University Life- Isabela

Business, Isabela

University is all about academic knowledge! Wrong!

University life is about you developing as an individual more than anything. The aim is after four years to become not only a graduate, but a responsible, committed and reliable person. Regardless of how much you think you will struggle, maturity will come along the way.

University work:

Part of your degree might include individual reports and some will be the result of teamwork. In unfortunate cases, it can be a learning curve that helps you to choose your co-workers carefully next time. Not everyone’s style of work is compatible, so you might encounter arguments, become irritated with peers, unhappy and encounter stressful situations. This is where planning becomes key, because not everyone will attend all meetings. You will be more concerned about the project than others and even in my case, end up doing someone else’s work. You will realise further on that other students’ perceptions of Uni life and their degree differs massively from yours. Don’t be afraid, lecturers will read every single student and when you will thrive, others will fall.


The majority of the students will opt to go into halls in their first year. It offers safety and convenience for the newcomers, the international students or the ones moving away from other cities around the country, as well as parents’ peace of mind. I chose to commute from a close village for the first 2 years of my degree and halfway through my placement. For personal reasons, it was convenient initially, but after the first year, the strain of getting up very early in the morning coupled with the many sweaty runs for the bus meant my enthusiasm had worn off. However, I had many friends who found commuting in their cars quite enjoyable and preferred it that way.

Life at university:

Three years at University will become a very complex journey. You will meet new people, make new friends, swap friends, dump friends but you will always look back to great times you might never live again. As long as you have fun consciously and do not go overboard to miss consecutive lectures and deadlines you will be fine. Weekends are to have fun, enjoy them as three years will fly by before you know it!

Choose right:

Choosing the right University is a big decision for each and every student. The truth is, the University goes hand in hand with the degree you want to do and they will always complement each other. Be it a single honours course or a joint honours course (JHS) you get full support from the staff. Think well in advance if you want to combine two subjects because as weird as the combination might be, in most cases, you can do it. And if it goes wrong, don’t worry, everything in life is a learning curve, you can drop or change the subject after the first year.

Diversity at Derby:

There are students coming from all over the world to study at Derby, so you’ll be able to meet individuals with other cultures and maybe even learn new languages. Everyone’s new so that will make the process easier and be able to interact without being too shy to introduce yourself. The more open you are, the easier it will be to adapt to the new environment and integrate yourself amongst the other new students or ‘freshers’ in Uni terms. Speaking of ‘freshers’ as a student, you have discounts through your University cards, stores like Topman, Topshop, New Look and others will give you discounted rates for essentials like clothes, food and even haircuts!

But remember:

On the other side, as a new student, you are bound to forget that you will have stuff to read, homework to do and other similar things in advance of your lecture so make sure you check your e-mails! Every two days at the least, but even before you start a new game of Candy Crush or check Facebook a million times and still no updates, make a note – Unimail check!

University is not for granted, so make the most of it! Your degree is really important but don’t waste your time sleeping forever, you can gain invaluable experience while studying! Get involved with the Students’ Union and do volunteering to fundraise for charity causes. Otherwise, you can apply to do the Futures’ Award and participate in projects to gain an extra qualification to be put on your HEAR certificate at graduation or use as a talking point at interviews! So many things to do, you can also register to work through the Student Employment Agency for some extra money in your pocket. Casual vacancies come up all the time; so again, check your e-mails so you can grab it first!



Useful Tips- Isabela

Business, Isabela

If I could give one very important tip to all prospective students would be: ask!ask!ask! And carry on until someone responds because everyone knows something at Derby University. Here’s some examples:

1st year – Panic arises because assignments/coursework are due and referencing is still an issue or IT skills needed. University of Derby has a small department in the Ground floor of the University who can help with that, it’s called the Study Skills Office.

2nd year – You’ve improved a lot but the search for a placement is never ending and no results by December. Is it your CV? Is it your nerves at the interview? Why not visit the Careers and Employment Service to see an Employability Advisor? Furthermore, Derby Uni has the employability service, our own little Employability and Enterprise Hub located in the Atrium so it’s right there for you.

3rd year – Placement was ace, you would have stayed if you could. Or maybe you got a taste of what you don’t want to do. Or maybe you’ve turned into an entrepreneur, you want to work for yourself. Now you see all the marketing projects with fresh eyes, it all makes complete sense so you’re ready to roll – 1 st class degree here we come!



Presentations at University

Business, Isabela

First and foremost, let’s talk about the format. Mostly everyone uses PowerPoint (yes the old PowerPoint) for creating presentations. Depending on the subject, usually for Business themes and similar projects putting images/pictures in or links to Youtube to make it more interesting and modern. Some other students also try the Prezi online application which is useful for adding collages to presentations. Although I’ve never used it personally, I have come across presentations which looked amazing through Prezi. The other interesting thing about Prezi is that it is very interactive and has effects to keep the audience engaged.

Now, to the nitty gritty of presentations. In general, people run away from delivering presentations for of two main reasons: lack of confidence which leads to panic and group work.

Let’s start with the latter and elaborate. Teamwork is different from groupwork. Groupwork will be what you do most of the times in class, exchanging ideas and opinions and working together to finish a certain task. The same applies to teamwork but it’s more conclusive, because in order to become a team you have to blend together so the finished result is high quality work and everyone has contributed effectively. The issues arising with groupwork is that not all of us are compatible, some will want to lead, some will be unreliable, some will end up doing more work than others and so everything will be part of a learning curve. However, if everyone puts in the same effort, the grades will reflect the hard work and you will become an ace team!

The 5 most important tips I can recommend for presentations are:

  1. Prepare well in advance: make sure to rehearse the presentation with the team at least 3 times. This helps you gain more confidence as well as being able to know if you go over the time. Most presentations are timed for about 10-15 minutes so you should stick within that time limit, rather than go over and not be able to say important information.
  2. Think of a confident start to the presentation – the first few words always make an impact, so you can engage the audience from the beginning because otherwise they will be bored straightaway and they will pay less attention to the rest of the presentation.
  3. Make the transition between everyone’s parts as swift as possible so everyone gets to say their part without having an awkward silent break in between.
  4. If you feel better have cards to help you while presenting. Some lecturers allow it but do not come with an A4 piece of paper as it’s more likely you’ll lose your way trying to read off the paper. The cards should contain small structured sentences just to help you remember key facts.
  5. Know your stuff! It’s the best starting point to any presentation to understand the subject. Research well around it and prepare for any possible questions. Then, you will be more relaxed and it will come across during your presentation!

Here’s some further information to make you more comfortable before your presentations:


Further tips in regards to how to structure a presentation:

  • Don’t use more slides than needed. You will notice in time that slides need to be concise and short, instead of wasting time using too many transitions.
  • If you can, use visual imagery such as photos, graphs and charts which show that you have made some research around the subject.
  • Do not overload the slide – the content shouldn’t be too little nor too much, just enough to make your point.
  • Key rule: ensure your presentation can run on any computer. Prepare to have compatibility issues, take a memory stick with you as well as sending it off to your e-mail.
  • Use simple fonts rather than becoming overwhelming so everyone from all over the room is able to read it. On the other hand, use contrasting colours for text and background so it’s easy to read but not too striking. Work on the balance of colours before the final draft of the presentation.

I hope these tips will help you with your future presentations!





Let’s talk Marketing!

Business, Isabela

As prospective students, you all might have different ideas about what marketing means and why you want to study it. You will probably be even more surprised to find out through your degree that marketing hasn’t got a clear definition; it’s described in many ways by a variety of theorists who have studied its aspects and adapted the theory according to the context.

Marketing is more complex than anyone would think, myself included. The degree is fascinating and brings the geek out in me! So why am I writing this blog post about marketing as you are all going to learn about it anyway in your courses?

Well, sometimes, people want to know more details about their course, in order to become more enthusiastic or disappointed in the worse cases. The main reason why I want to talk about it is because I can relate from a student perspective. There are three main things that I feel you need to know or be interested about:

  1. Creativity – You don’t have to be the best at art or design to study or do marketing but you need to be able to spot the difference between a bland presentation and vibrant packaging that makes you buy the product even if you don’t need it.
  2. Vision – Understand the market and the values of the product or service, how would consumers see it and why should they buy it?
  3. Communication – Some of us are born leaders, some are team workers and some of us are the geniuses in the company that think of the stuff other people have missed. We all fall into a category but you probably don’t know it yet.

I hope it’s all starting to sound exciting because that’s what I was hoping for when I started writing!

I’ve heard someone say recently marketing is not glamorous but hard work and I disagree completely! Surely there is no particular job in the world that doesn’t involve some kind of work, it might seem more glamorous than others but that’s probably due to peoples’ opinions and some marketing involved.

Marketing can be applied to almost anything and everything, from toilet roll to America’s Next Top Model because they all need some kind of connections to make themselves known. Some will be on the supermarket shelves and others in magazines. For me, marketing is about getting out there, even if you work for a catering company, electricity company, automobile company or in the clothing industry it doesn’t matter. You are the front face that customers want to see.

Surely Facebook and Twitter are the most used social media sites for our generation but imagine how many companies use them to promote their business and increase sales. It might not seem straightforward but it’s true, customer service has moved nowadays into the online era. We, as Marketeers need to move at the same speed with the technology and that’s the best bit about the job. We never stand still and do boring jobs but we move along and have fun with the times!

So, can you see now why Marketing hasn’t got a definition? #coolMarketeers


Societies and how to get involved

Business, Isabela

Before I finished my placement, I was asked by the committee board of the Business and Entrepreneurial Society if I’d like to join them as the Treasurer. All the students leading the Society were going on internships and placement during summer and there was no one to take over the following term. It sounded like a great idea and so I joined as the Treasurer.

Every Society has to start up with the main three board members in order to exist, Society President, Secretary and Treasurer. Each role is varied from each other. The President will make sure to look after the members and probably be involved 90% in the creative side, trying to bring the members ideas to life. The Secretary will ensure that there is sufficient assistance for the President and be the middle man between the members and committee where necessary as well as President’s right hand. In comparison, the Treasurer will look after the financial side, and ensure that the Society account is looked after. For example, when students join the Societies, the top-up fee goes into an account, which will provide funding for any activities members would like to happen.

Usually in Freshers’ Week, most of the Societies have a stand where they ‘sell’ themselves. You are able to browse and see what Society interest you most. Then, once you have paid the Society fee of £7 for the whole year, you can just pay the top up fee and join any other Societies you want. This way, you can pick and choose who you want to join, i.e. our Society – The Business and Entrepreneurial Society and the DJ & Mix Society.

Useful facts to know about joining a Society:

  1. It’s more useful than you think – by joining a Society you’re not only enhancing your free time by doing fun stuff but also you’re relaxing your brain to learn and study better. By joining a more academic focused society – i.e The Business and Entrepreneurial Society, you will do activities centred around work experience so you can establish contacts and network constantly.
  2. The dates when you can join a Society are between September and June within an academic year, although most students will make their decision during the Fresher’s Fair.
  3. You have the opportunity to set up your own Society if you wish so. The Students’ Union support any new Societies bearing in mind you adhere to their policies and regulations in regards to Society set-up purposes.

My personal advice would be to take as much advantage of the Fresher’s Fair as possible. Not only will the Societies will be pitching to you, but you will get a better idea of what suits you best, and instead of spending your student loan on nights out, try to spare some money to have fun with new people and enjoy your time at Uni. Do not forget, there’s also the Refreshers’ Fair for when you come back for your second semester in January with freebies and other things available. You might drop out after the first year, a lot of things change and maybe you want to join a new Society, nothing stops you, it’s entirely up to you. Also, from my point of view, you could easily join some sports Societies which will feel like going to the gym and keeping fit for less than the gym price. Alternatively, if the gym is your favourite, we have a Gym on site at Kedleston Road, so do enquire for the prices, they will be discounted for our students.

If you want to find out more information about the Students’ Union and the Societies before coming to University of Derby have a look at the link below:

There’s also the Facebook Page for the Students’ Union if you want to have a look, we have had our Graduation Ceremonies lately and pictures are everywhere, this might be you in three years’ time!


My journey to Derby University

Business, Isabela

Coming to University can be for some a daunting experience, it certainly was for me! A lot of Universities were offering courses in Marketing but something drew me to the University of Derby. The big glass building inspired trust, reliability and the sense of modernism which were the main characteristics I wanted in my University of choice.

I can still remember my first day at Derby, enrolling as a first year student, butterflies in my tummy and not really sure what to expect. But as soon as I entered the classroom, a sense of certainty took over, the lecturers were relaxed, and we were reminded that we are “here to have fun as well as studying” which have helped the three years to fly by. One things for certain – I’ve never regretted choosing Derby.

When I chose Marketing and Advertising, my future career was clear – a job in Public Relations. So far, so good, by choosing similar subjects I’ve ensured that I’m building a strong foundation to get to the career I want. Though I wasn’t studying a specific PR course, I have absolutely loved my degree!

Business degrees are not simple business, but you are shown all sides to a Business in your first year, you initiate yourself in projects and report to understand Marketing and Advertising in your second year and in your third year, you go full out.  Third year scares everyone, but actually is your chance to prove how much you’ve learned and come out a keen apprentice ready to take on any Marketing job, because Derby University isn’t just a learning opportunity but a skills machine.

One particular thing that attracted me to Derby was the placement option within my degree, which I found enticing and immensely useful. The job market is changing quickly and the more skilled you are the quicker you advance. The placement means that between second and third year you go out in the marketplace and work for 10 months or more to gain the skills you need and see what are your best abilities. However when you come back into third year you’re a changed person. Not only do you know a lot more but you can do a lot more. The best thing of all though is it all reflects in your assignments- when it counts the most out of the whole degree.


Applicant Day Review!

Business, Isabela

I’ve really enjoyed my time here at Derby and so when I was asked to help with the applicant day, I was more than happy! For me this represented a great opportunity to meet prospective students coming from all over the country, giving me an opportunity to talk to them about life at Derby and my experiences here.

The Kedleston Road campus quickly filled up with people from 9am onwards, luckily there was no sign of snow in Derby as this would have been tricky! One of the things I love is the atmosphere in the Atrium, and it was great watching the reaction of our guests as they walked in to this great space.

isabela area

As a subject ambassador, my role was to give an insight to prospective students on what life is like at Derby, not just from the academic side but also about living and working in Derby. Luckily, this all comes quite naturally to me as my experiences here have been great. I could have carried on all day…

Both prospective students and their guests seemed to be full of questions which was great. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions I encountered…

  1. For some social life was a top priority so let’s elaborate on that. It’s essential that you have some free time outside your studies to relax and have fun with your friends. Derby is a vibrant city with a lot of places to eat, to party and to chill after a long week. In my opinion Derby gets 10/10 on this one.
  2. Accommodation comes up next, and this is another area that Derby does well in. In order to secure a place in the Halls for your first year at least, you have to apply early. As soon as you are confirmed get in touch with Student Living to secure a place. Derby is well known for having great quality student accomodation across the city. The applicant day is perfect opportunity to take a tour around some of your accomodation options.
  3. The cost of living worries everyone when coming to University. I cannot compare the cost of living with other cities because I’ve only lived in Derby but personally I find it a very affordable place to live (if you’re sensible!). There are a lot of offers and discounts available so you can eat out every so often without breaking the bank.
  4. For some, the range of societies avaiable counts towards the final decision. Luckily, we’ve got a great Students’ Union and so if your desired society doesn’t exist, why not start your own?! As long as you have three representatives you can start your own Society.
  5. Linked with cost of living, I was also asked about job opportunities during your course and following graduation. Again this is an area where you are very much in control, but the university has a great careers service and a student employment agency which is crucial for some!

Don’t forget, the next open day is on Saturday 28th of February 2015! And also keep an eye out for the next Applicant Day – if you haven’t booked a place do it now!


My name is Isabela!

Business, Isabela


I’m Isabella and I’m in my third year studying a degree in Marketing and Advertising Management.

My course is based at the Kedleston Road site, which is in close walking distance to Derby city centre. Derby is a vibrant city with plenty of things to do and places to see, such as the Quad, iPro Stadium and the soon to be opened Derby Arena.

Going to University can mean a lot of things to a lot of students, for some its about the pursuit of knowledge, or it could be the desire to have a successful career or possibly the social side of things, for many its all three. Whatever you’re after, it’s a life changing experience that will stay with you forever!

The courses on offer at Derby are extensive and no matter what you study, there’s always support if you need it. Lecturers are always available to talk to as well as your friends around you.

As an ambassador myself, I am happy to talk about my experiences and answer any questions you might have about coming here. Keep an eye on this blog for about my experiences here at Derby.


Hello from Sakina!

Business, Sakina O
Sakina O

Sakina O – Business student


I’m Sakina and I’m in my second year of a Joint Honours degree, studying Business Management and Maths.

I’m 35, a ‘mature’ student and mum to Daniel, aged 7 and Hannah aged 5. Just because I’m a little (ok, a lot!) older than some students, that doesn’t stop me having fun with everyone and really getting the most out of my time at uni.

I’m based at the Kedleston Road campus in Derby which is the main campus. Derby itself is a brilliant city that is very student friendly and has something for everyone, regardless of you taste in music or entertainment.

I was terrified when I returned to education that people would feel that I was too old and that I wouldn’t fit in with the other, younger students. My experience was totally the opposite and everyone was so welcoming and I’ve made some great friends in my time here who I know will be friends for life. Derby is a great (and very friendly!) place to learn, the lecturers really take the time to get to know you and their doors are always open should you need any extra help or advice.

Whatever you might be experiencing at uni, I can guarantee that another student will have felt exactly the same as you so please get in touch with me if you have any questions or concerns about your studies or life at university.

You can get in contact with me by emailing