Tag Archives: business

“My business wouldn’t have taken off without Birkbeck’s Pioneer programme”

The Pioneer 1.0 programme is the springboard for entrepreneurially minded students to develop their skills and business ideas. In this blog, Kate Strivens, winner of ‘Best Business Pitch’ in the recent Pioneer Awards and Birkbeck graduate, tells the story of how her business idea came about and her ambitions for the future.

Kate Strivens

Back in 2019, as an avid cyclist who cycled every day to work, Kate was growing increasingly frustrated with how damaged her hair was getting by wearing a helmet. She trawled the internet for helmets designed for adults with afro hair but to no avail. This led her to dreaming up her business idea in early 2020, during the first COVID-19 lockdown, of designing a helmet that provides safety to the cyclist and protection for afro hair.

Kate first heard about Birkbeck’s Pioneer 1.0 programme in early 2020, through a recommendation from a friend. Having already graduated from Birkbeck’s MSc Global Environmental Politics and Policy programme in 2019, she was pleased to find out that it wasn’t too late for her to enrol, as the course accepts recent graduates as well as current students.

Kate set out on the course, and cites it as being the reason for her taking her business idea seriously. “Initially, enrolling on the Pioneer programme was just for fun. I didn’t really see my business idea as being something I would properly pursue. However, not long after I started the course, I began to realise it had the potential to be a feasible and viable business. What held me back initially was my imposter syndrome. If I could give advice to others in my position, it would be to believe in yourself and your idea. It’s just crazy I’ve now won a Pioneer Award, I’m still in shock!”

Having completed the Pioneer programme, Kate is now balancing developing her business and working full-time in Sierra Leone, as a Business Development Manager for Plan International, a development and humanitarian organization that advances children’s rights and equality for girls. It is a world away from her upbringing in rural Wales, “I grew up on a farm in North Wales and when it came to choosing a university, I wanted to get as far away as possible, so I moved to London to study. My passion for travelling from a young age has now meant I work abroad as much as I can – I find different cultures and languages fascinating.”

Kate is currently at the prototyping stage and is spending time conducting market research. She says, “The recent headlines in the news about Fina, the water sports world governing body, rejecting the use of a swimming cap designed for afro hair at competition level has really brought the conversations around sport and afro hair to the fore. I find it so motivating that my invention will be helping others and I can’t wait for my helmets to come to life over the next few months.”

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Department of Management Welcomes Professor Vijay Pereira for first Meet the Editor Session

The Senior Associate Editor for the Journal of Business Research and Global Real Impact Editor for the Journal of Knowledge Management joined the Department for a virtual presentation on how to publish in top management journals.

Meet-the-Editor Sessions are free for anyone to join.

Screenshot of the group meeting for the Meet the Editor session

Dr Muthu De Silva (top left) and Dr Geoff Walters (top right) introduced this presentation by Professor Vijay Pereira (bottom left).

Dr Muthu De Silva, Director of Research and session chair opened the discussion by sharing the objective of the Meet the Editor series: to motivate and support our community of excellent scholars to thrive in research, during this difficult time.

While we are all missing face to face contact with colleagues across Birkbeck and beyond, it has to be said that lockdown has presented opportunities to be more creative and geographically ambitious with events in the School of Business, Economics and Informatics, as Dr Geoff Walters, Executive Dean reminded the audience during the welcome speech. Around fifty researchers in the field of Management tuned in to this online talk by Professor Vijay Pereira of NEOMA Business School, France, designed to provide greater insight into the types of research that top management journals are looking to publish.

As Senior Associate Editor for the Journal of Business Research and Global Real Impact Editor for the Journal of Knowledge Management, as well as a member of the editorial board for a number of other journals (e.g. Journal of Management Studies), Professor Pereira has extensive knowledge of prestigious publications, commenting on the ‘outside the box’ thinking that he brings to academia and the journals on which he works.

In this session, Professor Pereira provided a detailed introduction to the ethos and outlook of the Journal of Business Research and the Journal of Knowledge Management, along with his advice for those looking to publish in these journals.

Journal of Business Research

The Journal of Business Research (JoBR) is a UK ABS 3* and ABDC ‘A’ journal. Firstly, Professor Pereira highlights the importance of understanding the scope of the journal in which you wish to publish. In the case of JoBR, in addition to the theoretical rigour, the journal aids the application of empirical research to practical situations and theoretical findings to the reality of the business world. This practical underpinning is reflected by JoBR’s broad target audience, which includes executives alongside scholars and researchers.

JoBR has a somewhat unique organisational structure, with two Editors-in-Chief, three to four Deputy Editors-in-Chief, five Special Issue Editors and 65 Associate Editors covering sixteen discipline areas – this number is large but unsurprising considering that JoBR receives 4,500 -5,000 submissions a year! While publication is competitive, the journal’s 6% acceptance rate represents a significant number of papers, so Professor Pereira warns not to be discouraged from applying.

There are three key points to consider when submitting to JoBR:

  1. The quality of the theory
  2. Robust data or concepts
  3. Real-world implications for business or management situations

There are also three key points to consider in terms of the journal’s positioning:

  1. JoBR is international in scope, looking for work from new contexts and new scholars and continuing to grow globally
  2. The journal has moved from being marketing focused to being interdisciplinary covering a wider range of management disciplines, such as international business and innovation
  3. JoBR has a key focus on impact – it is the number one cited marketing journal according to Google Scholar’s H Index

Keeping the three I’s of international, interdisciplinary and impactful in scope is key for researchers submitting to this journal.

Journal of Knowledge Management

In the second part of this presentation, Professor Pereira discussed the Journal of Knowledge Management, a leading journal in this field with an ABS 2* and ABDC ‘A’ rating.

To Professor Pereira’s knowledge, the Journal of Knowledge Management is the first journal to have a Global Real Impact Editor and has also recently appointed Regional Real Impact Editors.

Putting impact at the front and centre of the work it looks to publish, the Journal of Knowledge Management invites pieces by scholars, academics and individuals from industry. It is similarly international in scope, with articles from China, India, Brazil, France and the UK in the pipeline. The journal looks to maximise the diversity of its output without compromising on quality, and a focus on impact from the beginning of the process enables it to do this.

A focus on the practical impact and applicability of research is therefore key when submitting to this journal.

We would like to thank Professor Pereira for his time and for an insightful and informative start to our Meet the Editor Series. All are welcome to join us for our upcoming Meet the Editor events:

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Building your personal brand

Did you know that you have just seven seconds to make a first impression? William Richards reflects on this insightful Birkbeck Futures event and the importance of honing your personal brand.

Have you ever thought about your personal brand?

On Monday 8 February, Birkbeck students were treated to a specialist talk on ‘Personal Branding’ by Jenna Davies, Employability Consultant in the Birkbeck Futures team.

The talk sought to enhance students’ understanding of their individuality and their personal mark, whether in their studies or beyond. It can often be hard to define our own individual strengths and weaknesses, especially when such topics can be difficult to discuss. While we may not typically think of ourselves as ‘brands’, it can be eye-opening to do so!

By giving ourselves our own personal brand, Jenna explained that students will be able to make themselves more easily understood and more successful within a pitching environment.

Recent studies have shown that humans will make a first impression on someone within the first seven seconds of introducing themselves. By making the most of these precious moments, we can dramatically affect others’ understanding of who we are and what we stand for.

We are each unique beings with unique strengths and it’s never too late to celebrate and uplift our own individualities. What are the unique selling points that could help you stand out to employers or collaborators? Let us know and help inspire others in the comments below.

A big thank you to Jenna and all of those who made Monday’s session a success.

Birkbeck Futures is Birkbeck’s own in-house career support team. If you would like to learn more about employability opportunities or are looking to enhance your presence on platform such as LinkedIn, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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Work, worklessness and wellbeing – COVID19 and beyond

Dr Gail Kinman, Visiting Professor of Occupational Health Psychology introduces a series of webinars to support organisations and their employees through the COVID19 pandemic and beyond.

The Covid19 pandemic is having a major impact on the way that we live, and how and where we work. For many people, it has been a time of setbacks and loss as businesses close, redundancy looms, and the effects of inequalities become ever more apparent. The post-pandemic future is uncertain, and little is yet known about its long-term implications for individuals and organisations. It is therefore crucial to help organisations and individuals maintain health and wellbeing during the pandemic and beyond and to encourage policy makers to consider how to meet the key challenges they are facing.

Public Health England have commissioned a series of seven webinars and associated resources to support organisations and employees by providing practical guidance on key issues of concern during these challenging times. With the Society of Occupational Health, I have been commissioned to organise these webinars and prepare follow-up briefings. The project is guided by a steering group that includes leading experts and employers’ organisations.

The webinars are free of charge and designed to support employers and employees from businesses large and small; professionals working in health and social care, public health, occupational health, and human resources; the community and voluntary sector; and policy makers.  The webinars are, however, open to everyone who has an interest in work and wellbeing. We have attracted a wide range of high-profile speakers from organisations such as MIND, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, Business in the Community, the British Psychological Society, the Health and Safety Executive, the Centre for Better Ageing and the Carnegie Trust and there will also be presentations from leading academics working in the field of work and wellbeing.

Upcoming webinars:

  • 28 January 2021 (2 – 3.30 pm) Refreshing your approach to workplace diversity and inclusion post 2020
  • 4 February 2021 (2 – 4pm) Managing job insecurity and creating better quality work
  • 11 February 2021 (2 – 4pm) Managing stress, burnout and fatigue in health and social care
  • 24 February 2021 (2 – 4pm) Promoting workplace health and wellbeing during the pandemic and beyond
  • 3 March 2021 (2 – 4pm) Developing a COVID-secure health and wellbeing strategy
  • 10 March 2021 (2 – 4pm) Managing change – from restricting and redundancy to implementing home working.

Our first webinar, ‘Support for business to build back better: the benefits of age diversity’ was held on 21 January, attracting around 120 people from a range of sectors and with very positive feedback from attendees. Watch a video recording of the event on YouTube.

We look forward to seeing you at the forthcoming webinars. More information on each webinar and booking can be found on the Society of Occupational Medicine website.

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