Business School Freshers Week 2019

I’ve spoken a fair bit about Freshers week in my blogs, but never intensely on the activities my department (The Business School) put on for my cohort. If you’re a new student reading this blog, beware everyone’s Freshers is different, and the next cohort’s Freshers week activities for the Business School may be very different. Disclaimers out the way, time to get into my first week at Edge Hill.

Day one of the week was arguably the most jam-packed. The entire Business School cohort converged on the Wilson lecture theatre for an introduction to the school, key members of the department, and other important things tied to being a Business School student at Edge Hill. From the introduction lecture, I had a smaller lecture focused on my specific degree in one of the rooms of the Business School. The smaller lecture had activities for people to mix and begin to create friendships. Yes there were icebreakers but they were enjoyable ones, well, as enjoyable as an icebreaker can be.

Introductions over with, the whole cohort came together again for the delivery of the week’s task. The entire cohort was split up into groups. Each team had the same task, create a new business for the Ormskirk area. Groups could talk, throw ideas around, get a basis on everything, before heading home for the night. It was a good way to meet new people, and I know several people who formed lasting friendships through the task.

Tuesday to Thursday was centred around working on our businesses, my group came up with an escape room. On the Thursday we presented the ideas to a panel of judges, this took place in the Business School foyer for about an hour, followed by a lunch break and big awards ceremony in the Wilson building one last time as a whole cohort. My team did not win any awards, but several of my friends I made prior to starting university did, so there were celebrations to be had following the ceremony.

The poster for my team’s business.

Finally, a big barbecue outside the Business School to commemorate the end of Freshers Week!

Like I said at the start of this blog, your activities may be different come Freshers week 2020, or beyond if you’re reading this much further down the line. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t have as much fun as I did!


Study Tips, Exams Made Easier ✓

Hola! So exams are now over and I am back into the full swing of things this semester. This semester I am studying Business Economics, Marketing for Business, Business Start Up and Spanish and so if anyone is interested in getting some insights to any of these modules feel free to message me. These last two weeks have been a case of studying for exams and if you happen to struggle with revision (like I have done in the past) I have provided some of my study tips in which I have learned and hopefully they will come in helpful for you and your next exam.

There are a number of different types of exams in which people sit. This could be multiple choice, essay questions or practical exams and it just so happened mine was three essay questions in two hours on Operations Management concepts and theories. Okay, when reading this it can sound a little daunting, I mean it took me three months to write my essay for the assignment so how am I going to write three in the space of two hours? If you’re reading this while you’re in school or college it can come across even more intimidating but I can assure you it isn’t as bad as it sounds.

To prepare for an exam like this I would suggest reading a wide selection of books and journal articles to ensure you have that background as to what your exam will be about. From this you can then start making notes which can be in more depth from your lectures and seminars. The way in which I do this would be spider diagrams. I find this extremely helpful when you just need to see all the information spread across the one page. Use a number of coloured pencils and pens to stimulate your brain and enable it to jog your memory when it comes to the exam. On a positive it makes your notes look that bit better.

When you begin to feel more comfortable that you have written down enough information, the next task would be to break these notes down smaller and smaller until it’s just a sentence that holds enough information about the subject you are revising. These sentences can then be put onto flash cards and you can practice memorising them. When it comes down to the exam you will have this bank of sentences which contain wider information and the essay will just flow. You will feel confident and prepared for your exam and with the right amount of effort put in you will get that first everyone wants.

I can understand that this revision technique comes across tedious however it does work significantly well for myself to the point where I feel confident in my exams. It all comes down to confidence and if you are confident in your exam you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

Hope this information will help you with your revision.

Have a great week.

J. x

How to run a record label…

As my record label reaches it’s 4th release next month, I thought it would be good to provide an insight into what I go through when curating music to go out to the public. Not all people about to graduate (in a few months time like me – eek!) are planning on going into employed work / further study, but are planning on becoming self employed (be their own boss, handle their own national insurance contributions / income tax etc). This insight will hopefully give an idea if running your own business is for you – And for the record, no I don’t earn any money from this venture, as this is more of a hobby and BIG learning experience… but maybe yours will make money!

Running a record label deals with the admin side of music – Don’t expect to see much of the recording studio.

The music industries boil down to three parts: Production, Distribution, Consumption, and of course my record label deals with the latter two, although sometimes I get a little involved with the Production (like giving feedback on demos) without compromising the artistic ability of my artists. I begin with finding an artist. Like most labels, I don’t accept artists that just randomly contact me (cold call) out of the blue – Instead, I either put out scouting calls for Artists, or answer Artists’ scouting calls (if they are looking for a label to release their material). Rarely do I approach an artist with a raw idea for an album, as this turns into a very time consuming process of making music from scratch. I prefer for the release to be at least half way through made and ready for release, to save time.

After the Artist is happy to work with me, we curate a release behind the scenes, and WOW a lot of work goes into making a release. We analyse the music and come up with a catchy description (what the press usually copy and paste onto their own sites if they want to promote the music), an eye catching artwork, and a marketing schedule (what singles get released when, what information gets released when etc.). Then, personally for me, I create posts on my website and schedule them over a month to automatically build hype towards the release – I also add updates about any promotion we get, such as radio play and good reviews. Then after the release has gone online, it’s just a waiting game to see what the reaction to it is, which could be anything. I once released a single thinking it wasn’t going to do very well, but then turned out to be our biggest hit!

All in all, running a label is all about running into problems, solving the problems, then move onto the next problems and so on. It’s a problem solving game, so it requires a sharp mind to make sure your own activity will make sure you can be competitive and produce output that will hopefully get a positive reaction. It’s taken a lot of development to get this far, but when you run a real world project, you are rewarded with strong experience.

I learn so much from Entrepreneurship…

The record label project that I run has taught me many lessons about working in the real world, way before I graduate from University. I once attended a conference about music industry practice, and I’ll always remember what one of the panel members said: “What we do isn’t “sexy”… It’s a hard slog!”. This really put me off working in music because I knew he was right, but I persevere…

The Business School at Edge Hill Uni…

The first and most important lesson is “Don’t think! Do!”, or more accurately, “If you have a plan, stick to the plan!”. I find that initially thinking about things is essential, but determining alternatives is not – I mean my biggest weakness that I am currently conquering is Hesitation. I used to say “hesitation costs, ambition earns”, but this is counter productive because ambition requires hesitation to think about it. This is quite a new lesson learned considering I have been running my label for some time now, but currently whenever I come up with a plan using common sense (that’s what “business sense” boils down to, I suppose) not ambition, I go through with it strait away as hesitation will just cost me time I don’t have. This has proved quite an effective way to go about business, and life in general!

A more difficult lesson I learned is “Cut the fat!”. Assertiveness is something I have to use, and I don’t mind being assertive because it gets the job done (unlike aggression and submissiveness of course). It’s a difficult lessons because of when I have to be Ruthless… There were times when I just got told excuse for not doing work after excuse for not doing work, and it did actually guilt trip me into letting it go – And so I have set a reasonable threshold, so there are so many excuses I can accept before I decide to let people go from a project and replace them ASAP. I have to be assertive and, unfortunately, ruthless for the greater good, which can be a harsh lesson for those working in the real world. What has to be done has to be done – There’s no point in many getting slowed down by a few, basically.

The final lesson is that: “It IS a hard slog!”. I have had many difficult problems (and a few successes on the positive side), and admittedly there have been times when I have encountered problems that require WAITING, which is very punishing as technically it’s a problem which I have, but cannot solve myself in 24 hours. I have now accepted that working in the real world is the opposite of easy and all that, but it is because of that that it is rewarding when tricky problems are overcome.

This post is written to inspire those who have not tried doing business projects yet to perhaps have a go at one, and to help those who are already doing business projects through tough times. Business projects do not have to be long term of course; they can be short term like organising a one day charity event etc. I’m not sure if I regret setting up a label or not to be honest – I just see it as an ordinary part time job with challenges 🙂

Running a record label and other musical activities…

I’m more of an academic person than an “entrepreneur” or “music producer”; However, I do try to engage with as much music industry practice as I can. This post outlines the activities I do around my Uni course, that are related to the subject I study – Cultural Studies. Uni life is not all essays and presentations (although I like doing essays and presentations 🙂 ) !

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Me outside the EHU Creative Edge building – in there are two recording studios for music students like me to use.

My record label

I was inspired to set up my own record label when I heard two music technology students set one up as a final year project, and that label was seriously well done in my opinion (shame it’s no longer active but the inspiration is still there). Mine is called Melted Leather Records (I’m not putting in a link as I’m not self advertising) which pushes niche genres (ie music you’ve probably never heard of like chiptune, breakcore, dark pop ect) to a wider audience – the idea is that a genre goes from invisible to visible, so if listeners like that music then they can seek out more of it which (in theory) encourages sustainability in the music world. This year I finish organising the label’s debut release compilation which saw me building rapport with artists I have never met before (one was overseas), handling budgets and encouraging everyone to pull their weight. Bear in mind this is way easier said than done. While I’m not a big fan of the law and finance aspects of enterprise (like negotiating funding & fees, working out contracts ect.), I really like the relationship management and creative marketing aspects. Problems are regularly occurring, but it’s awesome when I find ways to solve those problems. I have no idea how long my label will last, but even if it does fade after one or two releases at least I have some business experience to impress future employers.

Uni record label

Speaking of record labels, the University finally has there own! It’s called The Label Recordings, and it’s managed by EHU lecturers and marketing staff, and run by students. From what I know, they are scouting for an artist to sign – preferably a band so they can organise live tours and recordings. I’m more of an observer than an actual participant as of course I am busy with my own label, however I am positive that the label can bring great music to audiences and good experience to it’s contributors.

Music production

I am also trying to be more active in the field of music production. I think production work is one of those things where everything is difficult and trap filled, but when all the knowledge is gained then everything is more straight forward. I am working on an EP for my course but I hope to make two more before the end of the semester. I want to try a little live performance as well as apparently it’s great… but we’ll see about that…

So I hope this gives some inspiration to participate in other projects around your Uni course – hopefully those activities will complement your CV and really impress potential graduate employers.