My story - Samantha Smith

Wednesday 09-08-2017 - 13:32
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Samantha Smith - BA (Hons) Economics and Finance (1st Class Honours) graduated in July this year.

 

There’s so much going on all the time in Manchester which I love. It’s been ideal as a student, there’s plenty of great places and venues with events all over every day - even after 3 years living in the city, I feel there’s so much more yet to see. I picked Economics and Finance because I was torn between studying the two subjects - the joint honours degree catered to this. It was challenging to keep up to speed with both subjects, especially when sitting the same exams as single honour students. However, studying a joint honours has given me more flexibility with my degree - the past 3 years have helped me come to the decision that I want a career in Finance, I was able to pick my modules accordingly. I wish that someone told me to get more involved with extra-curricular activities at university from day one – the past 3 years have flown by. It wasn’t until the middle of 2nd year really when I began to take advantage of all MMU has to offer. Since then, I have attended employability workshops, undertaken work experience, attended guest talks, worked toward a research project, been a course representative and so much more.

During my time at uni, I was inspired to enter the Samsung Apprentice 2017 challenge because in my unit Business Environment and Operations. We'd learnt so much theory that we would be able to apply to the context of starting up a business. Whilst we didn't particularly know much about technology nor photography, we knew a lot about strategy and analysing the business environment which acted as a great foundation for the challenge. Also, I love the watching The Apprentice (and making money) so it was great to be involved in our own little project to see how much money we could make. Over the course of 10 days, we were challenged to team up, create a start-up business and make as much money as possible with £20 and some loaned equipment from Samsung.

Myself and fellow students Jordan and Ollie formed a team and came up with a business concept where we use the equipment to take 360-degree images of the interior of local businesses across Manchester to be uploaded on Social media for them to use as a marketing tool to give an inside view of their premises to their potential customers. That’s where we came up with the name Enter MCR – our images effectively allow people to virtually enter Manchester. Our logo is inspired by the Manchester Bee.

We spent the £20 on flyers and began pitching to local business owners. Over the 10 days took images of 17 small businesses across South Manchester including an art gallery, cookery school and fireworks shop. We made £710 and won the Apprentice Challenge for both most profit made, and best advert.

Following our success, we were invited the event Inspire: Manchester17, hosted by Samsung. Here we met Olympic gold medallist Sir Steve Redgrave and were invited on stage where we were awarded Samsung equipment. This generosity from Samsung inspired us to continue with our business once we completed our degrees.  Now we have discovered what else we can offer with our 360-degree photography. We have recently become Google Trusted Photographers meaning we are able to offer Google Business Virtual Tours and can also make more bespoke virtual tours independent of Google. We are also now part of the Business Growth Hub in Manchester and working with Samsung and marketing agency Rooster Punk to help get our business off the ground which is very exciting.

I have learnt so much from the Apprentice Challenge, it's definitely strengthened my mindset of seizing every opportunity that comes my way. Even more so now that we are going forth with our business. We have now completed our first tour since the we started up again and are constantly networking to gain insight on how we can improve and be more effective. I would definitely encourage students in the future to engage with challenges like this one - what is there to lose?

You can check out Samantha's business websiteFacebook page, and Twitter.

 

Read more students' experiences of uni life here.

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