Jay Stallard, BA (Hons) Design for Interactive Media 2003, was recently listed as one of the “Thirty under 30″ rising stars of Welsh business. His company Strive Media is an independent Online Marketing Agency based in Caerphilly, South Wales. We asked him to look back over his career and his time at UWIC:
What did you study at UWIC and when did you graduate?
Studied Design for Interactive Media and Graduated in 2003. Proved to be a very interesting course and I believe, one that set me on the road into the world of online marketing. Not coming from a traditional web design / development background as some of the other candidates, I started to carve out a niche around project management and the business side of the course. I can remember putting together a mock up business plan that I can honestly say started to piece together the beginnings of Strive Media.
What made you choose UWIC?
After finishing school I wanted to stay pretty local, so coming from the lovely Welsh valleys meant Cardiff was an obvious choice. At the time I was playing rugby at a pretty decent level, so UWIC seemed the natural choice for me due to the range of courses and the facilities on offer to its students. One thing that did actually seal the BSc course for me, was, our intake was the very first on the course so I would like to think that we structured some of the development for future students.
Which of your lecturers do you remember fondly?
The three I can remember immediately from the degree course were Simon Pope, Stuart Neil and Wendy Keay-Bright. They brought a completely different thought process and perspective to not only the academic world, but to the world that I eventually branched into. Being able to throw ideas around on a daily basis with people who had actually be there and done it with their own businesses and projects, again give me the confidence and ideas to actually make the jump into my own business.
What has been your career path since graduating?
Since graduating, I have had the privilege of working with some very large companies in the financial sector within South Wales. This again, gave me the opportunities of working with some of the largest agencies in the UK that offered the services that Strive Media offer today. So in a funny kind of way, this has given me hands on experience of not only managing and working directly with companies that I could aspire to becoming, but allowed me into the “agency” world.
Do you have any advice for this year’s graduates?
Do not be afraid of capitalising on the knowledge around you, whether it sits with your lecturers or fellow students. You might just find that these individuals “have” actually been there and done it. One thing I have learnt very quickly in the world of business is that networking is one of the best forms of knowledge gathering and advertising, either your services or you as an individual. The other piece of advice would be, make the most of the facilities around you, whether it be simply conducting market research with fellow students or plugging into initiatives that university may offer its students.