Ayesha Khatoon studied BTEC Business Extended Diploma at Merton and achieved Triple Distinctions (D*D*D*). She moved from India to the UK when she was a teenager and knew little English. She went on to pass her English and Maths GCSEs, as well as successfully complete her vocational course at Merton. Ayesha is now doing a HND in Business Management at South Thames College. Read more about her inspiring experience as a college student.
Why did you choose to study a BTEC in Business?
I decided to study BTEC Business because it was something that interested me and I wanted to gain knowledge in different areas. A Business course provides students with broad knowledge on a wider range of business areas, such as marketing, accounting, finance, law, business environment, human resource management, entrepreneurship, event management, and many more. Choosing this subject equipped me with so many transferable skills, which are relevant in all job sectors, as well as those specific to business management careers.
Why did you choose to study it at Merton College?
The college is an excellent institution, I found the teachers to be very knowledgeable, friendly and supportive. When I look back on my college years, I feel they were the best years of my life so far.
What was college life like?
I expected college to be very hard to settle into, but it was a surprise for me at how comfortable I was during my course and time at Merton. I felt a huge transition from secondary school to further education.
What was your favourite part of the course and the college itself?
My favourite part of the course was the placement that I took part in. Although it did get a little hectic with two days placement and three days college, the experience and extra knowledge that I gained at the end was completely worth it. The placement helped me a lot in terms of building my confidence as I used to be very introverted, but afterwards I became more outspoken and I now have the ability to talk in public.
Did you take up any opportunities during your time at college that benefitted you?
During my first year, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to work for an organisation in the business sector called ‘Road Transport Media Limited’. In my second year, I worked at a business called 'Dealing Room Construction Ltd' in central London. These two opportunities enabled me to learn what a real business environment is like and how to implement the theory into practice. They have, in addition, developed my skills, boosted my self-confidence and public speaking skills.
Also, during my time at Merton College, my hard work was always recognised and appreciated by the teacher, which facilitated in building my confidence levels. Whenever, I needed help with my coursework or studies, my teachers were always there for me and ready to help all the time.
Any great memories that you’d like to share?
There were three teachers Ryan, Festus and Shauna who were the backbone of my BTEC Level 3 Business. They all helped and supported me throughout my two years. My GCSE English and Maths teachers were my absolute heroes as they are the reason that I achieved my GCSEs. I will never forget that day when I opened my results - I sighed in relief and excitedly shared this wonderful news with my family. I also met a lifelong friend, Fatima, she was from a different course, but we bonded really well and helped each other in the college.
Did you overcome any challenges to achieve your good grades?
I was just sixteen when I started college and had not achieved good results in GCSEs from secondary school, because I had moved from India and it was hard for me to adjust to a different culture and language. I did not know English at all. Therefore, when I enrolled at Merton, I basically started my studies all over again and decided that I would work extremely hard to accomplish good results in my GCSEs and vocational course. Since then, I have been achieving the highest grade possible every year.
Next steps and career ambitions?
I am currently in my level 5 HND Business Management at South Thames College and this September I will be moving onto my top-up year. I have been offered places from all the universities I have applied to: Middlesex University, London South Bank University, Kingston University, University of Roehampton and University of Greenwich.
What advice do you have for other students thinking of joining Merton?
Merton College is a great place to study as the teachers are very supportive, friendly and always willing to help to achieve your desired dreams. My advice to anyone applying is to study what you enjoy and something that you are interested in. Choosing something you believe to be a good 'academic option' would not be satisfying. Before joining BTEC Business, I did a different course and did not enjoy at all. I changed the course to BTEC Business and I was able to perform to my best ability and achieve the highest grade possible.
What advice do you have for other students about how to be successful in their studies?
I studied a BTEC and this was a great decision of my life as it has benefitted me massively in developing my knowledge and experience. To be successful in your studies, you have to be organised and don’t multi-task, only focus on one task at a time. Secondly, manage your study space and find a place that will maximise your productivity. More importantly, believe in yourself and your future if you want to make your career ambitions come true.