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Liam Saunders

MSc Project Management
Graduated 2016

Headshot of Liam Saunders

How did university prepare you for your career?

University was critical preparation for my career. At Solent I was able to develop my academic knowledge of business through a comprehensive degree programme, learning about everything from the marketing mix to contract law. This has proved to be truly invaluable in setting up and running my business, VIP IT. Being able to draw upon this knowledge has empowered me to take informed business decisions and grow my business based on established and proven business principles.

Alongside this, I was also able to gain valuable practical business experience through an exciting live client marketing brief from Ahmad Tea during the first year of my course, and an interesting business project in my third year. From these practical experiences I was able to learn how to communicate and pitch to businesses with confidence. These skills are essential for my chosen career path as I’m required to draw upon them on a regular basis within my business.

Favourite Solent memory?

Attending the opening of Boux Avenue at Westquay – after winning a Solent Business School competition – where I met and interviewed Theo Paphitis, ex-Dragon and owner of Boux Avenue, and now Solent University’s Chancellor!

Tell us a little about your career story so far.

Since leaving Solent I have been focused on growing my business, VIP IT. In the last eight years the business has grown to serve clients across a range of sectors including law, property, technology and hospitality. VIP IT has also started working with international clients seeking to grow within the UK market. During the first year of my business I returned to Solent University to complete a master’s degree in project management and professional practitioner-level qualifications in PRINCE2 and AgilePM. Studying project management has further enhanced my professional skillset and provided me with a unique edge in marketing. I offer digital marketing solutions that are grounded in project management and marketing best practice.

The knowledge I gained from university has empowered me to take informed business decisions and grow my business based upon established and proven business principles.

Tell us about what you are doing now.

I’m now working full-time on managing and running my digital marketing business, VIP IT. Following the pandemic my working pattern has adjusted to a hybrid model where I typically spend three to four days in the office and one to two days working from home.

As I run my own business, every day is different. One day I may be catching up with clients on Zoom or in-person while another may involve developing VIP IT’s own marketing plans or launching a new client campaign. I enjoy having a varied schedule which involves working with clients of different sizes and across a diverse range of sectors.

At VIP IT we specialise in helping businesses get found online through search engine marketing. This involves search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay per click (PPC) marketing. We also develop websites for a select group of forward-thinking clients who see value in investing in a quality online presence. As the world of online marketing is constantly changing, innovation and adopting new techniques are key to VIP IT’s and our clients’ success, and this is something that I first learnt at Solent University.

After completing a Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) course as part of my business management degree, I have recently restarted my CIM membership at an associate level. This has provided me with many opportunities not only to learn from and network with other marketing professionals but also to facilitate my own continuing professional development (CPD). I have completed one year of CPD with the CIM and am currently working towards chartered marketer status. I feel that being part of the CIM is helping me to continually improve my marketing skillset and build upon the foundations that I established at Solent University.

What has been your career highlight so far?

Signing my first international client and helping them improve their online visibility in the UK.

What tips would you give to someone wanting a career in your industry?

Gain professional industry qualifications – the marketing sector as a whole is becoming ever more competitive, and now more than ever, businesses expect marketing professionals to have relevant industry qualifications.

Seek out work experience or an internship within the business environment – the knowledge and experience that you will gain in a practical setting are invaluable.

Learn about trends and changes in the sector. For example, artificial intelligence is already having a significant impact on the digital marketing environment. It is changing the way marketing is done and requires professionals to adapt quickly.