“10 Questions” – James Grice

In our ‘10 Questions’ series, KBS catches up with our students to find out about their experiences. This month, we put our questions to Management With a Year in Industry BSc (Hons) student James Grice.

James Grice, a second-year Management With a Year in Industry BSc (Hons) student discusses his business venture ‘Stay on Route’ and his University experience so far, from the Business Start-Up Journey to his upcoming placement year at The Dune Group.

Why did you choose your degree?

There were four main reasons why I chose to study Management at KBS. Firstly, I really enjoy the material taught in the modules, especially since the degree incorporates modules which are enterprise focused. Secondly, the new facilities at KBS such as the new Sibson building. This improved working environment really has had a positive impact on my work. Thirdly, the degree is CMI accredited, meaning that when you graduate with the degree, you also gain a Level 5 Professional Diploma in Management and Leadership (from CMI). Finally, KBS students have access to the ASPIRE Hub where they can explore their own entrepreneurship including starting their own business, which I have been able to take full advantage of.

What have been the highlights of studying at KBS so far?

Being able to take advantage of all of the opportunities and events that KBS is part of, parallel to the degree. Some of my favourite events were the NACUE’s Student Enterprise Conference and WildHearts ‘The Global Entrepreneurial Leaders’ Summit’. NACUE’s conference was a great opportunity to connect with other student entrepreneurs from around the country and to listen to speakers such as the Co-Founder of Monzo Banking. The WildHearts GEL Summit was another great opportunity to connect to business professionals and to listen to the opinions of current business leaders on the notion of ‘Business for Good’.

Describe your experience of the Business Start-Up Journey

The Business Start-Up Journey has to be the best experience at KBS by far. Due to my past experience of entrepreneurship prior to University, I was interested in attending the launch event back in November 2017. I felt truly inspired to pursue my own business after listening to Tom Ilube (CBE). From there, I went on to attend the working lunches and workshops that were offered, and it was during one of the ASPIRE lunches that I met my former business partner, in which the idea of ‘Stay on Route’ was created. From January 2018 we worked on the idea and prepared for the pitching final in April. All of our hard work paid off and the business came second in the showcase final and was awarded £500.

Tell us more about your new app

Have you ever missed getting off at your train station? Was it because you were tired or distracted? ‘Stay on Route’ removes the stress and worries about train travel, allowing you to spend your travelling time travel doing things you want to do. Using a location-based alarm system, ‘Stay on Route’ notifies the user with an alarm when their station is approaching using location services, allowing them plenty of time to depart from the train.

Could you tell us about your placement year?

From July 2019 I will be working for The Dune Group as a finance intern for 12 months at their head office in Marylebone, London. I’ll be working to support the Financial Insights Analyst with accounting, reporting and analysis. I wanted to take the opportunity to learn more about how finance is controlled and forecasted in a multi-national company in a corporate environment. Hopefully, with this experience I will be able to gain new skills around finance which I can then apply to my own company, ‘Stay on Route’.

What is your greatest achievement so far?

My greatest achievement has to be ‘Stay on Route’. Since launching the app, I have learnt so much in terms of setting up and running a start-up company. Hopefully, the business will continue to grow and prosper in the future. For those who have supported me in this journey so far, I cannot thank enough, especially Adam Smith and Rebecca Smith at KBS’s ASPIRE.

What’s the best piece of advice you have received?

During the NACUE’s Student Enterprise Conference, there was a keynote speech from Paul Forken, one of the brothers that founded Gandys London. His advice was “You miss 100% of the opportunities that you do not take.” This advice resonates with me closely. If I didn’t take the opportunity to attend the Business Start-Up Journey launch event in 2017, I wouldn’t have gone on to meet my former business partner and the idea of ‘Stay on Route’ wouldn’t have existed!

Do you have a mentor/role model who has inspired you?

Since starting University, I have been mentored by Adam Smith who is the Entrepreneur in Residence, and Rebecca Smith, the ASPIRE Project Officer at KBS. During the research and development of ‘Stay on Route’, Adam was able to provide huge amounts of advice and guidance on the business and its direction, whilst Rebecca was able to provide immense value through her business connections and events that she successfully runs throughout the academic year. With their combined experience, the help I received was truly invaluable.

If you could have dinner with six people, who would they be?

The six people I would have dinner with would be those who have made an impact on my life in business. This includes Mick Jackson, Dame Stephanie Shirley, Simon Sinek, David Goggins, Gary Vaynerchuk and Sir Richard Branson. I would love to take an opportunity to pick their brains! I was able to meet Mick and Stephanie at the Global Entrepreneurs Leadership Summit in 2018. Both of them are inspiring in terms of putting things into perspective and understanding where the true source of fulfilment comes from running a business. Simon’s fundamental business philosophy is that successful companies start with ‘why’, not ‘how’ or ‘what.’ David Goggins is described as the mentally toughest person alive, completing three hell weeks of Navy Seals BUD/S Training. He talks a lot about what makes your brain mentally strong and resilient. Gary immigrated to the USA in 1978 from the former Soviet Union and is now the chairman of VaynerX, a multi-million dollar communications company. To understand the challenges he faced and how he overcame them would be amazing. Lastly, Richard Branson is one of the most inspiring characters. I would like to ask him about his leadership style.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

My dream is to be successfully running my own sustainable business. Hopefully ‘Stay on Route’ continues to grow and will be generating a fair cash-flow with a handful of employees. By then, I hope that all the accessibility features of the app are implemented and that the visually impaired and blind can take advantage of the app whilst travelling.

James is currently studying BSc (Hons) Management With a Year in Industry. If you would like to find out more about the programme, please visit our website.

Find out more about our MSc Management programme here. 

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