“My dream job? Working at Arsenal in a business role!”
We caught up with our second Battersea Scholar, who’s finished his Foundation Year at Surrey – and is starting his BSc in Business and Accounting.
How’s your Foundation Year been?
It’s been a lot more relaxed than I thought it was going to be. It’s been fun as well. I’ve managed to meet a lot of people from other courses. It’s also been a good stepping stone to the degree because it builds up the skills I need to acquire going into the first year of the BSc.
There’s been a focus on note taking and paying attention to detail, plus an introduction to the key topics I’ll be studying next year. The Foundation Year’s covered a lot of ground and I’m feeling confident about going into the degree.
What’s been the course highlight this year?
My first group presentation was a lot of fun. It was about leadership and I enjoyed that. When we presented it in front of the class, we were all prepared, rehearsed and confident. We came across very well.
Our last presentation didn’t go as well because we tried to do too much and we didn’t rehearse it adequately. I also stumbled over my words a bit. That was a definite learning experience. I’m normally quite a confident person when it comes to presenting in front of other people.
What’s been the social highlight?
Playing for the University football team was enjoyable. Sadly, I haven’t been to many football social events recently because I’ve been focused on course work. With the demands of studying, going to the gym and domestic chores, there hasn’t been much time for anything else.
I got a bit of a break at Christmas. That was a good time to be on campus with lots of events happening.
Another highlight of the last 12 months was visiting Baku in Azerbaijan to attend a Formula One race.
How did that happen?
Some of my friends are Formula One fans and they were going on holiday to see the race. I needed a bit of a break at the time, so I went along with them. It was a good experience.
What’s the key achievement you’re most proud of this year?
I put a lot of work into a research project I was passionate about. It examined how football teams trade players. It investigated how transfer values increase and what influences this. It was a fun topic. I haven’t had the grades back for that piece of work, but I hope I’ve done well. I put a lot of effort into it.
Are you looking forward to starting your degree?
Yes. I feel I’ll find a lot more people nearer to my own age. I’m also looking forward to moving into a shared house with several of my friends. It’s quite close to campus, Manor Park and Tescos, so I can walk to lectures, Surrey Sports Park and to do my food shopping. Next year should be a lot of fun.
What are you hoping to get out of the degree?
I’m hoping the processes of studying for a degree will boost my confidence in professional environments. I considered taking the apprenticeship route into the world of business, but I felt that taking a degree would open up more diverse areas of the sector and offer more career options.
I obviously want to acquire the academic and business knowledge on offer, but it’s also about building my confidence.
What are the key lessons that you’ve learned so far?
I’m embracing new technology. Chat GPT, for example, has been useful as a tool for introducing, summarising and simplifying business ideas and concepts. It’s a massively useful to support my studies at Surrey.
The discipline of learning new ideas, then trying to put them into practice is also an important lesson. If I attend a lecture about a new strategy, I’ll often take it away and create a scenario where I apply it to something I’m interested in. That way I get to conceptually test it on my terms, which means I understand it a lot better. That helps hammer the key points of any newly acquired knowledge into my head.
The last time we spoke, you talked about combining your passion for sports and business. Is that still the career plan?
My dream job would be to work at Arsenal Football Club in a business role. But I’m aware that working in top-flight football in any capacity is a highly competitive field. You’ve probably got to be in the top five per cent of people in the sector to secure that sort of role at a major club.
Perhaps a more realistic route into that world would be to secure a job at FC Porto in Portugal. They’re still a huge European club and I have connections there. Somebody has to do these high-powered jobs, and I have enough drive and ambition to secure that a goal.
You’re our second Battersea Scholar. What difference has that made this year?
The financial support has been invaluable. It’s not only ensured I can finish the Foundation Year, but it’s also meant I don’t have to work lots of additional hours in my part-time job to subsidise my studies. In fact, when things were tough on the course earlier this year, it meant I could quit the job and focus on my studies without having to worry about finances.
There’s also been the pastoral and mentoring support from everyone at the University who’s involved in the Battersea Scholarship Fund. If I’m having issues and I need to talk to someone, I know there are people in my corner.
Very sadly, we lost Battersea Scholarship Fund pioneer Mike Banfield earlier this year. What impact did he make on you?
He was one of the nicest people you could ever wish to meet. He didn’t have a bad word to say about anyone, and he was so positive about the Battersea Scholarship Fund and everyone involved in it. The world needs more people like him.
Are you enjoying life as our second Battersea Scholar?
Yes. I’ve met the first Battersea Scholar, Anwar, too. We attended a Scholars’ Lunch at the Surrey Weekender where we met lots of other scholarship recipients and supporters. Making connections and building networks with all these people is just one of the great opportunities that this scholarship represents. I’m not only going to lectures and making friends with other students. It gives me an additional opportunity to grow beyond that.
Are you looking forward to meeting out third Battersea Scholar in October?
Yes. I appreciate the support everyone involved with the Battersea Scholarship Fund has given me on this journey as I try to get through university. I’d struggle to do it on my own. So meeting our new Battersea Scholar and offering that sort of support to them is important to me.
Learn more about our Battersea Scholarship Fund.