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A change in direction: Meet George Sinnott

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3 August 2020

With 98.8 percent of our students in graduate employment within 15 months*, we love to follow our students’ journeys and hear how a degree that matters helps them to achieve great things in the working world. Some of our students even take the plunge into self employment with a start up business, much like George Sinnott, a recent graduate of the BSc (Hons) Business Management with Marketing degree pathway, who is making his first steps into consultancy.

George attributes his understanding of the sector to his studies, saying: “My degree has provided me with a solid foundation of the business world and has given me a broad look at the many opportunities I have.

“I have gone from having almost no knowledge of the business world to how to run a business, being confident about starting my own. I plan on becoming an independent business consultant as I feel I have the appropriate skills and knowledge to begin my own business. With the current job market being so competitive I feel that going it alone will be a great way to further develop my skills and increase my knowledge.”

But where did George’s passion for business begin? He explained: “I was originally studying BSc (Hons) Agriculture but, as I entered second year, I realised that agriculture and farming just wasn’t for me.

“It was already the first week of term and I wanted to change courses. The Business Management with Marketing course immediately stood out as it suited my interests in business, finance and marketing. I requested to change course and I was kindly allowed to transfer.

“Ever since that day I have thoroughly enjoyed the course; it was the best decision I’ve ever made. The broad syllabus was definitely the biggest draw to the course as it covers everything and is great for someone like me who has little to no experience of running a business. It really does start from scratch and, now I have graduated, I feel confident that I have a sound knowledge of the business world and that I can forge a successful career within it.”

George gained a taste of a career in the industry during his placement year. He shared his experience, commenting: “My placement year was a significant milestone in my university career, and certainly taught me a lot about the world of business. I was extremely lucky to be able to work for a company called Original Biscuit Bakers; they are a gingerbread supplier for supermarkets, food distributors and farm shops. My position was Sales and Marketing Assistant, but I was able to work in almost all departments, including Finance, Marketing, Sales, Production and Product Development.

“Typically I would go into the office and have to plan my day. I was certainly not micromanaged and was able to decide what I needed to do and when I needed to do it; this was a great responsibility and developed me as an individual. I was tasked with managing their digital marketing, dealing with customers and their orders, budgeting and forecasting sales, working on production efficiency and occasionally visiting customers and attending farm shows.

“My manager was extremely encouraging and gave me every opportunity to try new things, gain new experiences and learn about the runnings of a business. This was extremely helpful as I had very limited knowledge about business operations and my placement year truly turned that around. I became a much more confident individual with experience in dealing with clients, managing people, prioritising work, organising my time and presenting to board meetings.”

Taking his new knowledge into his final year, George undertook his Honours Research Project which became his favourite experience at Harper. He explained: “By completing my dissertation with the guidance of my tutor Dr Dimitrios, I was able to really develop my understanding of economics to a higher level.

“The title of my dissertation was ‘The validity of Wagner’s Law in the United Kingdom between 1900 and 2018’. This involved investigating the relationship between GDP and government spending, identifying whether or not, when the government spends more - on pensions, defence, education etc. - the ‘wealth’ of the population increases.

“I used econometrics to study secondary data which was a really interesting topic to learn. This was also one of the main reasons I studied this topic, as I was able to learn about econometrics which employers would find hugely beneficial in the roles. I also really enjoy economics and this subject therefore allowed me to explore both in more depth.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process of writing my dissertation although I know a lot of others probably wouldn’t say the same! I was then extremely happy to learn that I achieved a first in my dissertation as it showed the hard work and passion for the topic paid off.”

George’s passion for his subject is evident in his enthusiasm when talking about his studies. He advises others that are similarly interested in business, marketing or economics to seek out the opportunities that feel right to you, even if they aren’t clear from the start. He said: “I originally chose Harper because the agriculture course is seen to be one of the best but the course didn’t quite fit my interests. It took me a year to realise but when I changed to Business Management with Marketing I knew I was doing what was right for me. Overall, it’s a great course to gain a substantial understanding of the business world and, along with the placement year, it sets you up for a successful future in almost any industry.

“Having been at Harper for five years, I would certainly pick it again! Its location is one of the best and I really loved living out in the countryside. The community feel is something I don’t think you would find anywhere else - it is truly unique to the university. As soon as you move in, the freshers week makes you feel part of the university and you really do make friends for life. From day one Harper has been full of a lot of amazing experiences. The ones that really stand out however are all of the Balls: Summer, Christmas, Paddy’s and Freshers. Each is truly a memorable experience.”

To find out more about all of the Harper business degree options, please click here.

*Graduate Outcomes Survey data 2020

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