Case studies

Education, Entrepreneurship, Employability.

Santander Universities - Performance and Leadership Experience

Name: Elicia
University: Royal Holloway, University of London

When being awarded this scholarship, I was surprised to find out that the support didn't stop there! Santander are extremely accommodating to their recipients and provide many opportunities within networking as well as international programme. The funding Santander provided has allowed me to buy the appropriate resources to support my studies and ensure my academic potential would not suffer as a result of financial barriers. This has been a weight lifted off my shoulders as I knew I would be able to accommodate to my studies without having to work a part-time job alongside them.

In addition to this, being part of this scheme has given me the opportunity to meet other students who are in similar positions as myself and allowed me to form friendships with people who I, otherwise, would never have met.

 Most importantly, the support of Santander goes beyond the financial aspect. Being awarded this scholarship has made me feel believed in and motivated to exceed expectations. I am extremely thankful for this opportunity and the experience has been extremely invaluable to me.

Name: Gareth Irvine
University: Ulster University

Throughout the process I personally learnt a number of valuable lessons. As a young, enthusiastic and slightly naive entrepreneur, mistakes will come thick and fast. Over-forecasting and under-delivering will happen; being wrong is a good thing so make sure to constantly ask for help. You can never ask too many questions, so be sure to continue to push boundaries!  

Since my team and I started working with Santander Universities, the business has grown exceptionally fast. We launched in November 2016, suppling flavoured gin to 20 to 30 independent retailers across Northern Ireland. Three years on and we’ve grown that number to 700, suppling multinational retailers and e-commerce sites. We distribute across the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Estonia, the UAE, Spain and the Republic of Ireland, with current developments looking at the US, Canada and Asia. We’ve also grown our workforce from just myself, to a team of six and a Board of three, with revenues growing to £750k p/a and a 32.4% revenue increase per year.

The business is experiencing a period of rapid growth and we fully intend to make the most of it. Santander Universities has been instrumental in this growth, and I look forward to growing more with them as the years go on.

Name: Heather McInnes
University: Glasgow Caledonian University

During my time at The Ayr Classic Run, I received great support from all my colleagues; they made me feel welcome and always put me at ease. Through the internship, I learned and developed skills as a designer, while also gaining confidence in myself. For example, being the only graphic designer in the company, I had the challenge of scheduling when jobs had to be completed, defining creative solutions and strategies, while also juggling four to five different tasks within the same deadline. This was a challenge, but a great one at that! My confidence grew hugely, especially in trusting my judgement and becoming more assertive. 

Overall, the internship has opened many career prospects; it’s enabled me to gain industry experience which I can go on to discuss in future interviews, something which is becoming increasingly challenging amongst the competitive graduate market. After being kept on in the company for an extra month, I’ve secured a full-time graphics job. I can’t thank Santander Universities and GCU enough for providing me with this experience, and I would highly recommend the internship programme to anyone wanting a new challenge.