Rhea Fofana is a third year Biotechnology with Enterprise undergraduate. She combines her studies of molecular biology and cell biology at the Faculty of Biological Sciences with enterprise modules delivered by the Centre for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Studies (CEES), exploring problem solving within science and the business aspect of new scientific developments.
Introducing Biology with Enterprise
It wasn’t until beginning her studies that Rhea discovered the course of Biotechnology with Enterprise. ‘I’ve been reading invention books since I was a child,’ admits Rhea. ‘So I called CEES at the Leeds University Business School when I knew I wanted to study more than just science. I discovered I’d be able to combine the taught element of science with enterprise studies: pitching ideas, quizzing others and getting called on for my opinions. The Biotechnology with Enterprise course just felt right, and there’s no other in the UK quite like it.’
Rhea was initially attracted to the Faculty of Biological Sciences for the course material and the University of Leeds on instinct. ‘I just loved the city!’ says Rhea. ‘I also found the lecturers welcoming and friendly.’
Laboratory bench to marketplace
Rhea’s Year in Industry as part of Biotechnology with Enterprise has had a hugely positive impact on her future career plans and potential opportunities. ‘I worked at Mars Petcare, the largest petcare producer in the marketplace,’ says Rhea. ‘I knew I had the applicable science skills, and my enterprise studies were invaluable. As an intern, I had stand-out business experience as well as being the only student studying sciences on the placement. I could pitch ideas with both a business and scientific approach with confidence.’
As a Product and Process Development Scientist in the Future Technology team, Rhea’s Year in Industry saw her invent new petcare products. ‘The fundamental science behind new product development was essential’, says Rhea. ‘But it was also invaluable to understand a pipeline, product lifecycles, and market reactions. My combined studies gave me a unique, and essential, perspective.’
Spark, the university’s hub for practical student startup support, has also been a huge support to Rhea throughout her studies. ‘Spark has been an incredible resource at my fingertips’, praises Rhea. ‘I’ve attended Spark workshops on business planning, and met with consultants and business professionals to discuss my ideas. Some of these advisers have science backgrounds, so they’ve been a great support to guide me on my next steps. I have plenty of ideas, particularly in the FMCG sector, including one for a food waste scheme to support local communities in Leeds.’
The next step for Rhea is applying to do a Masters at the University of Leeds in Materials Science and Bioengineering, knowing she’s gained the experience and knowledge to make a greater impact in industry.
‘I meet so many people who say they wish they’d taken the Biotechnology with Enterprise course’, says Rhea. ‘I’ve gained an incredibly unique knowledge of laboratory work and marketing at the same time. My undergraduate studies and my Year in Industry have been the first step to learn, gather and apply my knowledge. It’s given me the confidence and experience to go out in the working world and be successful.’
To learn more about the various ‘with enterprise’ undergraduate degree programmes that we offer, please see our website.