I can't believe my year at WMG is coming to an end. It's been full of new experiences, writing, challenges and most importantly loads of new friends. One of the things I value the most is that my learning from the modules have helped me consolidate my business idea. Plus, all the support from WMG and the University for starting a new business. For me, it all started with my dissertation, but now it is closer to a reality thanks to the guidance of some of the professors at WMG, my classmates, my supervisor and Warwick Enterprise.
As an international student, I discovered that there are a Start-up visa scheme and a Graduate Accelerator Programme that we can apply to create our business in the UK. I found out about it thanks to my course leader and then started preparing my business idea for it. I found help by telling my lecturers about the idea and even my personal tutor about it and she referred me to researchers and athletes at the university, as my business is offering an automated coach for endurance athletes. There are modules about entrepreneurship that if you are not doing Innovation and Entrepreneurship, you can take as electives. These are called Business Model Generation and Establishing a New Business. They were incredible to figure out what it was required to build my future business.
Thanks to that, I found a business partner and we secured funding to test the idea from Warwick Enterprise. That money is helping us test a simple version of what we want to build with real customers, and it's getting us closer to making it a reality. I must admit, this year has been a real roller coaster: writing PMAs, doing my dissertation, testing the business idea, pitching it and having a social life, but I wouldn't change it for anything.
This is my advice if you are starting your journey as a WMG student. Please do not think it twice if you have a business idea, talk about it with your classmates, with your supervisor and lecturers. They are more than willing to help you and point out the strengths and weaknesses of it, so you can learn and improve it. Take advantage of the Warwick Enterprise team and their support. It's not only funding what you will be looking for, but also guidance and mentorship.
All the best for the new students and farewell to my fellow WMG classmates!
Maria Celeste Alvarez Vasquez, MSc Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Hello! My name is Maria Alvarez, and I am an international student at WMG. Being part of Warwick Uni has been a fantastic journey that has transformed many aspects of my life. Making new friends, getting used to a new life and learning from other cultures, are some of the most exciting experiences that I have had so far.
Making new friends
Coming back to University after your undergraduate programme makes you feel the magic of meeting new people again. Going to a workshop, studying on campus or joining a social activity can be chances to make new friends. After seven months of the master, my heart is full of memories, stories and unforgettable human beings.
Getting used to the new life
I feel grateful to life for such privilege of studying abroad. Settling down is a process that takes time and is quite hard. As a new student, you have to deal with lots of personal and academic challenges. However, the good news is that you can go through this and you will be delighted after getting used to your new home!
The opportunity to have meaningful conversations with people from different origins, beliefs and views of the world is an invaluable experience. The mixture of cultures, languages, customs and traditions have taught me lots of lessons about multiculturalism. Apart from that, Warwick Uni promotes respect and tolerance among students, and this environment encourages you to be just yourself!
In the UK you will find students from all over the world. Here, I have learnt the power of exchanging ideas, the treasure behind every classmate and the power of kindness and empathy. Also, my specific experience at WMG has enhanced my team work abilities. The practical approach of my department has led me to learn from my peers, give and receive constructive feedback, work collectively to get the jobs done and have fun during the process.
Studying at Warwick and having access to vibrant life and a world-class education system, is definitely the perfect mix for an international student. I'm really looking forward to having more exciting experiences in the UK and WMG!
Fun at the Boat race between Oxford and Cambridge. This event, in London, was a great opportunity to make new friends from other Universities and have a break (and to get some fresh air!) from my assignments as a Master's student at Warwick. Follow my posts about the magic of being an MSc student in the UK on Instagram #wmgmasters #warwickuni #studyinUK #wmgftmasters #wmgsma #iamchevening #mycheveningjourney
Chrysoula Spanou, MSc e-Business Management
I still remember the date when I have to deliver my presentation in front of 300 people, when I was at high school. I always admired people talking on stage. But I felt uncomfortable being on stage. When my presentation ended, I felt relieved and went back to my comfortable seat. But seeing my professor being on stage, I was thinking what should I do to deliver effective presentations?
As time goes by, I have to deliver more and more presentations. Business environment requires speeches on a regular basis. However, being a master student at Warwick University means that presentations becomes part of your daily life. In every module you have to present. So, I decided to work on it….
One of my first workshops here was how to deliver effective presentations. I went to the workshop ready to ask many questions. Is there any secret? How people can deliver speeches on stage with ease and confidence?
Tip No 1: Prepare -prepare-prepare
There is not too much preparation. You are there, because you are the best at the topic. This requires that you should know exactly what you are going to tell. You can make as many rehearsals as you want. You can make a presentation to your friend or someone else you trust.
Tip No 2: First minute by heart
What I have noticed is that the first 1-2 minutes are the most stressful. After this time, you get used to the stage and you feel much better. So, useful tip is to write down what you are going to tell and learn it by heart.
Tip No 3: Know your audience
It is totally different to talk to your classmates from your managers. There are different expectations. Before going on stage just take your time to think. What are these people expecting from me? This changes the whole perception. You have to catch their attention and to make them feel that something new is going to be told.
Tip No 4: Move
If you see someone standing or sitting on a chair reads a paper. What’s your first thought? Boring, right? You are excited about what you are going to present. This means that your voice and your movements show this excitement. If you are holding a microphone that’s fine. If you aren’t holding it, this allows you to move on stage. And guess what? Seem more confident.
Delivering presentations is a skill that can be developed. Envision yourself on stage talking about your job is the most important part of this journey. It is essential to enjoy this journey. It’s all about being yourself and show your passion to others. The stage is yours…!!!
If you need more tips about presentation don’t forget to book the effective presentations workshop.
Alissa Lola Bouab, MSc Innovation and Entrepreneurship
As Master’s students, we actually have the choice between living on-campus or off-campus. I never lived on-campus, but my friends tell me that it is great to be close to everything relating to the university (some wake up few minutes before class!), but they sometimes feel far away from everything as it requires to take a bus to reach Coventry and its train station.
Living off-campus allows you to find cheaper rent than on-campus, live in towns and cities which makes it easy to travel and socialise. However, it also means that transportation is required to reach the University of Warwick. Most students living in Coventry or Leamington Spa will simply take the bus to campus, some will use their bike (there are some great cycling routes around campus) and some will drive. Parking on-campus is extremely limited, so be prepared to wake up very early to secure a space if driving.
In my experience, living off-campus is great. I lived in both Coventry and Leamington Spa, and they each have their own pros and cons. Coventry has the advantage of being relatively cheap, with great transportation links (less than 1 hour to London on the train) and close to campus. However, the city itself isn’t very pretty.
On the other hand, Leamington Spa is a great town, with beautiful parks, delicious restaurants and everything you might need in the city centre. Rent is more expensive over here, and it is a bit further by bus to the campus. I would highly recommend Leamington Spa if you are planning to study at the University of Warwick, you will have a great experience here and there is a big student community.
If you are interested in living off-campus, just check out the Off-Campus Housing page, they will help you get your perfect place! https://warwick.ac.uk/services/accommodation/studentaccommodation/offcampus/
Damilola Oyedele, MSc Healthcare Operational Management
I recently realised that I’ve already spent more than 6 months at WMG studying for my master’s degree. With this realisation came another one: I had lived in Coventry for over 6 months and I still barely knew anywhere. The only places I have needed to go to are: Uni, my accommodation, grocery stores, drugstores (like I said, I do need to go to these places). To be fair, I can attribute this to the cold weather and how I don’t enjoy moving around in the cold, but the weather has been fairly good in recent times. So, I thought it would be nice to start checking out places around town.
One of the places I checked out is the Coventry Transport Museum in the centre of Coventry town. It is said to be home to the largest publicly owned collection of British vehicles in the world. I quite enjoyed the fact that it takes one through a journey in time and shows the evolution of vehicles through the years. It includes displays of the first-generation bicycles, cars and even sewing machines. If you like cars, you should definitely check this museum out. There are also a number of activities for children, but anybody can really partake.
I also went to a restaurant called “The Botanist” in the city centre with some of my friends. The décor in this restaurant probably explains the name. There are lots of plants, in pots hanging around the space and it provides an amazing ambience. We had a few drinks there at the end of a module and it was a really nice calming place to go after the hectic week we had. It also helped that the staff were polite and super helpful.
Another place I visited, although outside Coventry, is the Natural History Museum in London. Here, there is a display of more than 100 (gross underestimation) species of animals that have existed (some of them, now extinct). Some of the animals were built to simulate motion and I’m embarrassed to say I was a tad creeped out by some. It was a lot of fun though. It’s a place where one can easily spend an entire day because there is a lot to see.
In addition, I visited Leamington Spa with some of my friends and I was incredibly glad I went because it is such a beautiful, calm town. Many students from University of Warwick actually live in Leamington Spa but I live in Coventry and I hadn’t visited before then. I was genuinely impressed by how pretty most of the town was. Birmingham is also very close by and I have visited a number of times. It is a little like the livelier, always on-the-move sibling of Coventry.
I have plans to find new places to visit and let you know how that goes soon; as soon as I finish all the work I’ve got at hand.
Thank you for reading this. Talk to you soon!
P.S: Photographs were taken by my friends Michelle and Michelle.
As an IAE student, you are bound to encounter writer’s block as you trudge through the academic year writing 9 PMAs and a dissertation. It’s that moment when your mind goes blank, your train of thought comes to a complete halt and you have absolutely no idea how to proceed with your work.
This can happen rather often and it’s the reason why many of us end up staring at the computer for hours without getting much work done. Here is a compilation of tips and tricks you can use to combat writer’s block and regain your productivity.
#1: Write one paragraph a day
I found this tip particularly useful when I needed to submit a draft of my dissertation in the midst of back-to-back modules and PMA deadlines. I chose this goal of writing one paragraph a day as it was easy to accomplish, and it made sure that I was always making incremental progress with my dissertation.
While a paragraph may not be much, getting a paragraph written does kickstart your train of thought, and more often than not you’ll end up writing more than just one paragraph. Even if you only end up writing one paragraph a day, you will still end up with over 2 pages of material to expand on after just a week of writing! This is certainly better than not making any progress at all.
Achieving multiple small victories goes a long way in giving you the motivation and confidence to make incremental progress in whatever you do.
#2: Put your thoughts into bullet points
On some days, you can have many ideas, opinions and thoughts about your PMA or dissertation. While you are completely inspired to write, sometimes you may struggle with putting your jumbled-up thoughts into words.
Trying to consolidate your thoughts and phrasing them in complete, structured sentences is probably one of the most difficult things about writing in general. It’s also natural to also want them to be perfect once we’ve written them down, but sometimes our brain doesn’t want to cooperate that way.
In such scenarios, I’ve always resorted to putting all my truncated thoughts into bullet points. While they don’t have to make much sense initially, these little ‘eureka!’ moments do form the foundation for some really great content and should be captured nonetheless. These thoughts will slowly start to make sense when you revisit them at a later stage, and then you can take the time to pick your thoughts apart and slowly work your way through.
At the end of the day, it is crucial to commit to write something on a regular basis. It does not have to be a lot – any progress is always better than none.
Safwat Kerish, MSc Sustainable Automotive Engineering
Lots are going on, supervisor meetings, tasks to do, PMAs, and keeping up with all the other activities. By this time, I have got into the pace of the degree and I've started filling in my free time through effective time management. On another part, Warwick volunteering had an advertisement for student mentoring program at the beginning of the year, which I joined to assist maths teachers in classes and help students through understanding mathematical topics and solving problems.
Warwick Skills Portfolio Award
Warwick Skills Portfolio Award (WSPA), is an award given to students who get involved in three out of more than twenty specific activities in recognition of their development and skills attained. Once an activity is done, a reflection is needed to be written by the student and reviewed by the mentor (all done online). A second reflection and final one should be submitted to proceed with the award. Once all three reflections are written for the three activities, the award is given during a celebration event. I have finished all three activities and I am writing up reflections for the last two. The award will be a great addition to my CV along with all the skills attained.
The WMG has an online system for various skills workshops, social, sports and other events. I was interested in attaining personal development skills that will aid my CV and applications for graduate jobs. I first went for a “Personal Branding” workshop that focuses on individual skills, knowing who you are and building up a personal image, both online and on-ground which will aid when applying for graduate jobs and also for a future career. In line with that, I attended “LinkedIn” workshop, where we learnt how to use the website effectively and in our favour, took some tips and hints to assist us in standing out from others when applying for jobs through the website.
I try to get out of Canley after a whole week of the module to recharge. One weekend I decided to go to Coventry, another weekend I went to Birmingham. I went to try out restaurants and look at the city views. I visited Coventry university which is 8 minutes away from the main bus station (Pool Meadow), I ended up going library there and working for a bit, which is cool because as a student you are allowed to go to any library across the UK. Overall, I try my best whether I am writing up my PMA, researching my project and training. It is hard to keep a steady mood and workload, this is why the days after finishing modules and weekends are great opportunity to relax for a bit (not long), plan, recharge and get ready for work.
Alissa Lola Bouab, MSc Innovation and Entrepreneurship
HELLO dissertation, thesis, project, research… whatever you call it! Now that we are well into the New Year, 2019 feels real and the master’s dissertation too. This year is going to be extra special as I will write a substantial piece of work which will be useful for my future professional career, but also for my personal development. So today I thought I would share a bit more information on the WMG master’s project and the steps I go through in order to actually make it happen and not be (too) overwhelmed.
The WMG master’s project counts for 50% of your overall mark, making it the most ‘important’ piece of work you write throughout the year. The other 50% are the PMAs written after module weeks (9 in total). As my course is Innovation & Entrepreneurship, my dissertation can be about any new business opportunity. Indeed, it could be on anything you might like to launch, which makes it so useful for your future career, as all the research and work for this new venture is already done. Business models, cashflow forecasts, market research, marketing strategies, funding strategies, consumer behaviours are all topics which can be covered in your master’s thesis, making it invaluable information for the future. To help you write it, you have to select a supervisor who is happy to be working with you on a specific topic. The supervisor is so helpful as they keep you on track with your work, give feedback throughout the process and explain to you how the different chapters have to be written. But don’t worry, there are also plenty of workshops for each chapter in order to fully understand what is expected of you. Finally, the piece of information that everyone wants to know: the dissertation’s word count guideline is 20,000 words (as of March 2019). This is only a broad guideline, and dissertations vary greatly in size.
So now that the project is a bit clearer, here are my top tips to keep on track and tackle this important piece of work.
Step one: Plan ahead and adjust accordingly
The tip everyone tells you about and for good reason… Planning ahead is the most important step when it comes to tackling a big and lengthy piece of work. Breaking down all the chapters into smaller tasks and planning your time around them. Sticking to the plan is preferable but sometimes life gets in the way, and in this case, it is essential to modify the plan so you can stick to it again! This month I went to Spain and had to modify my schedule as I knew I just wasn’t going to write my thesis when it was sunny, 27 degrees outside and an ice cream was waiting for me. Adiós dissertation!
Step two: Learn from the past
Did you already write a big assignment similar to the master’s thesis? It could be a bachelor’s dissertation for instance. Then why not take note of what you did well and not so well in order to plan even better this time around? I struggled with time management last year during my bachelor’s dissertation (I mean who didn’t?), so I am really careful about my time schedule this year and making sure to stick to it.
Step three: Be realistic and plan breaks
We live super busy lives and like to be involved in all kind of projects. Our never-ending to-do lists don’t help us in finishing all the tasks we set out to do in a day. So be realistic with how much time writing the dissertation takes (hint: it takes a lot of time but that’s okay as it is something you probably are passionate about!). Another thing is to plan breaks often and regularly, during the day but also throughout the weeks and months, with travelling for instance or anything that makes you tick. A little escape from everyday life in order to recharge.
Step four: Work with your supervisor
The supervisor is a mine of knowledge and guidance: use it! They give you insightful feedback which makes your work better and help you keep on track. My supervisor has been great at helping me plan my workload, giving me feedback and suggesting ways to improve my work.
Step five: Just do it
My favourite tip of all: just get it done. Just start writing, researching, working on the project. Don’t let perfectionism stop you from doing it, just do it, get feedback and adjust accordingly. And before you know it, the dissertation will be done!
¡Hola! Taking a well-needed break from dissertation writing in Spain!