Alex Gnyla, a young entrepreneur in the first stages of his career, speaks of his experiences as a recent graduate starting up a new business, looking to get University students involved in his venture.
Prime Minister Theresa May has repeatedly used the words ‘strong and stable’ in order to define what this country needs in terms of leadership following June’s general election. During my final year at the University of Leeds studying Physics, my nearest and dearest were keen to reinforce those words to me, albeit in a different set of circumstances.
When starting the journey of higher education, there is a cloud of pressure that surrounds each student, the little voice inside their heads telling them that without completing a course with a 2:1 or becoming experts in their given discipline, they will be ill-equipped to compete with their ‘Oxbridge’ counterparts following graduation. However, I believe that the next generation of graduates are being inspired by the entrepreneurial nature of some of the world’s most successful business gurus in the way they approach their professional lives. There is no longer a set pathway to rise up the ranks, earn money in equal upward increments and maintain a healthy work and leisure life balance.
In fact, with the integration of technology into every aspect of our lives, being able to work on-the-go and absorb key skills by meeting and greeting has created what I like to call the ‘hybrid graduate’. As a student graduating in a degree which taught me such a range of skills and provided me with vast general knowledge, I wanted to take a step back in order to build a career strategy which would allow me to fulfil my full entrepreneurial nature, have flexible working hours and merge my passion to meet new people with my technological know-how.
Many students feel as though a three year degree signals the perfect time for them to go travelling around the world to ‘find themselves’. I felt ready and raring to use my initiative and recent position at University to take advantage of a market opportunity. Launching Redbrick Bills gave me the freedom to explore what sort of work structure I am suited to, as well as giving me time to transition from academia to work in my own time. Not everyone is lucky to be able to have a good idea and implement it into a full-fledged business, something I could not have done without support from key individuals in my life.
From my experiences, I have learnt that perseverance is the key to being successful and fulfilling potential. If an idea exists that can help people improve their livelihood, there will always be a place for it, but only if you work hard and learn from any mistakes. Everyone will have their own path to find a career that not only pays the bills, but something that they can enjoy and feel as though they are making a real difference to the world around them.
Despite the Internet being so vast with opportunities, it is essential to not overlook the concept of a ‘little black book’, as you never know who is going to be able to help you, with subsequently you helping them in personal and professional matters. Spending some time completing work experience, doing an internship and going out on your own to explore what you enjoy will all add life experience and value not only to you as a person, but as a graduate who has the professional pedigree to succeed. At the end of the day, you must always remember that, whether you are working solo or as part of a team, always recognise your value and believe that things will work out in the end.
Alex Gnyla is a former University of Leeds student who graduated in 2014 with a physics degree. Following his higher education, he founded Redbrick Bills, a student bills management service that looks to end the hassle of splitting with housemates in order to fairly and transparently split bills equally across the given household.