Personal Statement Erasmus Mundus GLOCAL Scholarship
Hi, I was hoping to get some feedback on my draft personal statement for this Erasmus Mundus scholarship. Any improvements/guidance would be very much appreciated! Thank you.
Global Markets, Local Creatives: Personal Statement (Draft)
Currently, the established global order of international cooperation for the means of economic prosperity is actively being challenged. Globalization appears to be contributing to a loss of local identity for some, with those wishing to gain what they perceive as lost through protectionist attitudes and policies - resulting in an increased nationalistic sentiment across much of the west. When considering the effect of these changing attitudes towards globalization, its relationship with local actors is similarly challenged. Surely, there has never been a more relevant or exciting time to study this area, as this complex relationship continues to underline much of my home nation's discourse.
Having graduated from the University of Leeds studying Management with Marketing. I have gained a broad understanding of business concepts and their influence on commercial decision making. In relation to GLOCAL, several modules hold particular relevance. Studying International Marketing exposed me to the varied, interdepending factors that underpin expansionist marketing strategies. Advertising and Promotional Management provided insight into the internal processes of creative industries. Through Economics for Management, I learnt macro and microeconomic principles and their impact on decision making the at governmental, corporate, and individual level. Yet, upon graduation, I feel my academic study of business remains incomplete. Although Business Ethics allowed for the critique of business practices, I found much of its subject matter could be deduced as a product of current social and economic relations. Therefore, should it be those social and economic relations that need to be changed? By studying through the lens of multiple disciplines, I believe the most open and critical discussion of capitalism can occur. And for that, I am truly excited.
My previous work experience draws heavily on the creative industries and entrepreneurship, as well as my future career aspirations. And so, to study them in depth would only improve my prospects and further legitimize my interest. During my time at university, I was employed as a Consumer Insight & Market Researcher by an advertising agency. This merged my natural curiosity in consumer behaviour and culture, with the opportunity to form strategic marketing campaigns through such insight. As I write this personal statement, I have just completed a freelance advisory role to MAP (Music & Arts Production) Charity. The charity currently offers educational music and art classes for those outside of mainstream education, as well as hosting exhibitions and events. My role was to absorb their competencies, capabilities, and aspirations - devising a financially comprehensive and compelling business plan. In doing so, bettering their fundraising ability and reaching their goal of purchasing Hope House Foundry. Turning it into a self-sustaining, multi-functional creative hub for the local community. It is my firm belief that the creative industries produce value far beyond that of mere currency (though currently worth 101.5bn to the UK economy, and growing at twice its rate). Creative industries can be credited with the greatest innovations, entertainment, and enjoyment to be had.
More experience with particular relevance to GLOCAL includes a summer internship at Lancashire Community Finance as a Fundraising & Research Officer. This role provided great insight into the third sector and grassroots entrepreneurship. The charity advises vulnerable, financially excluded individuals and delivers the government-backed Start-Up Loan scheme. Though my role primarily consisted of researching funding opportunities and writing their accompanying grant applications, I was also exposed to many hope-to-be local entrepreneurs who wished to secure start-up loan funding. This experience itself built upon my already existing interest in entrepreneurialism and the internal and external conditions influencing their success. Located in Preston, the council overseeing Lancashire Community Finance takes a progressive stance towards their local economy. Hailed as 'The Preston Model' by several news outlets, it takes inspiration from Cleveland's Evergreen Co-operatives network and Spain's Mondragon federation. By emphasizing the role that large institutions rooted in a municipality such as hospitals, airports, colleges, housing associations and local authorities themselves can play as 'anchors' around which regional economic ecosystems can stabilise and grow. In allocating more of their spend budgets to local suppliers and producers, recruiting from the local workforce, and incubating local businesses and community organisations - it is argued that these anchors can keep wealth flowing in municipal economies. Preston's move towards self-sufficiency may have helped the city achieve the second biggest shift in its multiple deprivation index ranking between 2010 and 2015. And so, a dissertation topic of particular interest would be to explore the extension of co-operative forms of economic organisation across the British economy. In doing so, gaining an understanding of their potential at the levels of the individual firm, municipalities, and state-owned enterprises.
Other employment experience includes a summer internship as a Retail Manager at Marks & Spencer's. This was predominately a consultancy based role, in which I created a report to highlight potential inefficiencies and solutions within M&S backstage operations. I presented my recommendations to senior stakeholders, with the proposals taken to head office with the possibility of being rolled out nationwide.
The potential internship opportunities available through GLOCAL are also of great interest. Regarding my future aspirations, I intend to enter either the creative industries - particularly within consumer research and trend forecasting, or the third sector - as a social entrepreneur or consultant to social enterprises and charities. Therefore, it can be argued that GLOCAL has a strong affinity with my desired career paths. Given its focus on the history, theory, institutions and cultures of global and local capitalism within creative industries and local cultures of entrepreneurship.
I also continue to seek out opportunities for personal development outside of direct work experience. I have had event reviews and features published in The Gryphon newspaper. I am also a participant of Google's Building Opportunities for Leadership and Development (BOLD) Immersion program. This offered me one-to-one mentoring with a senior Google employee over a period of several months. The purpose was to look introspectively at any employment-related deficiencies and rectifying them through skill-centric workshops/sessions. I was fortunate enough to be selected for Study China, a summer school organized by the British Council at East China Normal University, Shanghai. Not only did I learn Mandarin Chinese, I learnt how cooperation between nations can create something far beyond the sum of its parts. Ultimately, I consider myself a citizen of the world, a 'Global Citizen'. As I parted from East China Normal University, our program organizer left us with this phrase: 'Think global, act local' and I firmly believe GLOCAL will allow me to fulfil this.
I am a benefactor of Access to Leeds, a program devised to help those from underrepresented background attend university. I was also fortunate enough to receive the Laidlaw scholarship, an award reserved for people of academic merit despite their personal hardship. And so, to represent the UK amongst a global cohort, learning a multi-disciplinary approach to international business at three prestigious institutions. This would not only bring me immeasurable pride. But also, show that hard work can overcome any potential barriers.