£10 Challenge winner James Mulholland talks about the experience

A group of our entrepreneurial students won both prizes (‘Most Innovative’ and ‘Most Profit’) in our £10 Challenge for Start-up week – A five day challenge to make as much profit as possible with just ten pounds. James Mulholland, Olivia Brooks, Ryane Tully and Anders Morris put their enterprise skills into action with a soya candle-making venture which James Mulholland wrote a blog post about below:
How we turned a tenner into £152 in 6 days.

Each year, Bristol University runs a ‘£10 challenge’ where teams compete to make as much money as possible from a £10 investment in under a week. Since I’m looking to maximise my business experience before I graduate in the summer, I thought I’d have a go at getting a team together to give it a shot.Once I’d teamed up with Liv, Ryane and Anders, we sat down to pick an idea and quickly settled upon candle-making. With Mother’s Day that week, Liv already having knowledge in the area and there being lots of opportunities to do things in a DIY way, candles looked like the perfect opportunity.

Fake it till you make it!

After a gruelling trip on the bus to Hobby Craft in the snow, we sat down to turn some £8 wax, £2 wick sustainers and other supplies that we’d cobbled together from around our homes into our first set of candles.

What we didn’t quite count on was how horribly over-priced Hobby Craft was going to be; £8 worth of wax doesn’t go very far. Candle-making, it turns out, is also much harder than WikiHow would have you believe and, in the end, we only produced a single half-decent looking candle. Not that we were going to tell anyone that. Using our one, precious candle, we grabbed the only label that we’d managed to wrangle out of the printer before it jammed and stuck it on to the jar with some honey we stole from Ryane’s housemate (real glue was out of our budget).

Using our fake, largely scentless candle, we took the artiest photos we could and began constructing our brand, Native Candles. We whipped up a logo with Canva and plugged it into Adobe Spark to make some banners and imagery for social media. Voilà!

With some deceptive photography in hand, I set up a Digital Ocean server to host our Wordpress/WooCommerce site (using GitHub’s education discount to get some free credit) and plugged in a theme I had lying around from some web-development work. Add some fancy copywriting and there you have it: a credible brand for the grand total of £0.

Next up was getting some orders in. This was the area I had the most apprehension about but in the end, what gave me the most learning and enjoyment. Selling to friends was easy enough but going out to real vendors with a product you know you’ve messily constructed in your student kitchen the day before is quite different.

Ryane and I walked into our first shop and started selling, pretending we had the faintest idea about the difference between soya and paraffin wax or what a ‘pure’ essential oil is. We’d been selling to friends for £5 but apparently our pitch had gone well and the shop-owner said she’d expect £10 and that we could stock up to ten candles if we came back the next day and got agreement from her business partner.

Ultimately, due to our highly-restricted schedule and a slow turn around for shop sales (everywhere wanted us to leave stock, take a commission and then return to collect our profits a week later), we ended up getting most of our 6-day revenue in the form of sales to friends and friends of friends. That said, we’ll be heading back out in order to put our remaining stock out there and it’ll be fun to see how successfully the product sells…

In all honesty, after one week’s work, the profit to time-investment ratio wasn’t astonishing per person. If I wanted to, I could definitely earn more in a part-time job. But to have money in your hand that you’ve truly earnt yourself is somehow so much sweeter than getting a monthly pay-cheque. And of course, this was in only one week with a bunch of artificial constraints that slowed our progress and limited our profits. With time, Native Candles could be tweaked further, indeed a couple of team members are going to carry on the business past the challenge deadline.

Finally, I’d like to give a shout out to the Career’s Service for running the challenge and for providing some tasty prizes for us.

Please see the original and full article here: http://blog.mulhol.io/the-10-challenge/

To check out their website: https://nativecandles.co.uk/

Faculty of Arts Careers Week 2018 report

The first three days of the Faculty of Arts Careers Week took place from 26th-28th February. Students heard from over 27 alumni and professionals on their respective careers, as speakers shared their experiences of how they have progressed through their career from graduation, and how to forge a successful career. Tips and advice were given, and students were able to hear about the positives and negatives of a variety of roles and sectors.

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Still need an Intensive Skills Activity for the PLUS Award? Don’t panic!

As the deadline for the Bristol PLUS Award looms on the 8 of June, we thought it might be useful to talk about ways to fulfil the Intensive Skills Activity section of the Bristol PLUS Award.

The below are suggestions to give you some inspiration and are NOT exhaustive, we encourage you to find your own activity that is most relevant and beneficial to you!

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Using LinkedIn to research employers and network

As you probably know, LinkedIn is a social media site for professionals on which you can host a kind of online CV.

However, to really benefit from the site as a student it’s highly likely that you’ll need to actively use it to seek out opportunities, rather than hoping that the opportunities will come to you.

So, whilst it’s worth developing an “all-star profile” so the people you contact (or whose profiles you visit!) will quickly be able to get a sense of who you are and what you have to offer, LinkedIn will only really become useful to you if you actively use it to find potential employers.

Here are three tips on how to use LinkedIn to find relevant people and employers.

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How social media can help or hurt you in your job search

LinkedIn is ideal for building a professional network and giving prospective employers a good view of who you are and is a popular medium for recruiting people. However, have you considered your other social media pages when it comes to job hunting?

Whether you’re looking for a part-time job, internship or a graduate role, social media can have a key part to play.

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What’s your USP? Marketing yourself with applications

If all products were the same, how would we choose between them?

A unique selling point – USP – is the attribute that makes a product different from and more attractive than its competitors.

Just as big brands need to hook buyers in with their USPs, job applicants need to find ways to catch the eye of recruiters. So, when applying for jobs, this means showing employers what makes you different, ensuring you stand out from the crowd.

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Now is the time! Hassan Nasir talks about the advantages of achieving the Bristol PLUS Award

There is just so much to gain”

Hassan secured a role with Dyson as an Electrical Engineer after graduating in 2016 with first class honours in Electrical and Electronic Engineering and, of course, achieving the Bristol PLUS Award.

Read on to find out how Hassan benefited from completing the Award, and how he feels it helped him secure a job after graduation.

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Where will you be in 10 years? Speak to Alumni to find out where you could go!

Alumni delivering presentation

Earlier this month over two-dozen alumni from the Faculty of Biomedical Sciences came back to Bristol for the annual Biomedical Sciences Alumni Careers Evening, an event designed to help current students find out more about the wide range of careers open to them.

The event has grown continually, with this year’s being the largest ever. Over 180 students came along to meet management consultants, university professors, company directors, medical students, wildlife film makers and science communication professionals, among many others.

The evening gave students the opportunity to hear a number of short talks from the alumni to find out about their career paths since leaving Bristol. Students then had the opportunity to ask their own questions about topics such as how their degree has helped them in the workplace, what different careers are really like and what type of work experience is required for certain careers.

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A Science Laboratory Internship – building on what I’d learnt on my course

During summer this year, I worked in a Biochemistry lab. My work involved looking at biological enzyme reactions which could be useful in biotechnology applications. Though this was a bit more left field than what I was used to in my regular Biochemistry degree, it was not as hard as it seemed. Thankfully, it turned out to be equal parts fun and work.

I found out about the opportunity by speaking to my tutor who suggested that I email labs whose work interested me. I was lucky enough to get a spot in the Anderson lab group after a short informal interview. From there, everything was pretty much settled besides funding, which required a written application and took a month to get a decision on.

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Careers in management consultancy: your questions answered

Management consultancy is a popular career choice for Bristol graduates, but many students ask us what it actually is, and what it involves. We got a chance to find out a bit more about the sector, and what it’s like to work within it, at our Investment Banking and Management Consultancy Evening last month.

Representatives from LEKOC&C Strategy ConsultantsPA ConsultingPwC, and CIL Management Consultants answered questions about this popular, but sometimes misunderstood sector. Read on to find out what they said!

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