MSc Business Information Technology students share their experience

I think the MSc Business Information Technology (BIT) students are fantastic! This video gives an idea of the diversity of background and ambitions of our students. From a part-time student with family commitments, to a full-time student who managed to get a high-flying job while still studying – they have all got something out the course. Have a watch…

The course is designed to offer a strong vocational focus, and can be studied full-time or part-time.But also, this course gives people a chance an insight into what it’s like to work in an internationalised profession: this year’s cohort had real mix, and included students from Byelorussia, Ghana, Germany, Oman, Luxemburg, Bulgaria, Nigeria, Tanzania, the USA… and Scotland!

Past graduates have moved on to careers including consultancy, business analysis, or technical sales. You can see another video (with students from a year ago) here.

Find out more…

You can find out more about the course on the university website: full-time / part-time. You can also email me – the MSc BIT programme leader –  at p.cruickshank@napier.ac.uk.

To ask general questions about entry requirements and studying at Edinburgh Napier, email us at pgadmissions@napier.ac.uk or phone us on +44(0)333 900 6040.

Peter Cruickshank (the programme leader)

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Honours Project Posters, November 2016

Yesterday we celebrated another cohort of students finishing their Honours Projects, and it was great to see the results of their work proudly on display. The Honours Project is a substantial individual piece of work and acts as a ‘portfolio piece’, showing the skills and abilities students have developed during their studies. This cohort of students undertook the year-long industry placement between 2nd and 3rd year, and most of them re-visited their placement for their Projects, and based their work on live business technology projects.

Well done, all!

Caitlyn and Sophie in front of their Honours Project posters
Caitlyn and Sophie in front of their Honours Project posters
Gavin and Maciej explain their work to Prof Hazel Hall
Gavin and Maciej explain their work to Prof Hazel Hall
Group Selfie - left to right, Gavin Whyte, Prof Hazel Hall, Dr Colin Smith, Caitlyn Adair, Sophie McMillan, Maciej Korpak, Fenton Ho, Steven Ritchie, Marta Stachon, and BSc BIS Leader Jyoti Bhardwaj
Group Selfie – left to right, Gavin Whyte, Prof Hazel Hall, Dr Colin Smith, Caitlyn Adair, Sophie McMillan, Maciej Korpak, Fenton Ho, Steven Ritchie, Marta Stachon, and BSc BIS Leader Jyoti Bhardwaj

Scott’s summer placement as a ‘Growth Hacker’ at Skyscanner

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Hello Scott, can you tell me about yourself?

Sure, I’m Scott Grigor and I’m originally from Aberdeen. I started studying BSc Computing at Edinburgh Napier in 2013, but quickly decided it wasn’t for me – there was too much coding! Luckily, I was able to transfer onto BSc Business Information Systems, which was attractive because it’s still has the technology focus, but it’s more about design, planning and management.

Where were you on summer placement?

I was on summer placement with Skyscanner, working in a team called the ‘Traveller Communication Squad’. Basically, we’re in charge of email marketing, push notifications and price alerts, all to make sure that the company is keeping in touch with the customer base.

How did you find the summer placement?

Well, for a start I knew that I wanted one well before I started applying! I’d decided not to do the year long placement that’s an optional part of my course, and so I had my eye on the summer between 3rd and 4th year to get an experience that would look good on my CV. I considered applying for summer camp in the US before hearing about Skyscanner’s internship programme. Skyscanner are probably one of the best known and regarded companies in the tech sector in Scotland, so I was interested straight away. I filled out the online application form last November, then waited until the following March when I had a Skype interview. I was asked along to an assessment centre at the company’s offices straight afterwards. There, we had to work on a group presentation, complete some individual tasks and then have a one-to-one interview. I was one of the lucky ones who was got the job!

Tell us about your role

My job title was ‘Growth Hacker’. Everything at Skyscanner is done along ‘lean’ and ‘agile’; principles, aimed at getting good work done quickly. Growth Hackers help to grow the number of users of the website by trying out new things, quickly! Our focus is on activating user interest, acquiring them as customers and retaining them as loyal users of the website into the future.

I worked on a few projects, two of the main ones were the Skyscanner Forum, where our goal was to increase use of the discussion forum on the website, and a Web Development project, where we had to design and implement some functionality on the website for product price alerts.

How do you think the experience will help you, once you graduate?

I already had some work experience via a part-time supermarket job, but the summer placement is something I’m really proud of and I’m making a lot of it on my CV. I feel that I’ve had a valuable chance to put my skills into practice during my studies – and learnt some good skills and industry practices on top. Getting the chance to do this while working in one of Scotland’s highest profile companies was great. I’ve met lots of new people and made good contacts, and I’ve got lots to talk about in future job interviews. And one of the best outcomes so far is that I’ve been kept on at Skyscanner for a part-time role in the final year of my degree, so it’s goodbye to supermarket shifts! It’s all been very valuable.

How do you feel about the future?

Positive! Now that I’ve had the summer placement I feel that I’ve got experience which puts me in a good position for applying for graduate jobs. And I’ve already been through a lot of the recruitment processes that big companies use, so I feel like I know the ropes.

Can you sum up your placement in three words?

Challenging, rewarding and fun.

Join us to celebrate Ada Lovelace Day on Tuesday 11th October

This year Edinburgh Napier University is inviting female school students and their teachers along to an event to celebrate the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths on Ada Lovelace Day, 11th October 2016, at our Craiglockhart Campus.

Forensics Workshop
Forensics Workshop

There is a choice of hands-on workshops from 4pm, followed by refreshments and culminating in Professor Caroline Wilkinson’s public lecture at 6pm. The event is suitable for students in S1 to S3. Choose between a forensics workshop and a physical computing workshop.

Workshop 1: Finger prints, a forensics investigation

The workshop will be a crime scene and the girls will be using fingerprint and forensics investigation to identify who committed the crime.

This workshop, hosted by SmartSTEMs, introduces some of the techniques used in forensics science.

Workshop 2: Hands on with Arduino

Arduino Workshop

In this workshop we will introduce you to the basics of Arduino, input and output. You will learn to program flashing lights and control them with various devices. Where you take it from there is up to you.

From small beginnings great things grow. Why not join with the thousands of enthusiasts, hobbyists, students and professionals who are using Arduino to develop computing solutions for an unimaginable range of applications. This is the same technology you can use to make interactive wearable electronics, robotics, security systems, LED lighting controls and remote device control using mobile phones. Arduino is fun and cheap and you can use it to do whatever you want.

*Refreshments*

Public Lecture: Professor Caroline Wilkinson

Director of the Face Lab at Liverpool John Moores University

You may have come across Caroline’s forensic anthropology work – depicting faces of the dead for identification purposes. You have probably seen at least one of the faces (models) that Caroline has created of historical figures, such as Richard III, Mary Queen of Scots, or J.S. Bach. You may have seen Caroline on TV in Meet the Ancestors or History Cold Case.

Caroline will talk about her unique career, combining science, art, forensics, computing, and anatomy. Following the aims and traditions of Ada Lovelace Day, Caroline will also provide insights and inspiration into the vital roles of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM).

Get involved

Teachers: if students from your school would like to come to the workshops, please email Debbie Meharg: d.meharg@napier.ac.uk

If you just want to come to the (free) public lecture, please register here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/a-lecture-with-caroline-wilkinson-tickets-27674666673

Caroline Wilkinson
Caroline Wilkinson

More about Caroline Wilkinson’s Ada Lovelace Day seminar from Prof Hazel Hall.

Last year, our Ada Lovelace day lecture was given by Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock.

Steven – from a summer placement to a graduate job offer

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Q. Hi Steven – can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m studying the BSc Business Information Systems degree in the School of Computing at Edinburgh Napier University. I’m actually a mature student – I started studying Chemistry at another university but I didn’t like the course and left. I then worked with SKY for a while, first in customer services and then eventually I was able to get involved in some interesting cross-team project work, which I really enjoyed. I decided that if I wanted to get a permanent graduate position doing that kind of work I’d need to get a relevant degree, and that’s what led me to the BSc Business Information Systems.

Q. Where were you on summer placement?

I’ve just finished a ten week placement with RBS.

This is the second placement I’ve done during the Business Information Systems degree. The first was a year-long placement between second and third year – I was able to gain course credit for that one, as well as having a great experience and getting paid! The summer placement at RBS between third and fourth year gave me even more experience  – and was also very well paid!

Q. How did you find your summer placement?

We’ve got a placement office on-campus, and Maureen Ronaldson sends emails out to students about summer placement opportunities and can usually answer any questions or give advice before applying. So, the first I heard about the RBS placement was through an email from Maureen. I had already decided to look for a summer placement so it was a case of the right message coming through at the right time.

There was an online application form, and then I had a telephone interview. Finally, I was asked to go along to an assessment centre (which was quite interesting) and then I got the job.

Q. Tell us about the role

My placement was on RBS’ Business Technology programme, and my position was Operational Analyst in the Technology Solutions Centre. This centre controls the main technical infrastructure for the bank, the mainframes and distributed servers that support all of the banking operations. It was my job to help monitor these systems.

The role was actually very varied. There was day-to-day monitoring of how the systems are being used in the business – who is accessing the systems, when, and how data files that are of high importance to the bank are being used. I also helped analyse and present data, taking raw numbers and turning them into infographics to explain how our systems are performing. I had to write a process document to help manage a process change, and that meant doing a lot of internal networking to get information from all the people who would be involved in the change, that was a good experience. And because I’m interested in security, I was able to get involved in some of that side of things.

Q. How will the experience help you once you’ve graduated?

Immensely – at the end of the summer placement I was offered a place on the RBS graduate scheme, without having to go through any further interviews or assessment centres!

RBS, like a lot of other big employers, are able to use the summer placement as an ‘extended audition’, and on the last day all of the interns find out whether they are being offered a position after they graduate. Many do – and I’m very pleased to say that I am one of them. I had a great time at RBS during the summer and I’m really looking forward to joining the graduate scheme once I finish my degree.

Q. How do you feel about the future?

Very optimistic and excited. Before summer, I had been a bit anxious about my final year at university, knowing that I’d have a lot of work to complete for my degree while also feeling the pressure to apply for graduate jobs – which can take a lot of time and effort. Now that I’ve secured my graduate job, I feel that I can concentrate on my studies without feeling anxious about what’s coming next.

Q. Sum up your placement in three words!

Best. Decision. Ever.

Keeping up to date with SAP

Large organisations need advanced software to help manage their operations, and the market leader in this field is SAP, a suite of software applications that can help businesses manage raw materials, and organise production, marketing and sales (and much more!) – all from a single point. SAP software is used across many sectors – from car manufacturing and aerospace through to healthcare and even by media companies and supermarket chains.

This week I’ve been at the 21st SAP Academic Conference in Potsdam, Germany – what a beautiful city. The event has allowed me to get up-to-speed with the latest developments from SAP, particularly SAP HANA, developed to help businesses better analyse and use the massive amounts of data they produce. Making the most of ‘Big Data’ – from detailed sales figures all the way to customer Tweets – is a huge priority for businesses.

We make sure our students understand some of the main techniques involved by exploring the data analysis and data exploration capabilities of SAP. Being part of the SAP University Alliance guarantees that we get access to SAP software and valuable case study material, enabling us to help students develop skills and knowledge that are in demand from employers.

Debbie Meharg, Lecturer, Information Systems Subject Group

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Pioneering business simulations

It’s work hard/play hard for the Information Systems group as we master the latest in business simulation games. At Edinburgh Napier University, our first year information systems students learn to run their own businesses and work in teams through playing SimVenture –a sophisticated business and market simulation game.

This year we’re one of the first universities in the world to pioneer the latest version of this game –SimVenture Evolution. This business simulation game supports the students to experience the main elements of a business – sales and marketing, creating and promoting products, managing staff, resources and finance – and to understand how they fit together.

Getting ready to come back from placement – Maria

Q. Hi Maria – can tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Maria Oyegbile and I’m studying BSc (Hons) Business Information Systems. I joined the course 2014 as a second year student after completing my HND, and I’m now coming towards the end of the year-long work placement that we do between second and third year.

Q. Where are you on placement?
I’m with Caledonian Produce, part of the Bakkavor Group, located in Bo’ness, West Lothian. The company supplies prepared foods to Marks and Spencers, it employs over 1500 employees and it’s the biggest company I have ever worked for.

Q. Tell us about your role
I’m the site IT contact supported by the Group Central Information Systems team in Spalding. My role is very varied which makes it more interesting. It ranges from installation of software and hardware to networking, sorting out user errors in person or via proxy, maintenance of IT equipment like printers, scanners, phones and projectors, project management (my favourite), purchasing of IT equipment, working with third party contractors to resolve user issues, closely working with group IT to resolve issues, training staff in using IT equipment, writing user manuals and carrying out the company IT induction, setting up user company mobiles and desk phones, changing the back-up tapes among others.

Q. It sounds like you’ve been doing a lot in the past year! How will this help your studies when you come back?
This experience has been very rewarding and beneficial, I have learnt so much in one year. It’s helped me to better understand what I studied at university before placement and now I have both the practical and academic knowledge. For example I now understand things like Intranets and Extranets even more after having studied them in one of the modules (Enterprise Systems) in 2nd year.

I’ve also gained confidence in dealing with various individuals and groups of peoples on various levels. I’ve worked on different projects like the file and print server migration, Installation of Internet Explorer 11, upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7, installation of programs on to Virtual servers among others with different managers, individuals and teams. I have had to communicate with them in person, on the phone and also via email and my confidence has grown immensely.

Q. Do you think the experience will help you once you’ve graduated?
I have learnt so much throughout my placement and I believe the skills I have acquired will help me secure a good job after my studies. I have learnt how to be professional, deal with various people, address a large group of people, chair meetings, prepare agendas, and send out minutes among other things.

Q. What support do you have from the University while you were on placement?
I got help even before I applied! I attended placement workshops which encouraged me to apply for placement, placement jobs were well advertised on the university site and also e-Placement Scotland. I got help structuring my CV and also training in interview skills and techniques.

When out on placement, I was assigned a tutor for the duration, Gemma Webster, who has come out to visit me and meet my manager. It was good to know that I have someone I can discuss any work issues with if I needed to. I also have support from Moodle, the university site. There is lots of information that has been put on Moodle to help with the weekly log, portfolio and reports. This information was helpful especially during the initial stages of creating my web log.

Q. What support do you have from your employer?
On site I am fully supported by my manager who is very easy to talk to and work with. We regularly have meetings to catch up on any issues or projects that are happening.

I am also fully supported by the Central IS Team in Spalding. Teams range from Infrastructure, Technical Delivery, Desktop Support, Applications Support, Project Managers and Business Analysts among others. They all provided support depending on the sort of issues being dealt with at the time. On occasions, various teams have come on site to help me with ongoing projects like the file and print server migration project.

Q. Sum up the experience in 3 words?
Fantastic, hard work and worthwhile.

Thanks Maria – and we’re looking forward to having you back on campus!

More about work placements in Edinburgh Napier’s School of Computing.

Hear from postgraduate MSc Business Information Technology students

The MSc Business Information Technology (BIT) students are a great bunch of people with a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. I thought it would be great to ask two of them to explain why they are studying at Edinburgh Napier University, and how it will help their future career plans.

The course is designed to offer a strong vocational focus, and can be studied full-time or part-time. Past graduates have moved on to careers including consultancy, business analysis, or technical sales.

Find out more…

You can find out more about the course on the university website: full-time / part-time. You can also email me – the MSc BIT programme leader –  at p.cruickshank@napier.ac.uk.

To ask general questions about entry requirements and studying at Edinburgh Napier, email us at pgadmissions@napier.ac.uk or phone us on +44(0)333 900 6040.

Peter Cruickshank