Kiera’s grown the Business Society from one to 50 in one semester – talk about gaining interest! We took stock about her share in her society’s story.
In the job market, it’s not enough to just have a degree, you need to have interests. Employers want to know how you’re different.
I’m in my fourth year studying marketing, and when I was on my placement, I decided I wanted to get experience in management. I thought running a Uni society would be a great way to do that, since you get the chance to manage people who are a similar age – whereas in a workplace setting you don’t walk into a management position straight away.
That means that when the ex-chair directly messaged me and encouraged me to run, I did! Their committee hadn’t been full, she hadn’t had the chance to grow the society. She said she wanted me to do what she hadn’t been able to do.
For our main project, we organised collection boxes for Salford Foodbank, just before Christmas. We were focused on Corporate Social Responsibility, an essential part to any business. We contributed to Salford Foodbank at the loneliest time of year.
Initially I contacted the Foodbank and asked – what do you need? We wanted to make getting food donations a community responsibility. We brought cardboard boxes in, decorated them in wrapping paper, and dotted them around campus. Each person was in charge of one box. We had them in the library, the Students’ Union, Lady Hale, Maxwell, Media City, and New Adelphi.
The next challenge was to get people to join the society. We announced our Welcome event on Blackboard and did shout outs in core business modules. As it turned out, loads of people wanted to join!
A big one is communication, particularly adapting your communication style to different people. I’ve learned that not everyone digests information in the same way.
Some people prefer you to tell them things directly – “here are the three things we’re doing next week!” – whereas others are more willing to go with the flow and get involved with whatever.
Another thing I’ve learned is time management and organisation. It’s making sure every meeting we have is mapped out – every weekly meeting has a different focus – we might be working one week on Corporate Social Responsibility, another on how to make ourselves more employable.
A final skill I’ve gained is working with targets. We set three targets for the year, one objective per semester. For the first semester, it was getting 20 members. We smashed that – we have over 50! Our objective this term is to help run the Business Ball and improve student engagement. Our final target is to make the society sustainable. Our committee is all final year students we want to make sure that when we graduate this society stays for years to come.
I was starting the society up again, so I went on my own to training. I was really worried that I'd taken on too much of a challenge, but the training opened my eyes to the endless possibilities of what we can do as a society and the support you have from staff at the student union.
It was all useful stuff – that volunteering portal stuff, learning to reflect on volunteering. The diversity training too. It’s stuff you don’t think about – accessibility. For example, we were thinking about running a meeting in the lounge in the café, but of course that’s not wheelchair accessible. From a committee perspective you need to consider these things, to have a full perspective.
Aside from improving your CV, it’s fun, and it’s a chance to give back! We’re an academic society, but we make sure the society isn’t just ‘more work’. Our social officer has organised a visit to the crystal maze for this semester. With stuff like the Salford Food Bank project it’s a chance to give back.
Kiera has restarted the business society at the last minute in September after it was dead and has done amazingly well balancing it with her studies. They’ve now got over 50 members, work for some great causes, and are a testament to what can be achieved through student-led academic societies.
We will be meeting Mondays and Thursdays 3-4pm in the North Side of University House. Mondays we are in ‘That End’, and Thursdays in the Pillars.
Membership is £5 for the academic year and the money goes towards activities we get involved with such as transport to businesses for instance for workshops. Become a member here and Like us on Facebook for updates.
If you have any additional questions you can also email me on K.Brown5@edu.salford.ac.uk or the business society email UOSBusinessSociety@gmail.com
Wednesday 12th February 2020