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How WMG has helped my entrepreneurship journey

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!


The magic of being an MSc student in the UK

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!

Intercultural experience

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!

Team work

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


Dealing with writer's block

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.

Tue 09 Apr 2019, 14:29 | Tags: Innovation and Entrepreneurship 2018-19

How to plan effectively for a master’s dissertation

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!

AB_blog post_dissertation

¡Hola! Taking a well-needed break from dissertation writing in Spain!

Thu 28 Mar 2019, 15:28 | Tags: Innovation and Entrepreneurship 2018-19 Dissertation

Industrial visit to Birmingham Airport with WMG

David Suarez Cuellar, MSc Innovation and Entrepreneurship

One of the most exciting benefits of studying for WMG is the opportunity to visit real-world business in the UK while studying. Recently, I joined the visit to Birmingham Airport along with other fellow WMG Master students. It was very exciting and I have always loved planes, so I was very eager to see how they manage the large number of people travelling through the airport each day.

Most industrial visits start at 9.00am and finished by 1pm, they are booked via the WMG event booking system that all WMG master students have access to and this. The coach arrived on campus at 9:10 to take us to the airport and we arrived there shortly afterwards, as it is only around 20 minutes by road from the university.

The visit began with a presentation about the airport’s history and its relevance for the UK, where we discovered that it is the 7th largest airport in the UK with around 12 million passengers travelling through it per year.

After some explanations of how the airport works, we headed for the most exciting part: we visited the terminal. There, we were told that this particular airport was the first hub-and-spoke purpose designed terminal in the world during the 1980s. This is how most large airlines in the world such as British Airways, Emirates, etc. work nowadays, so it was the first airport in the world that was designed to work internally as most modern airports work. Surprisingly, this was not the only innovation ever introduced in Birmingham Airport. The rail link from the railway station happened to be the first Maglev train system ever built in the world, just like the one found in Shanghai, but slightly shorter. Sadly, as it happens with many innovations, it had to be replaced in 1995, so now the rail link works in a different technology.

As you can see, it was a lot of fun going on an industrial visit with WMG. Certainly, it won't be my last industrial visit. I highly recommend everyone at WMG to join one, it gets you closer to the industry you might want to work in the future.

Fri 01 Mar 2019, 09:46 | Tags: Innovation and Entrepreneurship 2018-19

My 2018 journey

Alissa Lola Bouab, MSc Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Looking back at 2018, many things happened. Of course there were ups and downs, but overall we can all be proud of personal achievements, big or small; noticeable to others or not.

Personally, 2018 was the year I finally finished my bachelors degree; did a big trip that involved camping in the wilderness in Canada; attended summer school in Denmark (because why not study a bit more?) and got accepted to study at WMG for a masters of Innovation and Entrepreneurship with a scholarship!

Looking back, it was also a tough year as I studied more than ever and had to push aside personal projects.

Here is the thing with studying, you have to enjoy it! But you also have to balance it out with personal projects so that your life is as fun and exciting as it can be. Be it a part-time job, a travelling addiction, or even a hobby; I learnt this year that it is important to work on different things at the same time. And studying a masters degree can be combined with those personal projects as most work is done remotely, in the comfort of your own home, whilst travelling or at the times that suit you best. Admittedly, this style of working requires a lot of self-discipline, but once you get the hang of it, you are able to do so much more by working on your personal development and your studies simultaneously. This is something that is often not possible whilst working full-time so I intend to make the most of it during the rest of my studies in 2019 by balancing my studies with more personal projects such as learning a new language, going travelling whilst studying and working part-time. These activities will bring a new dimension to my year of studying, giving me the ability to gain new experiences. I was actually writing this post whilst travelling through France, balancing a hobby of mine and my studies through the ability to work remotely.

What about you, what did you learn in 2018? And what do you intend to put in place in 2019 to make it an even better year?

 alissa_image1

Happy New Year, everyone. Take time to reflect and try new things in the new year!


Resources to Help Conquer your PMAs

Amanda Foo Min Lin, MSc Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Embarking on PMAs can be a daunting experience, especially if it is your first PMA. However, WMG has several resources that are available FOR FREE to help you understand the demands of your PMAs and how to ace them.

PMA Surgeries

PMA surgeries are generally designed to give you a second opinion on how your PMA looks so far. These 30-minute sessions are usually conducted by students currently pursuing their PhDs, which can be booked via the event booking system.

Question 1: What can I expect from a PMA surgery?

Your mentor will scan through your PMA to give you feedback and offer recommendations for improvement.

Question 2: Should I approach a mentor who is pursuing a PhD that is related to my course?

Answer: That’s not necessary! Personally, I booked a PMA surgery under Zakkiya Adam, who was pursuing a PhD in Urban Science and Progress CDT – quite different from Innovation and Entrepreneurship I must say! Despite the differences in subject expertise, she provided very helpful insights on how to improve my report format and answered all my questions regarding my PMA. Hence, don’t worry if all the mentors available are not familiar with your course content – just choose a mentor who matches your availability!

Question 3: How do I prepare for the PMA surgery?

Answer: Here are some tips to make your PMA surgery fruitful:

1. Prepare questions you may have regarding your PMA: highlight specific parts of your PMA which require attention and insert your questions into comments within the word document. This allows you to keep track of all the questions you have in mind. You can also type and save your mentor’s answers to your questions so that you can review and resolve them at a later time.

2. Complete as much of your PMA as possible before attending the PMA surgery: This ensures that the feedback you receive applies to the PMA as a whole and you make the most out of the 30-minute consultation session.

Personal Tutor

Sadly, PMA surgeries are not always available for booking all year round. However, you can always make an appointment with your personal tutor, who has been assigned to you at the beginning of the academic year. Like the PMA surgery mentors, your personal tutor will help you review your PMA and offer suggestions for improvement! Don’t miss this opportunity.

Your Lecturer

If you’re unsure if your approach to answering the PMA is on the right track, do drop your lecturer(s) an email! They will be more than happy to clarify any questions you may have and guide you in the right direction to conquer your PMA.

I hope this has been helpful in providing some tips on how to ace your PMAs! Do check your email and the events booking system periodically to keep abreast of all the different workshops and events WMG has organized to help you succeed in your PMAs.

 

 


Motivation and deadlines

Alissa Lola Bouab, MSc Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Meeting deadlines

As you can expect, a masters degree is packed full of deadlines. We deal with Post-Module Assignments (PMAs) to submit shortly after a module week, and other mini deadlines in our day-to-day lives such as presentations during our modules. However, we also have deadlines in the longer term, particularly the one for our dissertation, for which we are given roughly 11 months from start to finish.

Short-term deadlines

Our deadlines for our PMAs are relatively short: we have 4 weeks after the end of our module to submit an academic piece of work. My best advice for these is to start early to get it done as soon as possible. Prioritising your work will allow you to produce your best work in time. And honestly, I would much rather finish one week before the deadline than trying to write several thousand words the night before submission.

Long-term deadline

This one mainly involves the dissertation submission. It just is not possible to leave it to the last minute (or day), as the work is both lengthy and requires depth and analysis. I find the best way to do this is to work regurlarly, therefore achieving a high-quality piece of work at the end by using small efforts over a long period. A tip would be to break down the project into different smaller parts which can be achieved independently. When done, you just have to compile everything together and the task seems much less daunting.

It is all about motivation

I can’t say it enough: a little work is better than no work. It is not about being highly motivated every single day, but about progress. And because we write so much, we might have a ‘writer’s block’. To overcome this, I forget about my inner perfectionist and write something; anything that will fill the blank page.

Also, writing a plan (and sticking to it) is great as you can organise your time better and actually plan some free-time to go out or just do nothing at home (yay!).

Finally, as we really work from home a lot of the times, going out for a walk to avoid cabin fever or even studying out of the house, such as at the university can be great ways to switch things up and feel refreshed. The university has a lot of study spaces, on campus and off-campus such as in Leamington Spa.

That’s all for me today, good luck with any deadlines you may have!

campus_alissa_lola

Warwick campus


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