Welcome to Aston Live

On 21 - 23 October 2020 we’re bringing Aston University closer to you with a programme of online events. Our expert staff, academics and industry professionals will tell you more about some of our subject areas and the range of opportunities for practical experience which are unique to Aston University. 

You will experience our world-class teaching through this programme of interactive webinars, while exploring the answers to important current questions. We’ll also explain how our focus on careers and employability makes us different to other universities, and the many opportunities available to gain professional experience at Aston to transform your career.

At Aston we answer real-world questions. What do your Netflix recommendations have in common with the monitoring of Covid-19 and the stock market? How can construction engineering create better conditions for refugees? How does design thinking support business? How are entrepreneurs adapting to Covid-19?

View the full programme of events, and view our speakers.

Festival Programme

Wednesday 21st October (all times BST)

09:00 AM - January 2021 and beyond: The benefits of a postgraduate degree at Aston University - Saskia Hansen, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Engagement)

Our Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Engagement) welcomes you to Aston Live. Saskia will be explaining our latest approach to teaching, and the exciting range of opportunities available for starting study in January 2021.

09:45 AM - What is Data Science? (And what do your Netflix recommendations have in common with the monitoring of Covid-19 and the stock market?) – Felipe Campelo (Lecturer in Computer Science)
What do your Netflix recommendations have in common with the monitoring of Covid-19 and the stock market? All of these activities involve collecting and using large amounts of data to discover patterns and trends that can be used to suggest a movie or a new opportunity. Find out what Data Science means, and how we're using it here at Aston: helping scientists researching new vaccines, and giving distance education providers better ways to understand and motivate their students.
10:30 AM - BSEEN: How Aston’s on-campus start-up incubator can benefit you – Carolyn Keenan (BSEEN Project Manager)
BSEEN (Birmingham Skills for Enterprise and Employability Network) is an intensive start-up support programme for Aston students and graduates. Its support package includes bootcamps, mentoring, office space and grants. At Aston being entrepreneurial doesn’t just mean starting up a business. It also means being an opportunity spotter, a creative problem solver and a passionate doer. BSEEN helps students to develop these important skills, gain real-life insights from entrepreneurial people in diverse industries, and encourages students to learn in a practical way and think differently.  
11:15 AM - How to gain professional experience through Aston’s student societies (TEDx and Enactus) - Mo Rasul (Learner Enhancement Officer)

Aston University offers opportunities for postgraduate students to develop skills and enhance their employability through high profile programmes such as Enactus Aston and TEDx Aston University. Enactus is the world’s largest student network and is sponsored by some leading global employers. Working in a high performance team, students have the opportunity to develop life-changing projects and compete in regional and national business competitions. Enactus Aston is consistently in the top 12 teams in the UK. Students can also join the TEDx Aston University team in various roles to organise and run events. Both of these opportunities are officially recognised as part of the Personal Development Programme, which is an element of all Masters programmes within Aston Business School. 

12 NOON - Study an Aston Masters and complete the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) award for free – how this extra qualification can benefit you - Kathy Daniels (Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor International)

If you study a Masters course at Aston University (starting in January 2021) you will also have the opportunity to gain a further internationally recognised qualification, at no extra cost. 

Before you start your Masters course, we’ll start working with you on a professional management qualification, the Level 7 Award in Personal and Professional Development for Strategic Leaders, awarded by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

The CMI is an internationally recognised organisation, and specialises in developing people into effective managers and leaders. Having a qualification from the CMI is a badge of quality, and is widely respected in the business world. Find out more, and get a taster. 

12:45PM - Applying engineering principles to change the world - How can construction engineering create better conditions for refugees? - Dr Kiran Tota-Maharaj (Reader in Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Academics at Aston University apply their research to benefit the wider world. In this session Kiran will talk about the modelling of a sustainable refugee drainage system for stormwater management which he has developed. He will explain how the engineering principles that students learn can be used in the real world. 

Thursday 22nd October (all times BST)

8:00 AM - Building connections with Aston's International Buddy Scheme - Safa-Atiya Ahmed, the Vice President Welfare at Aston Students’ Union
Safa-Atiya Ahmed, the Vice President Welfare at Aston Students’ Union, will be introducing the International Buddy Scheme. The International Buddy Scheme is a collaborative project between the Aston Students’ Union and the Peer Mentoring team at Aston University. She will cover what the Scheme is about, the different ways in which it benefits students and their future, and how to sign up.
9:00 AM - How to win a full scholarship and launch your own business with Aston University - Monique Farquharson (Enterprise Scholarship Winner 2020)
Aston University trains business leaders, works with businesses and researches entrepreneurial behaviour. If you want to study a Masters degree and start a business after you graduate, find out more about the Aston Enterprise Scholarship. The Aston Enterprise Scholarship offers a full scholarship (100% of tuition fees), advice from mentors with extensive business experience, free office space in Birmingham and a grant to start a business after you graduate. Hear from our first winner, Monique Farquharson from Jamaica, and get some tips on applying for the Enterprise Scholarship this year. 
9:45 AM - Connecting students with industrial partners through the Computer Science Industry Club - Dr Maria Chli (Senior Lecturer, Computer Science)
The Computer Science Industry Club at Aston University is a unique scheme that effectively harnesses the world-class capabilities of its industrial partners to enrich our degree programmes whilst providing these companies direct access to Aston’s talent pool of students and academics. Launched in 2016, the Computer Science Industry Club delivers a targeted programme of activities across employability, industry-focussed curriculum development and industrial research. In this talk we will outline how Aston students benefit from a coordinated programme of curriculum-embedded activities designed to give a unique industrial perspective to our syllabus. The Club has generated and filled significant numbers of new placement/graduate opportunities at SMEs and larger companies, and dramatically increased the number of new R&D and knowledge transfer projects. 
10:30 AM - Innovation by design – How does design thinking support business? - Dr Wei Liu (Senior Lecturer in Design)
What is innovation by design? How does design and design thinking support business? This talk will give you a brief overview of current innovations by design. Design cannot create value without business. This talk will not only enable you to learn about the different ways of innovating by design, but will also stimulate you to think about the business value behind design. In addition, you will have the opportunity to learn about the range of design programmes at Aston as well as the new integrated Masters programme - MSci Design, Enterprise and Innovation, jointly delivered with Aston Business School. 
11:15 AM - Getting the most out of student life and improving your employability through our clubs and societies (Aston University’s Students’ Union) - Balraj Purewal (Vice President of Student Activities at Aston Students'​ Union)
Aston University’s Students’ Union offers many opportunities for you to get the most out of student life, and these opportunities also develop skills that employers look for. For example, being an Aston Auntie, an International Mentor or being part of a student society are all looked on favourably by future employers. What can you do at Aston University, and how do you balance getting involved with the demands of your studies?
12 NOON - Why do entrepreneurs study at Aston? (And how are entrepreneurs adapting to Covid-19?) - Dr Bochra Idris (Lecturer in Entrepreneurship)
We often talk about product market fit, where entrepreneurs release a product to fill a problem or gap in the market. As firms are adapting to Covid-19, some entrepreneurs are starting businesses or launching products and services to react to Covid-19. During this talk we will look at the successes that Aston graduates have had in starting their own businesses.
12:45 PM - Inviting companies into the classroom – Partnerships, Employability and the Aston Global Advantage Programme - Elsa Zenatti-Daniels (Postgraduate Student Development Lead)
This session will provide a comprehensive overview of how we partner directly with organisations to provide all postgraduate business students with the opportunity to engage with real organisations and work on real business projects during their course. We achieve this through an extensive number of activities, mostly integrated in the Aston Global Advantage programme.

Students can also work or volunteer for partner NGOs such as the Prince’s Trust, take part in Virtual Internships, work on consultancy projects at Aston Business Clinic or on specific work placements provided by the University or sourced by the Careers & Placements Team.

Our most recent initiative is the Module Partnerships programme. This allows businesses to provide real life case studies related to their organisation for students to work on, in the context of specific modules. Once they have received the outcome of the students’ work, partner companies award a placement of at least four weeks to the best student.

Friday 23rd October (all times BST)

9:00 AM - How to make a successful application to Aston’s Enterprise Scholarship - Davies Okeowo (Enterprise Scholarship Finalist 2020)

Aston University trains business leaders, works with businesses and researches entrepreneurial behaviour. The Aston Enterprise Scholarship offers postgraduate students a full scholarship (100% of tuition fees) and two partial scholarships (40% reduction in tuition fees). Successful applicants also receive advice from mentors with extensive business experience, free office space in Birmingham, and a grant to start a business after they graduate. Our 2020 Finalist, Davies Okeowo from Nigeria, will talk about the Enterprise Scholarship application process and how his own business idea led him to Aston University. 

9:45 AM - Using Aston to roadmap your global career - Iwan Griffiths (Business Careers Consultant)
How can you make the most of your time at Aston by developing skills, building networks and getting experience? What makes being an international student at Aston distinctive in fulfilling your career potential? This session, led by MSc Business Careers Consultant, Iwan Griffiths, aims to get you thinking about your personal career road map and how Aston can help you on this journey.
10:30 AM - The Business of Translation: How to enjoy your translation career and still create great business - Doug Lawrence (Lecturer in Translation Studies)
During this session Doug Lawrence will look at the opportunities available to translation graduates and how they can create and maintain a profitable business throughout their career.

11:15 AM - Combining enterprise theory with real business experience - how the Centre for Innovation in Enterprise Education can benefit you – Simon Finley (Associate Dean, Learning and Teaching)
The Centre for Innovation in Enterprise Education was established to become a centre for excellence in team based executive, leadership and entrepreneurship education. With a focus on team building, collaboration with external partners and application of learning to live, commercial and social enterprise projects, we look to push the boundaries of Higher Education to create lasting change and impact in the sector.
12 NOON - Opportunities for consultancy projects with local companies and winning business placements - Module Partnership - Nathalie Ormrod (Senior Teaching Fellow, Marketing and Strategy)
Module partnerships provide postgraduate business students with opportunities to act as consultants for organisations. As was the case for Masters and Final Year marketing students last academic year, these projects are useful in challenging students' knowledge by applying and testing theoretical concepts in real-life business situations. These assessment methods are innovative, engaging and challenging for students to develop solid critical thinking skills.  Relationships between academia, partner organisations and students are highly valuable to all involved, with students being offered the award of a placement of at least four weeks, companies identifying talented graduates and the University demonstrating its total commitment to employability.
12:45 PM - Nice to meet ‘Hue’ – how Aston’s MSc Marketing students gained real business experience with Philips in the global smart home market - Dr Julius Stephan (Lecturer in Marketing) 
Philips Signify is the world leader in lighting. Signify produces energy-efficient lighting products, systems and services. In the academic year 19/20, the company provided a real-life business case to MSc Strategic Marketing students at Aston. This talk will explain how Aston’s Marketing students gained real business experience and made use of their theoretical knowledge to develop recommendations for how to extract the most value from a premium lighting brand (Hue) in a fast growing global smart home market. 


Safa-Atiya Ahmed

Vice President for Welfare, Aston Students' Union

Felipe Campelo
Dr Felipe Campelo

Lecturer in Computer Science

Maria Chli2.jpg
Dr Maria Chli

Senior Lecturer in Computer Science

Kathy-Daniels-black and white2
Kathy Daniels

Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor International (Recruitment and Global Pathways)

Monique Farquharson2.jpg
Monique Farquharson
Simon Finley.jpg
Simon Finley

Associate Dean, Learning and Teaching for the College of Business and Social Sciences

Iwan-Griffiths-black and white
Iwan Griffiths

Careers Adviser

Saskia Hansen

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Engagement)

Bochra Idris
Dr Bochra Idriss

Lecturer in Entrepreneurship

Carolyn-Keenan- black and white
Carolyn Keenan

BSEEN Project Manager

Doug Lawrence cropped
Doug Lawrence

Lecturer in Translation Studies

Wei Liu2.jpg
Dr Wei Liu

Senior Lecturer in Design

Davies Okeowo.jpg
Davies Okeowo

Enterprise Scholarship Finalist 2020

Nathalie-Ormrod- black and white
Nathalie Omrod

Marketing And Strategy Senior Teaching Fellow

Balraj Purewaltest
Balraj Purewal

Vice President of Student Activities at Aston Students' Union

Mo Rasul2
Mo Rasul

Learner Enhancement Officer

Julius Stephan.jpg
Dr Julius Stephan

Lecturer in Marketing

Kiran cropped
Dr Kiran Tota-Maharaj

Reader in Civil Engineering

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Elsa Zenatti-Daniels

Postgraduate Student Development Lead, College of Business and Social Science