Lewis Squire studied BSc International Business and launched a virtual reality rooms business while he studied, winning our Business Start Up Journey Pitching Finals. He now works for Pfizer as a Digital Forensic and Insider Threat Analyst.
‘I don’t like the idea of ever going along one singular path. I took International Business because it gave me the breadth to try everything.’
Lewis took his undergraduate course during a period of his life where he wasn’t quite sure of the direction he was heading. Having just undertaken an apprenticeship with a bank that he didn’t enjoy, applying for university was a chance to recalibrate.
‘I knew it was important to think in a multinational way and that I enjoyed business and things like data. The course covered everything that you’d need to learn about to take different paths. For me, it was the perfect fit.’
Lewis joined the Business Start Up Journey during his time at Kent, working at the ASPIRE lab in the Sibson Building to help nurture his natural sense of innovation, mostly centred around a love of computers.
‘Having in house entrepreneurs to support me along the way, I soon moved on from wanting to manage someone else’s business to developing a desire to launch a start-up.
‘I’d already taught myself coding via YouTube tutorials, so I felt pretty confident I could produce something exciting in this field.’
He began to explore the idea of an escape room with a difference – using augmented and virtual reality, together. His business, Reality Rooms, was born.
‘Virtual reality, wearing a headset, is exciting but for me augmented reality is where it is at. It allows you to be in a physical space and see things that aren’t real. It is ultimately immersive.
‘I decided that I could use both forms of computer technology to create a physical space, where people could experience absolutely anything they wanted to.
‘I could change the room on the fly and provide a blend of the physical and virtual. It would also enable me to use even a very physically limited space and create something that felt much bigger, using all the latest techniques.’
Winning The Business Start Up Pitching Final in 2021 was validation that he was really capable as a businessperson, but also led him to apply for MSc Computer Science which he finished in 2022.
‘For someone like me, who was self-taught, it was really exciting to study something that I’d always loved as a hobby.
‘It was complicated at times, but much of it played into what I’d learned on my undergrad. There was a module called Human Computer Interaction. A lot of what we learned was about colour or sound, how inclusive things are – much of this related to web and digital marketing.’
Lewis is now living the dream with a career that is both dynamic and in demand – working for medical giant Pfizer as a Digital Forensics and Threat Analyst.
‘Kent Police did a presentation on the use of digital forensics in law enforcement for my digital forensic module on my master’s course. I looked at getting into the emergency services in this field when I came across private sector jobs.’
‘The roles in big businesses essentially help to prevent data breaches and sensitive information being leaked.’
Lewis was over the moon to be invited to an interview at Pfizer in Sandwich, Kent after applying, though he was concerned he was underqualified.
‘I knew it was competitive, but I could talk about setting up my business, my university courses and the overall knowledge I had from teaching myself coding to start Reality Rooms.
‘The interview just flowed and I got the job. The team said after that they liked my attitude to find things out and work them out for myself.’
While data crimes might not compare to Crime Scene Investigators, Lewis admits it’s pretty fast-paced and exciting and in a way, feels like detective work.
‘We will look for traces that someone might be actively risking the business with sensitive data,’ he explains.
‘They might have used a USB or they’ve moved files. It’s a very intricate process of diligence and noticing patterns of behaviour digitally and can be very reactionary work. If a case came to ahead it could reach court and become a criminal investigation but a lot of what we do it remediation work.’
Lewis still returns to his undergraduate learnings during his working day, as the company is global and an understanding of international business is a must.
‘We have a team in America, a team in Singapore and the team in the UK. We normally work collaboratively across all time zones. There was so much of my undergraduate course that relates to what we do, modules in ethics really play into the job role.
‘I am still very business minded, a sense that really developed at Kent. I think one day I will take the skills I have and use them to build my own consultancy.’