Enterprising student becomes local employer

Joshua McDonald graduated Chemical Engineering MEng in 2018. He is now Head of Business Development at Backslash Build, a digital development agency founded by Bath graduates right here in Bath.

SU Enterprise sat down with Joshua to find out how being involved with Student Enterprise shaped his journey from a student to a local employer.

Q: You graduated this summer. How is life as the Head of Business Development for a local company?

I’ve had a busy summer with a lot of amazing experiences. I left Bath after finishing my degree and went travelling with friends from university. I joined Backslash Build as the fifth member of the team and we’ve recently hired three more colleagues, one of whom is a Bath computer science student on placement. I have been involved in hiring new employees, designing our new website, developing our marketing and customer acquisition strategy and much more.

I have also been planning an exciting new initiative, called Backslash Academy, which is our mentorship scheme for University of Bath students looking to develop their programming skills. Applications for the Academy are open and we can’t wait to welcome 15 students from all departments.

Q: How did you find out about the role you’re in?

The real answer to this question is that I created the role for myself. I met the team in September 2017 when asking them to help with a student event I was organising on campus. We enjoyed working together so we created the role. I started with a part-time internship alongside my studies. The internship was made possible by the Santander Universities SME Internship programme and I would advise any student considering an internship to do it as you never know the great opportunities which might come out of it.

Q: You were Vice Chair of Bath Entrepreneurs during your studies. Has that helped you in any way?

Being Vice Chair of Bath Entrepreneurs was the best decision I made at university. I met so many great people, from students who are now some of my closest friends to successful entrepreneurs who will be very useful connections in the future. It was also a great way of improving many skills such as leadership and teamwork, but mainly it was just an extremely fun and rewarding thing to be a part of.

Q: What would you say to a Bath student interested in launching a start-up or working in one?

If you are a student interested in start-ups you should try to meet people with a similar interest. Being around these people will push you to learn more, get new ideas and you may even become co-founders. The best places to meet like-minded people when you are at university are societies like Bath Entrepreneurs or Enactus.

If you have an idea for a business you’d like to start then you should definitely start it. You have so much time at university to work on your idea and even if it doesn’t work out you will learn a lot from the process.

Learn more about SU Enterprise at https://www.thesubath.com/enterprise/.

Learn more about the Backslash Academy at https://backslash.build/academy.