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Alexander Penny

Career Path: CEO, Ultimate Life Ltd
Location: Leeds, UK

After leaving university I went into Advertising where I worked in Account Management and Strategic Planning for a variety of different retail clients. Coupled with the knowledge gained during my degree, my experience in Advertising allowed me to acquire and develop a solid understanding of brand building, digital marketing and PR. Something that has subsequently allowed me to start a number of successful e-commerce businesses.

What are you doing now?Alex Penny

I am the founder of several e-commerce websites that market and sell health supplements for the fitness industry, we operate a number female specific brands that are now sold in up to 30 different countries worldwide. All of our products have a strong focus on efficacy and research, which are designed to appeal to growing trend of female weight lifting as well as healthy living in general.

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

I come from an entrepreneurial family and as a result was always driven to be successful in the business world. The reputation of Northumbria Business School for being one of the best in its field was a determining factor in me deciding to study in Newcastle.

What was it like studying at Northumbria?

The time I spent at Northumbria was amongst the most memorable periods in my life. Not only did I learn a lot in relation to business and marketing, but I also developed a lot personally. The lecturers were both really friendly and engaging, something that has undoubtedly helped me come out of it with a good degree. Many of the friendships I made during this time endure to this day, I also met my wife (a former Northumbria student) who now happens to be my business partner too.

How connected was your course with industry?

My degree was 4 years in total and as part of that my course colleagues and I completed a year in business industry. Northumbria's connections within business were a big draw for me studying there, and to the best of my knowledge every one of my course mates secured a year long work placement whilst doing the course. The syllabus also had a strong focus on case studies and constantly referred the theory to real life businesses and events, something that made the learning aspect way more rewarding.

If you took on a placement during your course how did you feel this helped you in your career/ with your studies?

I spent my third year on placement with an Advertising Agency, something that was extremely beneficial for my final year when I decided to specialise in Marketing. It was also key to me securing a job in the same industry when I graduated the following year.

What was the best thing about your course?

It was genuinely something I was passionate about and I got to share in it with like-minded people, many of whom I am still in contact with today.

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

Having the opportunity to do such a specific degree where I essentially learnt the key principles of brand building has set me up for everything that has come later.

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

Understanding consumer behaviour and what makes people tick is one of the key things I took away from my final year. On a broader note, the importance of building connections as well as team working cannot be ignored in business. Both of these things were central to my time at Northumbria University.

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

Living with my closest friends and spending time in the Students Union.

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

Make sure you study something that you have a genuine love for or interest in. Do not base your choices on the opinions of others.

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

Over too quickly.

For more information about me and my companies visit:

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