Paul Hodges

Country of origin: United Kingdom

Founder, The Grand Old Duke of Pork

Lancaster University Management School had been mentioned to me as one of the best in the country. I immediately liked the campus when visiting on an open day, and after talking to current students and the department, I knew I wanted to apply to LUMS.

One of the key things I liked about BA Management and Entrepreneurship was both the small number of students I’d be with but also the easy access to entrepreneurs.

Group work is always interesting at degree level. My favourite was probably as part of the Business Planning module which was a very interesting and useful module and our group got along really well, meaning that we worked hard but also had fun doing it. I also really enjoyed meeting, hearing from and speaking to local entrepreneurs - I was fascinated by their journey and they inspired me to start my own business.

I found the social side of University as, if not more, important an experience than the academic side! I am the proud co-founder of the Lancaster University Badminton Society (BadSoc) which runs as an alternative (but still with close links) to the Badminton club, allowing students to come and play badminton in a social rather than competitive environment.

My most rewarding and best time of the life, not just University, was joining Bailrigg FM, the student radio station. It allowed me to take part in a whole range of activities and experiences, including massive outside broadcasts such as the annual Roses sporting contest, and planning events like the Bailrigg FM Festival. Most of all I met some truly amazing people, many of who I regularly keep in touch with. I would strongly advise students to get involved with as many things as possible as it's these moments and the people that you meet that become the real memories of University – you won't get another opportunity quite like it!

In my third year I had a twelve-month placement in the Department of Entrepreneurship, Strategy and Innovation at LUMS. I helped organise various events both large and small. I was also involved in a number of consultancy projects with small businesses from the North West, helping with aspects such as marketing, research and entering new markets. After my placement I was invited back to work part-time, earning money that was vital in allowing me to start a business.

My experience in Lancaster has definitely been some of the best times of my life. It's got a great community feel to it, you can walk round and virtually be guaranteed to see someone you know. It has set me up with a great base to build on and I've met some amazing people whom I hope to still be in contact with long, long into the future. Despite leaving Lancaster I still feel like I've not seen the last of it yet!

Shortly after graduating from Lancaster University in 2011, I founded my own business, The Grand Old Duke of Pork, allowing customers to go online to design their own bespoke sausages which I would make and send out.

One year on, after an exciting year learning more than I could ever imagine and winning a range of awards, including 2012 'Student Innovator of the Year' and 'Enterprising Alumni of the Year', I sold the company, having learnt a huge amount. 

I now work as a project manager with Manchester-based video production company Lanor Productions.