Category Archives: The Times

Recent articles published in the Career section of The Times

Make the numbers add up

Finances for university can look like a minefield, but getting to grips with the system is relatively straightforward, says Rob Fowler, the co-ordinator of the student money advice and rights team at the University of Derby. The key: apply for loans early, prioritise accommodation costs and don’t ignore budgetary warning signs.

The first step is to cover course fees, which most students will do via a loan from the government. The tuition fee loan, which is not means-tested, is paid directly to the university; once students have applied and been approved, they don’t really need to think about it again until it needs to be repaid — more on this shortly.

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Disruptive technology at your door

Twenty years ago, sending someone a photo meant digging out the camera, processing the film, having the prints developed and popping a copy in the post. Ten years ago it was a matter of downloading your pics to computer and attaching it to an email. Today, however, we can take and share photos by phone in a matter of moments with no need for a traditional camera, let alone film, prints or the assistance of the Royal Mail; technology has thoroughly disrupted the photography market.

But it is far from alone. Any market, particularly if it is dominated by established players with a traditional approach, can find itself turned upside down by the arrival of new technology, according to George Tovstiga, professor of strategy and innovation management at Henley Business School.

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Wake up call to big business as tech-savvy newbies set the pace

The best tech start-ups are lean, agile and unafraid of taking risks in pursuit of new markets. By contrast, more traditional or longer-established businesses can struggle to do anything more than protect the status quo — an attitude that is limiting at best and could potentially leave them vulnerable to competitors who can respond faster to changing customer demands, according to Costas Andriopoulos, a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship at Cass Business School.

One of the main factors is that the bigger and more successful companies get, the less flexible they become. “Size leads to structural inertia, with layers and layers of management, and cultural intertia, which is the ‘this is how things are done here’ attitude,” Professor Andriopoulos said. “This can mean that the business will get set in its ways. It will try to protect the status quo instead of innovating.”

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