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Designs on her future

Designs on her future

Rowena

Award-winning entrepreneur Rowena Simmons reflects on what her degree has meant for her career.

"When I was in sixth form I started making jewellery from the leftover beads and embroidery threads from my Art Textiles coursework. My friends then started showing an interest in my designs and asked if they could purchase several bracelets.

"When the demand increased, I spent £200 on the initial materials and created a basic website. I uploaded several photographs of my jewellery and started advertising through social media. Within a couple of hours I received my first order from Spain. At this point I was shocked but also excited that someone in another country had seen my work and was willing to pay for it.

"Although I would have loved to focus on the business full-time after sixth form, I knew this would limit my options in the future. At the time, the economy was unstable and due to my lack of business knowledge I knew that going to university was the most sensible option."

I chose to study at Worcester due to the wide range of business degrees; I found they offered far more flexibility than other universities.

Rowena Simmons
University of Worcester graduate and entrepreneur

Why Worcester?

"Studying at Worcester was beneficial for me; I restructured my business part way through my studies and thanks to what I was taught in my lectures, I was able to understand how this would affect my company.

"Since then it has gone from strength to strength and we have now sold over 68,000 bracelets to 35,000 different customers living in 104 countries. I was very humbled to win Midlands Entrepreneur of the Year a couple of years ago and the company was recognised as Midlands Exporter of the Year, which was really fantastic."

Rowena's jewellery

Flexible study

"I chose to study at Worcester due to the wide range of business degrees; I found they offered far more flexibility than other universities. This enabled me to study Business, Finance & Entrepreneurship, which has been crucial to the success of my company and has provided me with an insight into other areas of business.

"I can honestly say that I enjoyed my lectures; I would sit frantically scribbling notes because it was all relevant to the every day running of my business. People on my course would question whether they would ever need or use any of the information and I always told them that they would. Whether it was business law, marketing or finance it was something I had experienced and needed to know more about."

Invaluable experience

"The lecturers at Worcester have years of experience. The staff have diverse business backgrounds and have worked for some really interesting companies.

"Studying at University gave me so many practical skills. But, just as importantly, it has also opened up wider opportunities and perspectives for me. I networked with new contacts, studied alongside students from other countries and learned to approach the world with an open mind."