How can students make the most of their time during undergrad?
As we begin welcoming students back to Bangor University next month, we’re thinking of the ways that students can make the most of their time in university.
More than ever before, students should be looking for ways that they can be ready for the working world. Here at Enterprise by Design, we believe our 10 week challenge is the perfect way for students to begin developing a business oriented mindset in a university setting.
Below are 4 ways we prepare our students for the world of work. These aspects create a well rounded experience for students learning to be a part of all kinds of industries and are invaluable no matter what future career path a student follows.
About Enterprise By Design
Enterprise by Design, or EBD, is a 10-week annual event organised by Bangor University and Pontio Innovation in conjunction with businesses in North Wales that brings students from four different disciplines—Business, Science, Arts, and Engineering—together to form teams and respond innovatively to a brief, helping to enhance the local economy.
Encouraging Multidisciplinary Collaboration
In a traditional university setting, most learning is done in a classroom with students of the same discipline. This doesn’t always match the real world, as teams across industries can often work together.
At EBD, we believe it’s important that students across business, arts, science, and engineering have a chance to collaborate with each other during their time at university. Multidisciplinary collaboration encourages T-shaped people, where professionals are deeply knowledgeable in their own area but are capable in a wide variety of others too.
From product development and consumer psychology to marketing and branding, our student teams go through a process where they experience the whole journey; from the conception of an idea to it being fully realised and on the market. This allows students to be a part of every aspect of business development in a very hands-on manner, as opposed to in a typical classroom setting where they would often only learn about it during a lecture or a small group seminar.
Utilising Industry Expertise
Throughout the years, our students have learned from industry experts within the university across the four disciplines of EBD as well as from business owners whose journeys to developing businesses can be indispensable to our students.
Each week in the programme, teams learn about different areas of businesses, such as: sustainable packaging solutions, local research into Dementia, and the strong links to Adventure Tourism in North Wales.
Not only are our students expected to create a viable business idea themselves, they’re also expected to learn, for example, the history behind certain industry practices, the basics of design, and the advantages of well-made advertising.
This combination of expert research and modern business practices is a useful tool. Our students end up well informed, well rounded employees of the future.
Nowhere else in the university setting do students have access to the same breadth of experience and expertise. We’re very proud of our programme, and others of its kind, in the value it brings to students’ university time.
Introduce Idea Generation Challenges
In industries such as design and engineering, it’s not unusual for teams to use activities to brainstorm and build upon each other’s ideas. Activities such as Crazy Eights, Storymapping and Paper Challenges are great ways to get people’s creative juices flowing and encourage idea generation!
At Enterprise by Design, we do several challenges over the weeks that push students to think outside of the box and work collectively on their projects. Some of our challenges help students to create a catalogue of ideas, develop an ideal customer for their product, or design packaging that is functional, sustainable and aesthetically pleasing. Our students also learn about the media and marketing side of business, by trying out filming challenges that encourages students to create media that is eye catching to an audience and makes a lasting impression.
By using these kinds of challenges, we believe it helps students learn how to “think big” first without second guessing themselves, and then whittle down ideas later. This encourages them to create a process of idea generation when working with other people, and helps them to communicate their ideas effectively while building off of other’s ideas.
Some students may not encounter these activities in their normal university life, but most employees are rewarded for critical thinking and creativity when it comes to solving problems in the workplace. We’re strengthening the natural skills that all students have when it comes to these issues and giving them the tools to excel in any workplace.
Creating Opportunities with Local Companies
Perhaps the most useful way to prepare students for the business world is throwing them into the experience during their degree! For many university students, this means an internship or a work placement, which are often fantastic ways to get experience with a business.
With Enterprise by Design, students experience the working parts of a company and they get to see not only how they would function in a company but how the company functions as a whole. By creating their own solution to a business’s pains, EBD teams learn about many different aspects of business; from competitor research and product packaging, to consumer psychology and marketing.
Creating opportunities with local companies for EBD students helps to develop in them a business mindset for the future. University settings can sometimes be insulated from the outside world, but by creating business partnerships students engage with the local area and combine what they are learning in their courses with practical, real world problems to provide a solution.
The world of work is changing
Looking at how companies both large and small are hiring new employees, our future workforce, the students of today, need to be more prepared than ever to not just be experts in their own fields but knowledgeable and comfortable in many others, too. A programme like Enterprise by Design is the perfect way to give students the chance to gain these skills.
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