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Matt Hughes - Entrepreneurial spirit accelerated graduate’s career

Matt became a Director of digital marketing agency Ascesis (now Aurora) in the second year of his degree, having initially responded to a job advert on Gumtree. The digital media design graduate said: “I started making websites for people while I was at school, so you could say that was the start of my freelancing career. While studying digital media design at BU, I saw an advert for a start-up which needed expertise in graphic design and web development. I took up the post and went on to become a director of the company. It was a great opportunity to combine my academic studies with practical experience. The two complemented each other and I have continued with the business since graduating.”

As Creative Director of Aurora for the last four years, Matt has helped to grow the company to a staff team of 20 with an international client base. Ready for a fresh challenge, he has recently launched a new arm to the business and is now Managing Director and Editor in Chief of Top Business Tech, an online source of news and content relating to Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things and Blockchain. As well as providing news and opinion, the platform provides organic lead generation for clients in the technology sector.

In addition to developing his own business interests, Matt has been keen to develop the careers of others along the way. He provides regular lectures on marketing and the business has taken on placement students as well as a number of interns through the Santander Internship Scheme. He said: “The internship scheme has been a brilliant way for us to grow the business in a way that’s affordable and sustainable. It also means we can open up opportunities to those starting out.”

Four years on from graduating, Matt’s advice to others is to make the most of any chance to gain experience. He said: “Whether or not your degree includes a placement, I would always encourage students to go out of their way to gain experience. The earlier you start the better. Not only does it offer you the chance to try out different companies and sectors, it enables you to build networks and skills that will get you ahead of the competition.”