in Torpoint, as well as the specific course/s.
Why did you choose this particular course at the University? What did you expect to gain from it?
BSc: I always had an interest in law and loved doing business studies at sixth form. I wasn’t sure if I would want to pursue a career in Law so it was really important to me that I could minor in business. I expected to cement my ideas on where I would go with my career and I did just that. The business experience was paramount to where I am today.
MSc: Knowing that I wanted to pursue a career in marketing and branding I decided to build upon the business experience I had gained during my BSc, as I was aware that there was potential to grow my business knowledge. The MBM was great in that I was able to look at business in the broad sense but could also specialise in marketing. I knew that the course would benefit my employability and strengthen my analytical skills – a skill which has been and continues to be, paramount to establishing my own company.
What was your entry route to the course? Did you come straight from college/sixth form? If not, tell us about what you were doing before coming to University.
City College Plymouth: Access to Higher Education (Humanities).
What was your experience of the course? Did it meet your expectations? Tell us about the good and bad bits, and how you overcame anything negative.
My experience of all the time spent as a student was amazing and second to none. The University helped me develop as a person in terms of my skills, personal aptitude and knowledge.
The only negative was the finance and accounting aspect of the MBM, but that’s only because this is not my strong point. With guidance from my peers and lecturer, I overcame any difficulties and passed the module.
Did you receive support, both academically and socially while you were here?
I lived at home and worked whilst at University but did take advantage of the careers advice when it was offered. I did also meet some amazing people and am still in touch with some of my peers and friends I made along the way.
Did you take part in any extracurricular activities during your time here? How did these activities contribute to your student experience?
I did take part in a global competition with Google. This concentrated on Adword and pay per click advertising. I’m pleased to say that my team and I came within the top 50 from around the world (I think this is correct – it could have been top 25 or top ten).
Did the course change your career goals at all?
The BSc did but I always knew there was a chance that I would lean toward business rather than law, but I had wanted to give law a go in any case.
What advice would you give to anyone else considering the same course here?
The undergraduate course is amazing and although I have not pursued a career in law the knowledge I gleaned was essential to the every day running of my business. Mixing the courses made me a more rounded individual.
Did you go straight into work after completing your course? If not, please tell us what you were doing.
After graduating from the MSc I went travelling with my partner for a bit. We made our way through South East Asia, New Zealand, California and Arizona.
Upon my return, I immediately started to search for work and in less than a month I took a post as an intern at the Plymouth City Development Company as a Marketing Assistant. This was part-funded through the University.
Following the closure of the CDC I then took a post at an Educational Community Interest Company which was again part-funded by the University. During this post I oversaw the development and implementation of the business plan, strategy and marketing plan.
If you are currently in employment, please tell us about your career path.
After some thought, and following the work and experiences I had at the CDC as a Marketing Assistant and then as a Business Development Manager, my partner (Dave) and I decided to start our own company. Dave went part-time from his full-time job six months before to test the water within Plymouth for the services he/we could offer. The six months went well and in February 2010, 51 Studio began as a partnership with the University’s Formation Zone. From there we have grown from strength to strength and within a year, we were working with clients that we had earmarked as potential clients for five years time.
We met with two other businesses within the Formation Zone and started what is now an Enterprise Ambassador for the University of Plymouth; ‘Knowledge’. In 2011 we moved, as a group, out of the Formation Zone, to the prestigious location of the Royal William Yard. Knowledge, which consists of 51 Studio Limited, Dom Moore Photography, Actuate Marketing, Altitude and Another Robot is continuously growing.
We have now worked together on many notable local projects such as UTC Plymouth, the new City College Plymouth brand framework, Plymouth City Council and many more.
Our team continues to grow as well as our portfolio.
How has your University of Plymouth qualification enhanced your career opportunities and employability? Did it equip you with the right knowledge and skills?
I would not be where I am today if I had not attended Plymouth University. The skills and knowledge I learned are paramount to the day-to-day and successful running of 51 Studio.
What would you list as your greatest career achievement?
Taking the business from a partnership to a Limited Company and for operating for almost three years.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?
Take the risk and be brave. Hard work pays off.
As a graduate are you involved with the University now? For example, have you returned to speak to current students or kept in touch with your lecturers?
Yes. Knowledge as a group consists of a few graduates from the University and we all support the Uni in terms of business advice for students, guest speaking, mentoring and now as Enterprise Ambassadors.
Would you recommend undertaking a course with the University of Plymouth, and why?
Yes, the support at the University is amazing – both whilst you are studying and after. The Formation Zone is a clear mark in our success story so far. Plymouth is also an amazing city and the surroundings cannot offer a better work-life balance.
The Alumni Programme is fab and adds much value!