1. Tell us about yourself.
I am Nicholas Kalavas. I am originally British/Cypriot but was born and raised in Thessaloniki, Greece and moved to the UK to further my studies at the age of 18. I studied an HND in Business Economics, BA Hons in Business Management and MA in Marketing and Innovation at Anglia Ruskin University between 2002 and 2009.
Throughout my studies I made the conscious decision of working as much as possible (in both full time and part time roles) locally in order to acquire as much knowledge as possible.
In addition, I worked closely with a number of my lecturers and specifically Dr Wilson and Professor Ginns.
Further to my graduation I worked in a variety of roles for companies such as Betfair, Cambashi and Cambridge City council until I took the step of opening a Marketing and Social Media agency in Cambridge named CFM Group.
At CFM Group I worked with clients across the globe and focus on assisting them in getting a better understanding of Social Media and Digital Marketing. What's more, being multilingual, I also manage over 120 social media profiles for both local companies and companies abroad.
2. What is your fondest memory at Anglia Ruskin University?
My fondest memory would have to be being involved in the Open Day activities, created for international students on arrival to the university for the very first time. It is very exciting meeting all these young professionals knowing that many of them could be future leaders in their chosen sector and giving them as much help and advice as possible.
3. What advice would you give to current students as they're preparing to graduate?
I tend to offer advice based on my personal experience and hence this may not apply to all. Taking the leap from a life of education into the ‘real’ working world is a daunting thought for many students. Not only do you need to figure out an income, but you’ll also be going through some major lifestyle changes that can result from just moving away from university and close friends. But! Graduating is also a really exciting period of your life, full of choices and opportunities! Whether you’re getting used to living for the weekend, planning your travels, hankering after more study as a post-grad or going it alone, there are plenty of paths to consider.
It’s important to have goals and realistically set out where you want to be in 5-10 years’ time. Visualizing this end goal can help you to make the right decisions when leaving university instead of concentrating on the short term. There are many options such as a graduate career, an internship/placement, postgraduate study or self employment. I personally was working throughout my studies and simply made the conscious choice to move into office work and seek permanent or long term positions. Prior to that, I was working in a variety of roles from bars and restaurants to being an administrator in a recycling company.
4. What do you know now that you wish you had known whilst you were studying?
I wish I had known that all the commitment and hard work put in will eventually pay off. What's more, I wish I was more aware of placements and internships at the time and had taken up a couple of such challenges to test myself in an environment I would later be actively working in.
5. How did your time at Anglia Ruskin help you?
My time at ARU not only provided me with the theoretical background to be able to go out and chase my dreams upon graduating but also helped me grow as a person as well. Timelines, pressure and responsibility were aspects of life I never really had to face before and ARU most certainly assisted me in evolving both personally and professionally.
6. What did you love about your chosen course?
There were a lot of things I enjoyed about my course and I must note here that it was overall a very positive experience. I made a lot of new friends from across the world, grew as a person, became more knowledgeable about my favourite subject and made extensive use of library resources. However, I would have to point out my friendship with several lecturers such as Professor Ginns, Dr Wilson, Professor Robinson and Mr Froggett as my favourite part of my course. They all had accumulated years of knowledge and practical experience and discussing with them on a regular basis helped me choose the industry I currently operate in and offered a different view of things.
7. What would you tell someone thinking of studying at ARU?
I would strongly advise them to do so. Anglia now provides a wide network of support as well as enhanced facilities so it would be a unique experience for anyone to study at ARU and perhaps get a feel of Cambridge, one of the most entrepreneurial cities in Europe.
8. In one word how would you describe Anglia Ruskin?
9. What accomplishment are you most proud of?
I consider myself very young to want to actively promote myself and achievements. However, becoming a Marketing Director for Emmaus, a Large UK charity at the age of 26, being accepted as a Fellow Member of the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management and also assisting several of my clients triple their turnover whilst working together are certainly small snippets of my success. However, there is yet a very long way to go and I use the above only as steps to achieve more rather than milestones to celebrate about.
10. What advice would you give your younger self?
Make more effective and efficient use of my time.
11. What drives you?
My clients’ success. Seeing my clients succeed and grow as businessmen and women as well as grow their companies is most definitely the biggest motivating factor for me. It provides me with the security that I am conducting my work at a high level and also achieving significant results that make a difference in people's lives.
12. What’s next?
If I am able to get funding, I would be seeking to extend my education to a PhD programme at Anglia Ruskin University. This would be focused on Digital Marketing and Social Media and how its recent growth has had an impact on businesses and brands alike worldwide.
In addition, I am also soon resuming my CIM qualification with the Chartered Institute of Marketing.
On a separate note, I am also seeking to work closer with Anglia Ruskin University and have already received a number of applications for interns to spend some time throughout the summer period working and learning in our offices in order to assist young professionals (as I also once was) to get that first step into business.