Case study

Bisola Popoola

When researching which universities I might want to go to, I shortlisted three places and UCA stood out to me from the prospectus. Once I’d visited the Epsom campus, I was very keen to join.

My favourite memories of the course were the people and the multiple projects we took part in. These taught me so much about independence and self-confidence and today, I’m super comfortable speaking to anybody - my presentations were definitely great practice for this. I’m still in contact with quite a few of the amazing, talented people from my course, which is great.

It wasn’t always plain sailing. I actually struggled finding my 2nd year work placement role. I remember asking our Course Leader to have a quick chat to try and help me find a way through it. She put me in touch with the HR Manager at a Fashion PR Agency called Modus Publicity (at the time) and I got a three-month placement that carried on through the summer for 6 months. I was then asked to return for a Graduate Placement and this led to my first job in PR. I also had an internship at United Colors of Benetton during the course.

There’s no doubt that we gained a strong insight into the fashion industry through guest speakers and lectures before working in the industry but the solo and group presentations had a real impact on my career. I was very shy to begin with, and this practice helped me to build my confidence and share creative ideas within a team and also working with tight timings and deadlines.

Working in PR, I have to create presentations and present to a wide variety of people at different levels of seniority. Also, everything I do is very time-sensitive so I am set, or have to set myself, deadlines that I have to stick to. Learning to approach things in a professional manner has been an important skill learned whilst on the course.  

My final year project was based on creating a cultural, interactive experience for people interested in making their own garments. I'm actually still thinking about starting my own business one day, say in the next 4-5 years. I learnt that a load of things go into starting your own business and the business plan is very important! It seems as though it takes a lot of hard work and trial and error. I’ve gained the understanding that your first business may fail, and whether the risk is worth taking, however, I do believe if anything is done properly, without trying to cut corners, it can work.

By working in the industry straight out of UCA, I’m now well on the way to being able to start my own company.