14 March 2024

PA Consulting Ltd generously supported the Next Level programme with over £13,000 in funding. This annual programme organised by the Westminster Enterprise Network (WeNetwork), connected students with their academic research deliverables and improved their entrepreneurial thinking and skills. Students had the chance to engage in in-person and online workshops around data collection and actionable insights and were supplied with various on-demand content around research methods. They also had the chance to gain feedback via a mentoring roundtable and facilitating practice focus groups and interviews.  

At the end of a week of immersion in the process of forming ideas, user validation research and the entrepreneurial mindset, students had the opportunity to present their progress and consider how their projects would work in the real-world. Those completing the week gained a certificate to showcase their achievements and those pitching on the last day won a share of a £4000 prize pot. 

The programme was generously funded by the PA Foundation, and further supported by mentors from PA Consulting during the mentoring roundtable.  

Amongst the prize winners were Timur Martinez-Mukimov, who is studying their PhD in Computer Science, Andras Melles, a Music Business Management MA student, Ziwen Bai, a Logistics and Supply Chain Management MSc student, Film BA Honours student Paolo Grassi and two Digital Marketing BA Honours students Mohamad Ali Izadi and Edward Lai.

To sum up the week, Zsofia Kunvari, Enterprise Education Officer at the Westminster Enterprise Network, said: “We took great care and time in organising this programme to maximise students’ experience and the value they can take from it. It was really encouraging to see 19 students pitching at the end of the week, highlighting the incredible potential these projects have and the fact that students really took on board the idea that their research carries value beyond the coursework submission deadline.”  

Timur Martinez-Mukimov, PhD researcher and winner of the £600 final pitch prize, said: “The week-long series of workshops was exactly what I needed to kickstart my research. As my project was in the realm of applied science, I was in need of very specific guidance, specialists who are both versed in research and have experience of real-life integration of solutions (who were present during the week). Secondly, I really liked that WeNetwork invited several participants for us to interview and get an understanding of the background and different views of our idea. Finally, it was a pleasant surprise that WeNetwork provided funding for everyone who participated and were active. Next Level helped me develop a vision for the future of my project after its PhD defence.” 

Jules Attanayake, Development Officer within the Fundraising and Development Team, said: “We have created a much valued new partnership with PA Consulting Ltd, who decided to generously fund this programme for the first time. Consultant employees from PA Consulting Ltd joined us throughout the week acting as mentors to our student participants offering guidance on their academic research projects, and helped to shape their thinking and methodologies around taking their projects to market in the outside world. Feedback from the mentors will inform our own thinking in shaping our Next Level programme. We are immensely grateful for the support from PA Consulting, and look forward to developing our partnership in the future.”

This initiative contributed toward the Quality Education (4) development goal of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which were adopted by the University of Westminster to help make the University a more sustainable, responsible and inclusive place to live, work and study.

To find out how you can support opportunities at Westminster, please contact the University's Development Team.

Find out more about WeNetwork at the University of Westminster.