We’ve put together the perfect starter kit for all the business, marketing and hospitality students starting university this year. We also sit down with our Communications Director, Russell, as he talks us through his best tips and tricks to schooling your degree.
A laptop and a tablet in one, the Microsoft Surface Pro is built for convenience. With its 10.5 hour battery life and detachable keyboard, you get the power of a Windows laptop in a sleek 1.17kg device. It means it’s nice and lightweight for chucking over your shoulder and running to your seminar when your alarm doesn’t go off.
If you want to watch a webinar in a busy library or listen to music without annoying your flatmates, you’ll need a decent pair of headphones. They’ll also come in really handy for doing work on-the-go if you have a bit of a commute. Look out for wireless ones if you’re the sporty kind or noise-cancelling if you’re in shared accommodation.
Whether you need a quick fact check, want to double-check a spelling, or just fancy some relaxing background music while you work, a smart speaker is voice controlled making it super-easy to use. (Top tip: send voice notes to your flatmates on your way back from the library to make sure they’ve got the kettle on.)
The Microsoft 365 Home and Student bundle is an absolute must for anyone starting university, regardless of the degree. It includes all the classics - Word, Excel, and PowerPoint – so you can complete all kinds of assignments, take lecture notes and so much more! It’s compatible with Windows 10 or macOS systems.
The last thing you want is a security threat when you’ve got deadlines to hit. McAfee is super-efficient anti-virus software that offers total protection for PCs, Macs, Smartphones and Tablets. No matter what you’re studying, it’s important to keep your tech safe and secure from viruses.
In 1995, I moved to Preston and started my Journalism degree at the University of Central Lancashire. It taught me every twist and turn of the profession from shorthand to media law but the freedom to sniff out a story and report on it was mind-blowing.
As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a journalist. Before Netflix, the original House of Cards got me hooked on stories, "truth" and what’s known today as “spin”. Not long after starting high school, I persuaded my local newspaper, the Glossop Chronicle, to teach me basic reporting. Stints of work experience in Manchester’s radio and print newsrooms followed along with on-air news reporting for a hospital radio station.
Now maybe I abused that freedom at times, having too much fun in Madchester’s clubs but I wouldn’t change a thing. University gets you an academic qualification but you’re living on your own for the first time. Life lessons, like self-confidence and managing money – or managing without it – come thick and fast.
After graduating, I faced a career choice: work as a junior reporter on a supermarket industry magazine or take a maternity cover in the Tesco press office. I never thought I’d sell my soul into PR but it was worth an extra ten grand a year. Everyone’s got their price and that was mine.
So, I never made it as a journalist but, I’ve been lucky to work for companies that are genuinely newsworthy and regularly making headlines from the Manchester Airports Group to Asda.
Nowadays, I’m the Communications Director for AO, a company that’s bursting with stories just waiting to be found and told, which means my degree still comes into play every day.
Get as much work experience as possible. You’ll need the power of persuasion to be a reporter, so get practicing. Talk to every newsroom you can think of to get a break. You’ll learn the technical stuff in the classroom but you’ll only pick up instincts from being around journalists. The network you build will also help you in future. And it all looks great on a CV.
Read, watch and listen to the news. Not just the news you like – all news. From Radio 4 to the Sun to Huff Post. Think about what’s behind the stories. Why are they reported that way? Where did they come from? Question everything because all is not what it seems.
Watch the West Wing, the Thick of It and, if you can find it, the original House of Cards. Most TV might well be chewing gum for the eyes, but you’ll learn a tonne from these shows and be entertained in the process.