Five reasons for talking to Business School students by Sweet Mandarin

Helen Tse MBE and Lisa Tse MBE
Helen Tse MBE and Lisa Tse MBE

Sweet Mandarin is one of the leading small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Manchester who are successfully using social media marketing. Whether it is Twitter, Facebook or blogging, our passion for social media engagement is very high!

At the heart of social media is the conversation and engagement with people who are interested in our products and services. For us this is combined with a passion for education and by speaking to students we are able to always give something back to the community as well as benefit form the conversation ourselves. Last year we visited Salford Business School and shared our experience with the MSc Marketing and Salford MBA students – why have we done so?

Sweet Mandarin souce
Sweet Mandarin souce

We at Sweet Mandarin are a Manchester-based business, which includes a restaurant and a global sweet chilli sauce brand. Being small business owners, time is always at a premium when it comes to engagements that are not core to our business, but we still prioritise the need to meet local university students. Speaking to students means fitting in with their timetable schedule and it is not always easy, but here are our reasons for keeping in-touch with them:

1. “A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step”

According to a Chinese proverb which says that: “A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step”, we are all on a journey together as business leaders and entrepreneurs. Even though we are at different stages of the journey, being able to stand back and present our business history gives us a good opportunity to reflect on the journey already made.

Speaking to MBA students in particular, who are running businesses as part of their own business ‘journeys’ allows us to compare our paths and see what worked for us and why. Discussing alternative decisions is a good reflective moment for us. Therefore, speaking to Salford Business School students and sharing our experiences gives us a better insight into our own journey as well as learn from other people’s business journeys too.

2. Speaking to the business leaders of tomorrow

Sweet Mandarin visit Saford Business School
Sweet Mandarin at Salford Business School, November 2013

Current students are the business leaders of the future. Our world is increasingly a small place to be and we are all interconnected via social media networks. Who knows if the individuals in the classroom today might be the business partners of the future?

Being entrepreneurs we are always looking for new business development ideas and this is where students from different disciplines are a great source of potential future collaborations. A one-hour guest talk is well worth the time just for this aspect alone.

3. Learning from students and their questions

It was not just students listening to and learning from us –the students also taught us a lot. It was a very humble experience as the students were very welcoming to us but their questions were very probing and gave us yet another chance to think about different ways to see our business. We have experience of meeting Prime Minister David Cameron, celebrity chef and restaurant entrepreneur Gordon Ramsay and Her Majesty the Queen and, while meeting these high profile individuals is worthwhile, it is not often that you have the chance to have constructive conversations which help you to develop as an individual.

4. Generating local and international publicity around our business

By talking to Search and Social Media Marketing students, they were able to put into practice what they learned in terms of social media engagement. In fact, on our November guest lecture presentation day, we have had over 150 tweets just from one class of students, which was really incredible.

The vast majority of students at Salford Business School come from diverse multicultural and multi-geographical backgrounds, not just Manchester or Salford. This helps our brand name to be shared globally and definitely got people talking before, during and after the lectures – that is what social media is all about. It is about connecting people; it is about journey; it is about taking the first step.

Sweet Mandarin visit Salford Business School
Sweet Mandarin visit Salford Business School, April 2013

5. Maintaining enthusiasm

To have enthusiastic students on your doorstep is invaluable to any business. Salford Business School is fully engaged with business and its heart is at the centre of education. Ultimately, partnering with Salford Business School as a local business gives you the opportunity to tap into a wealth of knowledge, resources and enthusiasm.

It is really commendable that Salford Business School, as well as the University of Salford is able to inspire students and also employers like us to connect.

In all, we feel very strongly that all local businesses will benefit from giving guest lectures and speaking to students. By sharing your experience you are getting much more in return for your time!

Speak to Salford Business School

sweet mandarin Helen Tse MBE and Lisa Tse MBE
Sweet Mandarin Helen Tse MBE and Lisa Tse MBE

Helen Tse MBE & Lisa Tse MBE