Developing the entrepreneurial capabilities of students through engagement in extra curricular activities

At London South Bank University (LSBU) our mission is to be recognised as an enterprising civic university that addresses real world challenges.

As a business school we have recognised the benefits to students of developing an entrepreneurial mind-set and the advantages this will bring to graduates in a rapidly developing and competitive labour market.

We are doing this in a number of ways particularly by embedding enterprise across our curriculum, but here we want to focus specifically on our school’s extra curricula activities. As a school we have been developing our extra curricula activities, focused on enterprise skills development and in March 2014 we hosted the Network of International Business Schools (NIBS) Worldwide Business Case Competition a competition designed to test students’ problem-solving ability, business acumen, cultural insight, communication skills, and teamwork. Within a limited time a team of four undergrads have to assess the challenges facing the organisation as presented in the case study and recommend a specific course of action to panels of senior managers, policymakers and academics. In February 2015 we took a team out to Ottawa, Canada to compete in the NIBS competition and made the final 8. Competing in this competition has really made a difference to our graduates.

Some of our future work includes the Business Solutions Centre which  is a free student-led service providing business advice to clients (tenants) within our Enterprise Centre, student start-ups, and small businesses within the local area. Our trained Student Advisers give advice to small businesses supported by business school academics and staff from our award-winning Clarence Centre for Enterprise and Innovation.

Students have the chance to put the theoretical knowledge that they’ve developed in the classroom into practice and gain real-world consultancy experience by working with real clients addressing real business challenges. By connecting the students to the university's vibrant business community we are enabling them to build a valuable professional network. From a practical perspective the training programme, designed with enterprising behaviours, attributes and skills at the forefront, has included; professionalism workshops, intellectual property awareness using the IP tutor, writing for a business audience and hackathons online business issues.

Another of our flagship projects is the Institute of Directors (IoD) student membership project. LSBU has the largest student membership in London and we were one of the first five universities to join the scheme. Since its launch at LSBU in 2012, the University has supported 465 students to obtain IoD student membership.

This student membership exposes students to business leaders at some very prestigious events and helps them to develop confidence, communication and some incredible networks.

Some of our key successes include:

Contributing to a number of IoD committees. A student from the School has been appointed to sit on the Young Directors Forum and three School students have been appointed to sit on the IT Tech Forum advising IoD’s senior leadership and web developers on the new (approx. £2m) website.

  • Piloting with the IoD a public speaking competition. This was a great success with the winner and runner up receiving IoD Annual Convention tickets. We are now working with the IoD to develop this competition and roll it out across other institutions.

By linking the training programme and the public speaking competition to entrepreneurial behaviours, skills and attributes these are just a couple of ways through which we are developing the entrepreneurial capabilities of our students.

Business school students also have access to a wide range of extra curricula activities offered via LSBU’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute, including enterprise skills workshops, bootcamps, competitions and start up schemes. In 2014/15 the Institute supported over 4,500 students. Find out more about the Institute

As a School we work very closely with the LSBUs Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute and we endeavour to embed and refer students to these activities wherever possible. Some of our real success stories include Rotsen Ibarra who after studying BA (Hons) Business Management went on to set up a  catering business serving authentic Venezuelan street food  and Simon Powell an MSc Digital Marketing student who went on to set up Fit2Trip a travel insurance provider for people with disabilities and health impairments

Developing the entrepreneurial capabilities of our students is important to us and we will seek to develop and grow these extra curricula activities working closely with our external partners, tenants and LSBUs Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute.