Super Seven Skills in Esports 

On Friday 8 September our Associate Dean for Recruitment Rachel Gowers, set off on a trip to Bergen Norway to see esports in the classroom.  Rachel’s journey started off bright and early by flying to Bergen and then catching a bus into the City Centre, then catching a train, another bus which turned out to be the wrong bus before deciding to get a taxi to the Norwegian School… I would say she has definitely been on an adventure even before the esports fun commenced.

 

Once Rachel arrived at the school she was introduced by Petter Grahl Jonstad, who assisted in introducing esports to the school in 2016. Petter originally had a background in social science and used his research to find out the transferable skills acquired through sports and chess.  When creating the esports course his philosophy was to look at the whole student as well as provide general well-being. To do this he decided that students would have two hours a week of gym sessions, 1 hour of strength training and 3 hours of game play a week to make sure they had a good balance. Petter was very interested in engaging students who were non-academic and to do this he made the requirement that all students must pass all their other subjects, by doing this he has seen a general improvement in attitude, motivations, English language and overall improved communication.

Our focus is not only on the mechanics of the game, but also on how a team works, theory regarding motivation as a professional gamer and, last but not least, teamwork. Understanding the game is one thing, but if the communication does not work within the team, if the players can’t rely on each other, you practically have nothing in our opinion”
Petter Grahl Jonstad

Since introducing esports the school has become oversubscribed and students are even moving house to attend the college. The classes are taught by ex-pro gamer Sindre Rygg, who has competed in the second biggest area network called The Gathering and went to Korea to compete in The Masters of Cheon where they came fourth.

While in Norway Rachel got to meet the next generation of esports managers and players, this allowed Rachel to visualise what type of graduates will be coming out of Staffordshire Business School in the near future. Rachel spoke to three of the students studying esports and here is what they had to say:

‘Esports helps me to concentrate in other classes because I know I have to work hard.’
Christian Nilsen

‘Esports helps me to communicate and work in a team to achieve something’.
Henrik Flo Wilhelmsen

‘Esports practices your brain to think quickly and have fast reaction times.’
Jorgen Treit Brevset

Rachel has come back from Norway more driven and inspired to get the esports course ready for 2018 and cannot wait for it to be part of the Business School. She has also learnt the super seven skills that will be imbedded within the course. These skills are:

  • Decision Making
  • Multi-tasking
  • Problem Solving
  • Perception
  • Communication
  • Team Builder
  • Numeracy

Click here for more information on studying a BA (Hons) Esports degree at Staffordshire University

Joshua Lonsdale, Graduate Intern within Staffordshire Business School

Business School accounts on twitter

Main School accounts

Business School @BusinessStaffs several staff and students have access to this account, the main users are Prof Jon Fairburn and Angela Lawrence. Ranked No 1 by Edurank for Business Schools

Tourism and Events – @tourismsu Prof Jon Fairburn and students

Management Team

Dr Peter Jones @pgwjones_dr Dean and ‘selfie king’

Rachel Gowers @rggowers   Associate Dean Recruitment and e-sports

Alison Maguire @AMAG45   Head of Department- Accounting, Finance and Economics

Dr Vish  Maheshwari @DrVish_M Head of Business, Management and Marketing

Academics

Tony Bickley – @tonybickley    Accounting  and #parlez-vous digital

Prof Rune By @Prof_RuneTBy Organisational Behaviour & Change Leadership

Isabel Clarke @theisabelclarke Events management

Dr Nurdilek Dalziel @NurdilekDalziel Digital marketing

Paul Dobson @PaulDobsonuk Digital marketing, entrepreneurship, SMEs, social enterprises

Dr Jana Fiserova @DrJanaFiserova Economics, DBA and European partnerships

Dr Andy Hanks @ajhanks_dr  HRM, CIPD, trade unions

Dr Andy Hirst @AndyHirst1956 International Business, Supply Chain Management, Risk Mgt Project Mgt, Strategy and Leadership

Dr Mehtap Hisarciklilar @MHisarciklilar  Economics, PhD enquiries

Dr John Hudson @brucie_rooster  Employee well being

Dr Andras Kenez @Andras_Kenez  Marketing

Angela Lawrence @IteroAnge  Apprenticeships and marketing

Dr Tolu Olarewaju @ToluOlarewaju Economics

Karl McCormack –  @KMcCormackSU Accounting

Bharati Singh @BharatiCSingh Strategy and banking

Carol Southall @cdesouthall  Tourism and Events Management

Hazel Squires – @HazelSquire Under-graduate Business Management Award Leader, Small Business Charter and Silverworkers project

Mark Wordley @markwordleyUK Accounting and finance, work placements and SMEs

Courses

MSc Digital Marketing Management  @MScDigStaffs

Projects

EU project @Silverworkers 

EU project  EUFORIA @XKeuforia

Welcome to Staffordshire University!

Welcome week, more commonly known as Freshers’ week, is officially your first week at university and is the perfect opportunity for you to unpack, make new friends and find out more about your course. My advice would be to get involved with as much as you can to ensure you get the most out of this first week.

Your first day of your new independent life will begin on Saturday 16th September – Moving in day! All your hard work over the past year has paid off and now is the time for your new adventure to start as you move into your new home for the next year.

Before you can start unpacking you need to do your face-to-face enrolment in the sports hall – if you have been to one of our open days you may already know where this is but if not just ask one of our friendly Student Ambassadors and they will be happy to help. Here you will not only receive the keys to your new home, but you will also get your student card which enables you to get student discount in a wide variety of shops and restaurants!

When everything is unpacked and you have met your flatmates, it’s time to relax and have a bit of fun before your studying starts. The LRV will be hosting a ‘Moving In Party’ and this is your chance to meet lots of other first years from all different courses and enjoy yourself (please drink responsibly, DrinkAware have some hints and tips for staying safe).

On Sunday 17th September, there is a family fun day open to everyone where there will be stalls, street food, music and much more! It is also enrolment day for students who are studying off site which will take place in the sports hall.Monday 18th September is officially the first day of Welcome Week. Each individual course will give out their timetable and there will be welcome sessions where you will find out more information about your course. These sessions are important and I highly recommend that you attend – start how you mean to go on! In the sessions, you will get the following information:

  • A breakdown of your course
  • The plan for the year
  • Meet your tutors – Good first impressions are important
  • Reading/books list
  • Meet your course mates – you will be learning and working with these people so good to get off on a good start!

Wednesday 20th September is the Students’ Union Day and is the highlight of Welcome Week! This day hosts the ‘Freshers’ Fair/Commercial Fair’ (located in the LRV) where you can get your hands on lots of freebies, discounts, vouchers and food! The ‘Clubs and Societies Fair’ (located in the sports hall and Brindley outpost) is also held on Wednesday and gives you the chance to browse and join up to a number of the hundreds of clubs and societies that are run across the university.

On Thursday 21st September, the LRV is hosting a ‘Laser Tag’ event, 16:00-21:00 and entry is free!

Friday 22nd September is the last day of Welcome Week and is the launch of the LRV‘s new club night ‘Eclipse’.

Don’t forget to check out the wristbands available to purchase that will guarantee entry to the Move-In Party, special events and club nights. Click here to get yours!

For more advice on what to do and where to go during welcome week click here.

Enterprise training for 50 somethings and over

Are you aged 50 or over and are you thinking about setting up your own business? Or maybe you just fancy exploring a few ideas and getting some training?

Do you have a hobby or interest in an area you could turn into a business? Do you want a better work-life balance? Are you unemployed, facing redundancy or looking for a change? If the answer to any of these questions is yes then sign up now to this exciting new training course with the Business School at Staffordshire University.

We are offering you the opportunity to participate in a free face to face and online learning course that has been developed through identifying the needs of older workers. Through coaching, mentoring and training provided you will potentially be able to develop the entrepreneurial and enterprising knowledge and skills necessary to set up your own business.

Older woman facing camera behind flowers

We will look at areas such as how to obtain finance for your business and assess its viability. We even look at how to come up with a business idea in the first place, and once you know what you want to do we then guide you through the process of how to set it up. We help you to identify who your customers will be and how to promote your product to them. For those of you who feel you lack confidence we look at how to overcome some of the obstacles and barriers to ensure success.

The first of these courses will commence on 7th November 2017 and will include approximately 40 hours of face to face and online learning over a period of 1-3 months. The training is flexible so that you can choose to study the areas that best suit your needs. Following the training you will be signposted to a range of mentoring and support in the development of your business.

To register your interest in the course, please complete the application form using one of the links below. If you have completed the downloadable application form, please return it to Tom Ward at t.ward@staffs.ac.uk or the postal address detailed on the form. Should you require further information or a hard copy of the form, you can e-mail Tom or contact him on 01782 294902.

Online application form

Downloadable application form

Twitter: @silver_workers

Silver Workers "Use your expertise" logo

Funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union and EU flag logo

Staffordshire Business School Gets Full Marks in National Student Survey

Staffordshire University are pleased to announce that they have received 100% in the National Student Survey 2017 for their Accounting and Finance 2 Year Accelerated degree.

Earlier this year the subject area was also ranked 1st for Student Satisfied with Teaching in The Guardian League Tables 2018 and in the Complete University Guide we were number 1 in the Midlands for student satisfaction.

Karl McCormack – Course Leader joined Staffordshire Business School in 2010, and is a member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and has expertise in forensic accounting and fraud risk management.

Karl said:
“It is really good to see that our accounting students are having such a great experience on their course and at Staffordshire University. Our strong personal tutoring programme, staff enthusiasm and promotion of the Staffordshire Graduate Attributes all play a crucial role in these results. It must not be forgotten though that the dedication of staff, both academic and support, shapes the overall experience.”

 

Acting Dean of Staffordshire Business School, Dr Peter Jones, added: “These results are testament to the great work that our Accountancy and Finance team does in producing a fantastic student experience. To be ranked number 1 in the UK is a real achievement.”

 

The measures for teaching on the course were as follows:

Staff are good at explaining things – 100%
Staff have made the subject interesting – 100%
The course is intellectually stimulating – 100%
The course has challenged me to achieve my best work – 100%

In fact the course attracted 100% satisfaction ratings in no fewer than 20 of the 27 categories.

For more information on our Accounting and Finance courses click here

The Importance of Employability Skills – Get Ready for Employability Challenge!

Without a doubt, one of the main challenges for students today is that different employers look for different sets of employability skills. However, it can be difficult for students to think about their employability skills whilst at university given busy schedules and pressure to meet assignment deadlines.

At Staffordshire University we take employability promise seriously. We want all of our students to graduate with the right employability skills and experience to enable them to follow their chosen career path. We promise our students to equip them with relevant employment skills and we deliver on our promise. We are proud about the fact that 97% of our graduates are in employment after graduating. When it comes to employability of our graduates, we are proud to be No. 1* in England for graduate employability. To achieve this, we work in partnership with many industry-leading organisations to help them tap into our home-grown graduate talent as well as helping students develop their employability skills through various initiatives and practices such as mentoring and work-shadowing. Global Entrepreneurial Week (GEW) event held at Staffordshire University every year plays the key role in equipping graduates with relevant work-related skills.

At Staffordshire University, we are committed to helping students maximise their employability and ultimately finding their dream graduate job, by offering a range of career-related events. In particular, GEW is an annual event at Staffordshire University that brings together a range of industry leading employers on campus during which students can meet and network with employers to find out about employment opportunities. Organised specifically for students, GEW and FutureFest event is designed to inform students about the future world-of-work. The Staffordshire University is committed to helping students maximise their employability, therefore the program is centred on topics that can help students succeed in every step of their career development process.

However, whilst we are committed to bringing leading business experts to share their expertise with students, there is also an expectation from students to actively participate in this event in order to get the most out of this unique opportunity for their career development. How to make the most out of this event? Network, network, network. Forward thinking students always have their CVs on hand to give out to potential employers. If you have never written a CV, you could get a professional help from the Career Office, who would assist you in writing a professionally looking CV, highlighting your transferable skills, and any work experience you have to date.

GEW and FutureFest event will provide students with an excellent opportunity to meet employers, discuss job opportunities, better understand career opportunities across various industries, get industry insights from recruiters, network with Industry leaders or simply get inspired. So, if you’re looking for your dream job or just looking to further enhance your employability skills, come along to GEW and FutureFest event held at Staffordshire University on November 13. We look forward to active participation of students in GEW and FutureFest 2017!

Dr Katerina Thomas, Senior Lecturer at Staffordshire Business School

www.staffs.ac.uk

 

*Joint with Bishop Grosseteste University, excluding specialist institutions. Source: DLHE 2017

What Next After Graduation?

Now you have completed an important journey of your life! It is truly a milestone and whether you have done it for yourself or for parents’/partner’s sake, the dedication, commitments and challenges have been great and will live with you for a very long time to come. From now on, anything that you wish to set as a target or challenge is within your reach! Some of you will be looking for jobs and others will make a decision whether to set another educational goal. A master’s degree perhaps, a PGCE or professional qualifications? Any and all are within your sight and sky is the limit for you! Whatever you would like to do, you are now the expert to confirm to yourself, yes, I can and I will do it…

Just to let you know that Staffordshire Business School offers a wide range of Masters degrees, just to mention few: MSc Accounting and Finance, MSc Digital Marketing Management, MSc International Business Management, MA Human Resource Management and MA Strategic Human Resource Management. Most of which attract a student finance loan of £10,280 to pay for the fees and your living costs. Because the University wanted to make it easy for those who wish to further their study, it set the Masters fees so low! Therefore, the £10,280 student finance loan is more than enough to pay the fees and goes a long way to cover significant part of your living expenses. For example, the fees for the MSc Accounting and Finance is £6,200 (for Home and EU students). The recipients of £10,280 from student finance will be left with £4,080 after paying the fees which they can use towards their living expenses!

Remember, if you are still finding it difficult to make this strategic decision about your future, your ‘former’ personal tutor, course leader and all other staff who taught you are only too pleased to discuss this with you. Of course the Postgraduate course tutors are there too to provide further details about their particular course.

Being the Connected University, the message is simple, do not hesitate to get in touch!

Arshad Hussain, Senior Lecturer at Staffordshire Business School.

www.staffs.ac.uk

Sustainable Supply Chain

Operating ethically and operating profitably are no longer mutually exclusive concepts. Leading companies are “walking the walk,” balancing the goal of achieving profitability with gaining social and environmental advantages.

Companies stuck in a mind-set of “what’s the minimum I need to do” are missing out on opportunities to use ethical business practices as an integral part of what makes them unique.

Achieving responsible and profitable supply chains is about gaining a triple advantage creating a clear business case for organisations, as well as benefits for the environment and society. Those focused on this “triple advantage” is supply chain operations can increase competitiveness through increased revenue and brand reputation while decreasing cost and risk.

To sustain competitiveness, companies need to recalibrate their strategies towards ethical behaviour—moving from a focus on compliance to differentiation. Companies engaged in responsible supply chain efforts often refer to their “license to operate.” That implies they’ve established trust with local governments and society by complying with regulations and establishing health and safety programs that give them tacit permission to do business.

So you may think what is a supply chain?

Supply chains are present in every economic sector – they are made up of connections between suppliers of all the goods and services that go into the delivery of products to consumers.

A sustainable supply chain is one that involves the incorporation of socio-cultural, environmental and economically viable practices placed into the full lifecycle of the supply chain. The full lifecycle of the supply chain means all the steps from product design and development, to selection of appropriate materials, manufacturing, packaging, transportation, storage, supply, consumption, and recycling.

What are sustainable tourism supply chains?

In the context of the tourism sector, a sustainable supply chain includes all suppliers of goods and services;

–        either contracted straight from tour operators and associated ground handlers

–        or via suppliers including accommodation providers

A holiday is the end product most commonly purchased in a tourism supply chain.

Sustainable Supply Chain (SSC) encapsulates the trend to use purchasing policies and practices to facilitate sustainable development at the tourist destination. Most research has focused on environmental aspects of manufacturing, while other aspects of sustainability or the challenges for the service sector are largely ignored. Yet SSC is particularly important for tour operators, as the product depends on the activities of suppliers such as accommodation, transport and activities. Therefore, tour operators’ contribution to sustainable tourism will be more effective through the definition and implementation of policies that acknowledge responsibility for the impacts of suppliers.

Across tourism supply chains, research has suggested that the process of implementing sustainable practices is most challenging in the area of transport, and most straight forward in accommodation. Attempt to generate sustainability at the scale of a destination need the combined efforts of the widest partnership of stakeholders.

It is therefore important, when supporting and connecting to a local destination, for businesses to have a strong grasp of the whole holiday experience and the type of advice that will be useful for customers. Each destination has its specific setting, but a general summary of links looks like this:

© 2003 Richard Tapper, Environment Business & Development Group

The Benefits

So why might a business wish to apply a sustainable tourism supply approach – what are the principal benefits?

All supply chains can be optimised using sustainable practices. Sustainability in the supply chain encapsulates a number of different priorities:

  • Environmental stewardship
  • Conservation of resources
  • Reduction of carbon footprint
  • Financial savings and viability
  • Social responsibility

Managing supply chains in a sustainable manner can help businesses in not only reducing their total carbon footprint, but also in optimising their end-to-end operations to achieve:

  • Improved credibility, visibility and brand reputation
  • Improved access to markets
  • Greater operational effectiveness leading to cost savings and profitability

We have created a free online tool to help you develop. Our training tool was developed by and with the tourism industry. This free online training covers 11 modules to complete with short quizzes at the end of each module. This tool helps you to design your own strategy in relation to your individual business needs.  All you need is an internet connection.

Click here to register and start your free online training today:  http://smartour.dcnet.eu/

Marzena Reszka, Staffordshire Business School


Reference

Accenture Consulting (2017). Walking the Walk Driving Competitiveness Through Ethical Supply Chains. [Online] Available from: www.accenture.com

Useful links

https://blogs.staffs.ac.uk/business/2017/04/10/service-quality-in-tourism-the-road-less-travelled/

SMARTOUR logo

Is a voice command system safe (or private) enough for you?

I love shopping online; the ease and convenience of shopping without the hassles of trying to find a parking spot and dealing with the crowds at the mall makes it attractive for me. Recently, one of the biggest online shopping events took place on July 10. It was an Amazon’s Black Friday-like sales event called Amazon Prime Day. One item that caught my eye was Amazon’s Echo.

Echo” is a smart speaker with a microphone and “Alexa” is Amazon’s voice command system that resides within Echo. Amazon is not the only company offering a smart command system. There is also Google Now and the latest Google Assistant, and Microsoft’s Cortana. These personal voice command assistants have downloadable “skills” which allow you to verbally tell them to do certain things, such as obtain weather reports, create to-do list, play your favourite songs, make phone calls, and write and send text messages, order take-away food from Deliveroo or UberEat or even shop online.

The ease, speed and convenience of these voice command assistants is that you no longer have to speak into your phone, as Apple’s Siri requires.  Essentially, when the voice command assistant hears its wake-up word (a word users set to prompt Alexa to action), the voice command system responds to your voice command/s as long as you are within earshot of the speaker’s microphone. It is always on ready standby for your next command.

However, as with all things, there are limitations with these voice command systems. For example, you can only give one command at a time to the voice command assistant and may get mixed-up if you use more than one device or if you set the same wake up word for each device it could then get confusing for both the system and the user. These voice command assistants may also have unforeseen or unintended consequences for the user.

For example, if like to eat corn chips or are an early riser then Alexa will know this because it helped created your grocery list and it helped to set your alarm to wake you up each morning. Thus, Alexa collects data from its users, sends this information to the cloud and presumably captures and uses the information for marketing purposes. You might think to yourself that this data collection is not a big deal but what is the big deal?

The big deal is that Alexa, in this case, is owned by Amazon – one of the largest online shopping sites in the world. Think about it. Once awaken, Alexa hears (and saves) everything unless you push the mute button or delete the information from the voice command assistant. You might soon start to notice that you are now getting suggestions from Amazon as different brands of corn chips available at Amazon’s website or other suggestions for books on the early bird getting the worm.

These voice command systems offer the consumer an innovative way to communicate with their environment and this may be the wave of the future, but at what cost will this come?

Here are six things to think about:

  1. What are the ramifications if Alexa being “on” and it overhears a conversation you are having with your house guest? There is an interesting case in the United States where police demanded that Amazon turn over information from a murder suspect’s Echo. You need to think of the possible ramifications of personal privacy once these voice command assistants are turned on and installed in cars or home appliances.
  2. What are the limitations placed on companies when collecting, using or disclosing consumers’ personal information? How much control will you be willing to forego over the use of your personal information?
  3. Do these companies re-sell, barter, or disclose the information to other companies or governments, and under what circumstances?
  4. Do consumers actually read a company’s privacy policy? Generally, most people simply “accept” the privacy policy without much thought.
  5. Should consumers be paid for the information they provide via these voice command systems or is the opportunity to use a company’s services enough compensation for you? Information is a valuable commodity after all and personal information collected about you may be invasive.
  6. Are the privacy concerns regarding the collection of personal information by these companies over blown? After all, there are ways to mute the voice command or delete the information from the system, right? Do you know if this is really possible?

Finally, you’ve probably heard a version of the “nothing to hide argument” which often gets cited in discussions around privacy and surveillance. It goes something like this: “I am not worried about being surveilled by X because I have nothing to hide.

Edward Snowden, the American ex-NSA intelligence employee, who copied and leaked classified information about global surveillance programs once said, “Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.

So, what are you willing to give up for the ease, speed and convenience of using these voice command systems? Perhaps you need to think about it a bit more before you let devices collect personal information about you?

Fatimah Moran, Senior Lecturer at Staffordshire Business School

Click here for information on the courses available at Staffordshire Business School

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3 Skills & Attributes To Focus On In The 21st Century!

As always graduation day was a very enjoyable and special day full of smiles, congratulations and a sense of having played a part (albeit a minor role) in someone’s life. This year I listened to Sarah Willingham, a fantastic entrepreneur, and as it happens a very inspiring speaker. Sarah’s story and advice was brilliant, poignant, uplifting and heartfelt and one word resonated with me and it was ‘Resilience’. “Remain resilient”, Sarah said.

I recalled my thoughts on employability attributes and skills in the 21st Century and how I can play a role in ensuring my students gain them. These skills go beyond disciplinary expertise and standard attributes such as:

• Oral & written communication
• Collaborator & networking skills
• Agility and adaptability
• Empathy and global stewardship
• Professionalism and self-regulation
• Critical thinking and problem solving
• Curiosity and imagination
• Initiative and entrepreneurialism
• Vision for the future.

I feel that there are three more attributes that are not focused on.
• Resilience
• Hope and optimism
• Grit

Resilience – the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties: toughness. This ability to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever, not allowing failure to overcome you. But how do I impart this ‘rubber ball’ ability? I decided to myself 3 questions:

• Do I help learners see failure as opportunity for growth?
• Do I encourage and reinforce learners own innate resiliency?
• Do I ensure each and every learner knows “You matter”?

Hope and optimism – confidence about the success of something or about the future, the glass being half full rather than half empty. Winston Churchill’s famous quote describes it well “a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Again, I asked some questions:

• Do I role model, teach, reinforce positive self-talk?
• Do I encourage a can-do attitude?
• Do I use examples that portray how others have succeeded or overcome adversity?

Grit – courage and resolve; strength of character. You’ve got to love that word, say it out loud. It’s about perseverance for long term goals and again highlighting this to students.

• How do I give learners opportunities to work on long-term, complex projects?
• Do I assist my students in identifying perseverance?
• Do I acknowledge the rewards of persevering through tough times?

Since asking these questions of myself I have starting to notice positive events, promoted seeking of new experiences, encouraged and role modelled the development of a positive attitude and self-belief and fostered a culture of listening. This has given a focus on my teaching. I have engaged in positive talk, maintained perspectives and developed a positive attitude.

So, what attributes and skills do you think are important and need to be added? How would you / do you develop them? What am I missing here? Let me know in the comments.

Karl McCormack, Lecturer – Accounting & Business

Click here for information on the courses available at Staffordshire Business School

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