In the words of Newman University alumni Ryan Johnson
Ryan Johnson is a recent graduate of Newman University, originally studying BA (Hons) Business Management with us, Ryan went on to complete his MBA, graduating in 2020. Ryan shares with us his journey since leaving Newman.
“Where have the past three months gone? In fact, where have the past 18 months gone? For myself personally, the last year and a half has been somewhat of a whirlwind. I began 2020 by finalising my MBA, having completed five years at Newman University Birmingham, where I studied both my undergraduate, and postgraduate qualifications. At that time I was used to the structure of university life, the familiar environment I found myself in, and ultimately the expectations that were asked of me, to the point where at the start of 2020 the idea of going on to complete a PhD studentship was right at the top of my agenda.
“However, as is life, we never know what’s round the corner, and COVID-19 was definitely something that no one expected. This of course affected individuals and families globally in a range of ways, and for me personally it meant waving goodbye to the dream of undertaking a funded PhD, as universities across the country began to cut their funding in light of damning financial forecasts. This meant that whilst I had two university qualifications to my name, I was now unemployed with no idea what my next steps were to be. Initially, I figured that this would only be a temporary situation, with my two qualifications surely going to aid me in securing employment, however, when month after month followed, with only a few scarce interviews in-between, it certainly didn’t appear that way.
“Looking back now, I think I was caught in the trap that most graduates find themselves, whereby, they are overly qualified for some roles, but yet don’t boast the experience to secure others. I had hoped that I could avoid this career lull by establishing my own small enterprise, which I had run successfully for the past three years, having shipped Straight Edge themed clothing items to in excess of fifteen different countries globally. However, most organisations unfortunately didn’t accredit this as valid experience, with one stating ‘that’s good, but we’d be more interested if you’d held experience working under a manager, in a company like Tesco or ASDA’.
“Whilst I found that last comment particularly incomprehensible, and in all honesty, still do, I persevered with applying for jobs, and by chance, happened to secure myself a sales role with a marketing company. At the time I felt I’d finally cracked it, and had secured a role with signs of progression, within a competitive industry that was showing positive signs of growth even during the pandemic. However, unfortunately things were not quite that simple. The role itself was vastly different from what was sold to me, and I quickly found that I wanted something different.
“At the time, my mom, who truly is an incredible force, reminded me of a phrase that she often champions, which is ‘to not wait for your boat to come in, but instead swim out to meet it ‘- aka – don’t wait for change, drive it yourself. So with those wise words in mind, I got back to applying for jobs and happened to come across the MiGrowth Head of Digital ad, which sounded absolutely perfect. However, as per my previous experience, I was conservative on my chances of obtaining the role, having feared that I would receive the same knock back I’d had previously regarding my lack of commercial experience working for somebody, rather than for myself. Therefore, when I got the call later that same morning from the Managing Director, talking me through their aspirations for the company and how they saw the role developing I truly was enthused to do my damnedest to secure the position, and improve my current circumstance.
“Thankfully, both my presentation and SWOT analysis, which I delivered in my second interview, was well received by both the Managing Director and their fellow stakeholders, and I commenced my tenure with MiGrowth in April 2021. At time of writing, three months have now passed since I started, and whilst it’s a bit cliché, I truly have loved every minute. In that time I feel as if I’ve made a positive contribution to the business, having re-designed the MiGrowth website, re-imagined the company’s marketing, and re-engineered a host of additional internal functions. In doing so, I’ve been given creative control to implement the changes that I see fit, whilst being provided with exceptional support by the directors whom I will always be grateful for making me feel so welcome, and appreciated. I’m incredibly excited about the future of MiGrowth, as well as the role I can play in future.