In contrast to other universities I visited when making my choice of where to study, I felt lecturers at the University of Suffolk were more approachable, more involved with their students and generally available to respond to questions and offer support where needed. The class sizes also seemed smaller than elsewhere. These factors indicated to me that the quality of teaching in interaction with teachers would be high, likely higher than elsewhere.
Studying at the University of Suffolk also allowed me to study locally while retaining my job in the area. At the time I had just been promoted as the youngest Assistant Manager at Centerparcs and it seemed good. Studying locally and saving money through living with my parents as well as being able to continue my job allowed me to build up enough savings to invest in property and start building my business.
While I already had business acumen when starting the course, and perhaps a certain instinct or gut feeling for doing business, my studies at the University of Suffolk formalised that instinct, gave me the grounding I needed to effectively implement business development and provided me with academic backing and more profound insights in the theories behind principles that I was already exploring in practise.
During my time at the University of Suffolk, I gained a lot of soft skills such as communication, networking, and presenting/pitching ideas. Networking is an important part of my current career, as conversations at events or by chance are usually the starting point of interactions with clients who I end up coaching as well as business partners who I end up collaborating with. To be successful in any business requires making sales effectively. Communication skills and particularly the ability to deliver a good pitch are key to conveying to customers the value you or your company brings, and ultimately make the sale.
During my time at the University of Suffolk I was the student governor on the governing body and supported on entrepreneurship initiatives (e.g. organisation of the Global Entrepreneurship Week at West Suffolk College Campus). Sitting on the governing body gave me an idea of what a group of experienced professionals coming together to work towards a common goal were able to achieve. This experience has helped me prepare for sitting on Boards of other organisations and contributing to these constructively and effectively. I have since become a board member and non-executive Director of a range of charities and companies.
After finishing my degree at the University of Suffolk, I continued my studies at the Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, while also continuing to save and invest in my then established property investment company, Windsor Properties. Alongside lecturing business at West Suffolk College, I continued to grow Windsor Properties, expanding the business beyond property investment into consultancy to advise clients who were seeking to start a business or explore new investment strategies.
Working with a number of partners that I had either coached, consulted for or co-invested in their company, in 2017 I had established a portfolio of services and companies to such extent that it allowed me to transition away entirely from formal employment to run my own ventures and those that I had started in partnership (including in consultancy, property, architecture, digital media, training, pet care and health supplements).
Among my favourite memories or my time at University of Suffolk were the classes of Denis Stevens, in particular his class on ethics was a definite highlight for me. I remember the lively debates and intriguing thought experiments he challenged us with. I have continued what I learned in those classes, ensuring that my own companies have clear ethical values, volunteering time for charities and other activities with social relevance and acting as a mentor for Social Incubator East.
Recently, WindsorPatania Architects has successfully helped 19 homeless people into purpose-built accommodation in Barcelona earlier this year. Now the firm has joined forces with a global consortium of partners to continue to help fight homelessness in the city.
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