International Business Management student Adam Lewis talks to us about life at Oxford Brookes University.
What course are you studying: BA (Hons) International Business Management
What did you study at school/college: A Levels in Business, Law, English Language & Literature.
Why did you choose this course?
I chose this course for many reasons. The major reason was the flexibility: as someone who is interested in many aspects of international business, including Law, Finance, Ethics and Human Resources, this course was able to offer opportunities to study in all of these areas.
I also liked the way the course was structured; it is four years with a placement and/or exchange opportunities, allowing a break in the penultimate year to gain valuable business experience. The course focuses on cross-cultural leadership and working in an international business environment, two key elements to improving employability as a graduate. The assignment structure was built to develop new skills through a useful mix of exams and written and oral assignments. This structure debunks the myth of universities focussing on large exams, and similarly, on just essays. It really has been integral in my development, and has built greater confidence in my ability to complete any assignment or project, either at University or in the workplace
Why did you choose this uni?
I chose Oxford Brookes due to its reputation as the UK’s best modern university, as well as its renowned placement scheme. The strong reputation that Brookes holds in the business community has allowed it to build strong relationships with local and national businesses, which encourages students to seek employment. Oxford Brookes also invests heavily in the development and experience of the students, and I was encouraged to see the construction of a new academic building and library when I came to the campus in late 2010, one that I have been able to take full advantage of this year.
What are the facilities like?
Overall the facilities at Oxford Brookes are excellent, the new John Henry Brookes Building has a four-storey library, Students Union Bar, Food Hall, Forum and Lecture theatres and classrooms, which was developed as part of a £140m investment.
The Headington campus is relatively central, and the bus service to and from the city centre and other campuses is regular and reliable. There are a number of sports facilities, including a fully equipped gym and exercise rooms, as well as indoor and outdoor all-purpose courts and fields, and the Harcourt Hill Campus has a swimming pool.
The halls at Oxford Brookes vary in price, depending on whether you opt for en-suite or not, but all are of a good standard. The Brookes website offers full guidance on price and location, but the Halls experience is one I would definitely recommend. The campuses provide a sense of community, and are a place where you can combine study and social time.
What's the student experience like?
The student experience at Brookes has been great; there are plenty of opportunities to meet new people from across the student body, through intra-mural sports, societies, and the wide variety of events that happen every week.
There are nearly 100 societies that cover the widest possible variety of interests and activities where you can meet lots of new people.
The Oxford nightlife is vibrant; there are a host of nightclubs that have their own dedicated night for students, stretching from Monday through Friday. There are also a string of student friendly pubs and bars where you can go for a more low key outing. The environment is geared towards students, and the city embraces us whilst we are here.
Best thing about studying at your uni?
The best thing about studying at Brookes is being part of an academic community that includes support staff and the academic staff. This ecosystem supports students in every area of their academic life, and the collaboration between the parties allows students to ensure they have a say in how they are taught.
Students are treated and taught as young professionals, and the dynamics in the classroom are all about engagement and collaboration. The academic staffs always provide time for us to meet with them to discuss things, and we also have an academic advisor who stays with us throughout our programme. They can provide anything from general advice, providing references, and providing us with the information needed to choose the right modules.
Have you done any work-experience?
Yes, I took a year out to complete a work placement, which I did at IBM in London. The University pro-actively supports students during their search for a placement, and also whilst they carry out this placement. Working at IBM for a year was one of the greatest learning experiences of my life, and it was very exciting to see my development over the 12 months I spent there.
The key skills that I learnt at Brookes were easily transferrable to the workplace, and I do not doubt they had a profound influence on my successes whilst at IBM.
Placements are an excellent opportunity to experience working in an organisation, whilst still under the umbrella of academia. There are thousands of opportunities available to placement students across the UK, and the World!
What are your future career plans?
After spending some time in Australia this summer, I intend to start a Graduate scheme in Business Consulting at a technology company, starting in September of this year.
Any tips for students thinking about going to uni?
My first piece of advice would be to do research all of the options available to you; there are plenty out there, of which University is one. University is an amazing place to spend 3-4 years of your life, but it isn’t for everyone. If you are intent on going to university, I would suggest that you sit down and spend a significant amount of time researching universities that you are interested in attending, and looking at everything to do with that university. There are hundreds of excellent universities out there, but it is more than just about rankings or nightlife. Look at each course and university subjectively, evaluating the course on it’s own merit and characteristics, and not just where that university ranks in the Top 100.
Secondly, make sure you visit the universities you have applied to; when you step foot on the campus, you will know whether it is a place where you can live and study for the next few years. The feeling that you get will help you decide whether that university is the place for you.
Finally, leaving home can be hard, but it is also one of the best life experiences you will ever get. Don’t let the fear of leaving home stop you from attending the University that is right for you. If you feel that the University closest to you is the best fit, then that is great too.
For more advice about choosing a university course, check out the Study section of our Advice pages.