When Matt Lawrence decided to study at BU in the late 1990s, little did he know that it would begin a lifelong association with the university and region.
Originally from Newbury, Matt chose Bournemouth University having previously enjoyed family holidays in the area. He graduated from BA (Hons) Business Studies in 2000 and, with career connections already made through his placement, stayed on to start work.
Matt said: “In my third year I secured an internship as a sales and marketing assistant at a local engineering company. While the company was small, with around 35 employees, its products were bought by customers around the world. This gave me a global perspective and during the year I was lucky enough to join business trips to Atlanta, Singapore and Shanghai. I am pleased to say that I made a good impression and I continued to work for the company a day and a half a week during my final year. I also used them as the basis for my dissertation which was really useful.”
As graduation approached, Matt secured a role working for a marketing agency and print house which he had come into contact with through his placement provider. And when a permanent role came up at the placement company a year later, he jumped at the chance to re-join the team.
Today, having made a series of career moves around the South Coast, he leads the marketing and promotion for Urban Guild, a Bournemouth-based group of hotels and restaurants. And thanks to continued connections with BU, he has started offering current students the same opportunities he enjoyed.
Matt said: “My own placement was so positive that I really wanted to be able to offer these experiences to others. We have just come to the end of our first year with a placement student and I am pleased to say they have made the most of the opportunity and made a real impact. Having dipped our toe in the water, we will be continuing next year with two students. As an employer it is a great way to expand your team and bring in fresh thinking and talent.”
The team expansion has come at the right time, as Urban Guild prepares to launch its next venue – Urban Garden – in Bournemouth’s Lower Gardens this summer.
As for Matt, he is happy to have chosen Bournemouth for his student experience and career. He said: “Little did I know when I chose to study here that I would still be in Bournemouth two decades on. You don’t really think that far ahead, but the area has such a lot to offer in terms of work and lifestyle that I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”