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Robert Lundgren Jones

Career Path: Founder & Managing Director, Lundgren Tours Ltd.
Location: Swarland, UK

I wanted to study a degree where not only would I learn how to set up a business, but I would also be put in an environment where there was freedom to actually set up your business rather than being stuck in the library writing assignments based on case studies. As soon as I found the BA (Hons) Entrepreneurial Business Management degree, I knew that is was the course for me. The course was very team-based and encouraged us to set up our own businesses as part of our studies.

As part of course's 'Customer Weeks' (two weeks where you are encouraged to network and find business opportunities) I interviewed some holiday cottages in Northumberland who all indicated that although business was going well the addition of some tours of the area would really add a boost to their customer base. Taking on board this feedback I came up with the idea of providing tours of the local area and in March 2016, Cottages In Northumberland released an article asking if anyone could provide tours for their clusters of holiday cottages. I arranged a first meeting with them and a deadline was set to provide tours twice a week in August 2016 for the holiday cottages. I incorporated 'Lundgren Tours Ltd.' on the 4th April 2016 and have successfully won school contracts as well as contracts for the various University societies as a result of all the publicity I have received for my unique business idea.

What are you doing now?Robert Lundgren Jones

I graduated in July 2018 from the BA (Hons) Entrepreneurial Business Management degree and have been running my business, Lundgren Tours, ever since. I provide program of international student trips every semester to various places around the North of England. As part of this I host a twice weekly walking tour, 'Harry Potter Fun and History in One', between April and October with this tour receiving Silver for 'Guided Tour of the Year' in NGI's North-East Tourism Awards. I also provide trips to the public in the holidays particularly for families. My most popular trips are the themed experiences where I dress up as Ron Weasley and provide a fun Harry Potter Experience of Alnwick Castle or where I dress up as Ragnar Lundgren and provide a fun Viking experience of Lindisfarne and Bamburgh Castle. On top of this, I also sometimes provide private tours for couples and families as well for corporate conference days out and VIP Tours.

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?

The fact that you get more than a degree, you also get the opportunity to gain valuable and tangible experience that will help you on your career path whatever it may be. Additionally I wanted to study at Northumbria because it is in the North-East of England (the region I love) and I'd be lying if I didn't say that I enjoyed Newcastle's amazing nightlife and incredible atmosphere as well as its friendly people.

What was it like studying at Northumbria?

We did not generally have lectures or seminars, on the course we had a variety of business and academic coaches with very different backgrounds stretching from Venture Capitalism, Serial and Portfolio Entrepreneurship to Careers and the Psychology of the Entrepreneurial Mind-set. Although this system was hard to adopt initially in first year, I honestly think it was for the best. We had coaches with real experience in business that could provide us with contacts, help grow our business networks and teach us how to get through business struggles, all of which were extremely important for our own personal development as business students and potential entrepreneurs. I feel we are extremely well prepared for the workplace due to the way that the course was designed. We had coaching sessions twice a week where we could choose what to learn and we had to take ownership of our own learning. I must admit this was hard at first when we didn't have businesses but as soon as we started doing real business activity each and everyone of us came to a coaching session passionate about teaching something that we had learnt and eager to listen to see if we could apply others' lessons to our own business projects. It was like a positive multiple effect. Our assignments objectives were to integrate the academic literature of business with the practical application of our businesses in context. This was a great way to make our assignments very interesting and also a good way to force us to do the parts of business that most people tend not to enjoy such as accounting and planning, etc. I also loved how the feedback received was always based on our business activity as well as the assignment criteria.

How connected was your course with industry?

The course is the embodiment of anyone wanting to set up their own business or learn what it takes run or work for a successful company. We would regularly come in to contact with business owners, entrepreneurs and mentors that we could learn from and aspire to, as well as carry out real work for them in the form of generator sessions and client consultancy. This provided everyone again with real tangible experience.

What was the best thing about your course?

That's very hard to choose but I would have to say the community. The environment and structure of the course is set out in a way where collaboration, networking and confidence is developed every day in abundance and we are encouraged to try new things and speak to people all the time. After all, 'it's who you know, not what you know'. Furthermore, I developed friendships with both students and staff that will last forever.

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/ give your career an edge?

I went to Northumbria University to learn how to set up my own profitable business that I can enjoy and that permits me to stay in the North-east of England. As a result of the course and the University, I have succeeded in this endeavour.

Which skills/knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now throughout your career?

Resilience, confidence, collaboration, perception and reflection.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

Everything, but most notably the people.

What advice would you give somebody who is considering studying at Northumbria?

If you are looking for practical experience as well as a degree that will prepare you for the workplace then... JDI - JUST DO IT! You won't regret it.

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in three words?

Simply the best.

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