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Study a postgraduate course with us

Monday 14 January 2019

Following studying for an undergraduate degree at the University of Sheffield, Holly Ormrod-Stebbings came to Sheffield Hallam in 2010 to embark on a postgraduate course in Architecture.

Holly has since set up her own business, Astrid Architects, and believes that it is the applied learning techniques and practical skills that she gained whilst studying at Hallam which have helped her transition into setting up her own business.

We caught up with Holly to find out more about her journey so far, and to reflect on her experiences as a postgraduate student.

What was your experience of studying a postgraduate course at Sheffield Hallam?

It was great. I was in two minds after doing my degree about whether I wanted to carry on with architecture, but then I got a job and really enjoyed it. I was worried that if I went back to university, I was just going to be doing another course and it'd be mostly about learning the theoretical side of things. But when I came to Hallam, it just seemed like it was that perfect mix of practical working skills and theoretical study. It was a part-time course, so we were only on campus one day a week. There were some very intensive days, but it teaches you to be very good at managing your time.

The other good thing about the course is if someone wanted to take a year out, the department would be adaptable and flexible with it. Architecture has a reputation to be a privileged course, but it isn't; Hallam is very realistic about what your situation might be. The teaching was great, and I think compared to other experiences I've had, the lecturers actually wanted us to succeed and they invested in us. It was the right kind of experience for me and I've learned a lot from it.

Why did you choose to study in Sheffield?

I'm not from Sheffield originally; I came up for university in 2005. I grew up in the countryside and never thought that I'd want to live in a city because it'd be too busy, but Sheffield feels so friendly, small scale, green and there are a lot of parks around. It does feel like you're connected to people and things; there's a close-knit community and loads of things to do. It's great.

What are your plans for the future?

I really enjoy managing people and I'm a good delegator so if things with my business grow, I might have an opportunity to bring somebody else on board. It's a balance because you've got to be sure there's enough work coming in - I think it'd be a more difficult decision than it was actually setting up the business initially. To be honest the first place I'd probably look if I was going to take on a junior member of staff would probably be the Sheffield Hallam students. I think given the experience I've had and the fact I came out with some really good practical skills and a good understanding of how architecture works in the real world says a lot about the University.

What advice would you give somebody who wanted to set up their own business?

It's all about taking the leap and not being scared to do it. I think most people are put off by the fear of what might happen. It's a risk but I think sometimes it's almost something that happens, like I've got to make a change - an epiphany. Go out there and make connections with people. We live in such a digital era now and I think people assume you can do things behind a screen, but it's great to meet people in real life and build a real connection as you'll be memorable and stick in their mind.

If you are interested in studying a postgraduate qualification with us, come along to our Post-graduate Open Day on Wednesday 27th February 2019.

To find out more about our postgraduate alumni scholarship offer, and to check your eligibility, please click here.

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