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Minds are for moulding: Part 1


Written by Stephan Hayward

Photography by Birmingham City University

As any MD will tell you, my favourite topic of conversation is my business and the industry I work in. Creative and digital runs through my veins – along with a questionable amount of coffee – therefore when I get the opportunity to talk to people about what I do, I take it. Correction; I grab it.

University life

Having attended University myself – Nottingham Trent – I valued the time and effort my lecturers put into the talks, presentations and discussions, but I don’t think I ever realised how influential they would be in my later life.

University sets you up for a plethora of things, from work experience, depth of knowledge in your chosen subject, and the all-important social skills needed for the big, scary work world. Well, that’s the impression you get anyway! University feels safe, you know what to expect and you know what’s expected of you. At the end of the day, you get out of it, what you put in.

Invest in your future

Birmingham City University has had some serious investment over the last few years, and is clearly keen to springboard its students into interesting, innovative and lucrative careers.

Its Digital Marketing courses, along with the astonishing array of equipment at its student’s disposal, far exceeded anything I had seen before.

Speak and be heard

So, with all this in mind, and using my 18 years’ experience in digital as my confidence backbone, I took the plunge and accepted an amazing offer from Birmingham City University to be a guest lecturer on their monetisation module, within its Digital Marketing course.

At first, I’ll be honest, I questioned whether anyone would be interested in my knowledge of the business, and how I went about setting up my own agency, but when I entered the lecture room, my concerns rightly vanished.

These eager, young minds, who had signed up for this five week addition to their existing course, were nothing short of exceptional. I feared I would drive them to their phones in a vain attempt to keep themselves awake, but no! Lively, interactive and by far the most inquisitive humans I have been in contact with for a while.

Wise words

As alluded to in my title, Birmingham City University invited me to aid with three lectures within their Digital Marketing Course. My introduction was all about my business (see first paragraph and my favourite topic), how I set up the agency, my learnings – one should always be learning – and our company values, and goals for the future. I had some guidelines from the university and incorporated and compared the students’ current learning, to real life agency situations.

I return for part 2 in a couple of weeks where I’ll get into the real grit of website development, so I’m expecting a line around the university building once word gets out.

Ultimately, what I’d like to get across during my lectures, is that everything they are learning; every extra bit of work they complete; every late night, is totally worth it when you land a job that makes it less about the work, and more about the love of what you do.

A very wise man once said, ‘Whether you think that you can, or think that you can’t, you’re absolutely right’. Oh Henry Ford, how right you were.