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University & Professional Development

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BE NICE SOCIALStudents enjoyed a trip to Disneyland Paris.

Thirty-three Business Year 1 students have returned from a very successful Business LIVE! Conference at Disneyland Paris. The conference was attended by hundreds of students from across the UK. The students heard from interesting business guest speakers and went to see the park from a business perspective, as a multimillion-pound operation. The students heard from diverse speakers such as Fraser Doherty, Jos Opsteen and Tessa Clarke.

Fraser Doherty has gone from a young entrepreneur who started off by making his grandmother’s jam recipe in his family kitchen to running two multimillion-pound businesses. He talked about his story and the steps he undertook to set up SuperJam. The students heard about how he showed resilience to his setbacks, how he adapted to market conditions, how to market effectively and respond to feedback. Fraser eventually succeeded in pitching his idea to Waitrose and the jam is now sold across the country with the business’s USP that it now produces jams without any artificial sugar. Fraser also co-founded the business Beer 52. The students found it really interesting to hear his entrepreneurial tips and the importance of showing strength of character when things do not always go your way.

Another speaker was Tessa Clarke who discussed her career – both highlights and lowlights. From working as a spokesperson for the payday loan company Wonga, to setting up the food sharing app Olio, where people who have food going to waste and share it with anyone who needs it. After an incident got her thinking about wasted good, Tessa’s research discovered that a third of the food produced across the world is wasted and from the seed of that idea, she started her business. The students were interested her in her business model as well as the social and environmental impact of her idea. 

The final speaker was Jos Opsteen who discussed the importance of marketing to the Disneyland Paris resort. The students were particularly interested to hear how the marketing department has detailed research of every nationality and customer preference. They have even noticed that different nationalities move in different directions around the park. With UK visitors moving clockwise (possibly because we drive on the left) while other European nationalities move anticlockwise. The students had the opportunity to ask business questions of all three guest speakers at a panel session and a number of interesting and thoughtful questions were asked. The discussion about market research, entrepreneurial skills, business ideas, funding and the resilience to carry it to fruition directly links to both what the students are studying and their business ideas for the future.

The students' behaviour was exemplarily throughout and they were a credit to the College, especially as the trip started with a cold late night coach pick up at 11.30pm. Also, many thanks to Sophia Carn-Pryor who organised it like clockwork. 

Staff Attending: Sophia, Daniel and Shannon.