Ashley Innis

Real Estate Management MSc

Ashley studied at BCU for his undergraduate degree and graduated in 2003. Since then, he has had a long and successful career working for Birmingham City Council. He has now returned to study MSc Real Estate Management to further his regeneration and development knowledge.

"I previously studied at Birmingham City University from 2000 - 2003 where I undertook a degree in BA (Hons) International Business Management. My degree led me to a career working for my local council, Birmingham City Council, where I have worked since. I have had a range of different roles within the council from recruitment, human resources, to working in the Cabinet Office with politicians and project managing the delivery of a number of major projects in Birmingham. These include projects such as New Street Station, Grand Central and the redevelopment of Paradise Circus.

Prior to starting my current role as Project Manager, I decided to return to higher education. I have gained a really good practical understanding about development and regeneration schemes from the projects I have worked on, so I wanted to supplement my knowledge with theoretical grounding. And what better place to continue my studies than BCU! I am now studying an MSc in Real Estate Management on a part-time basis alongside working full time.

One of the biggest challenges in returning to university was the gap in time since I last studied. Plus, finding the time to study was a struggle. Being involved in the delivery of a major regeneration project is challenging and demanding, and I worried I'd struggle to combine a busy workload with studying. However, I'm proud that I've been able to slot back into studying so well, and I'm determined to succeed. So far I have achieved good marks on all of my modules and I think my previous experiences have enabled me to put some of the theory into practice. I've also helped students who are embarking on postgraduate study straight after completing their undergraduate degree. I'm more than happy to do this and hopefully can pass on some helpful information based on my experiences.

A big driver for me on my postgraduate course is a personal sense of achievement to do as well as I can and gain a better understanding of the built environment. I thought the welcome (back) to BCU was excellent. There was a lot of information provided in advance, which has allowed me to keep up to date with module information and find out what is happening at the University. All the staff have been great. I've also used some of the services provided by Centre for Academic Success to help me with some of the things I've forgotten since last studying, such as algebra and reference writing.

Going back to university has required me to be even more organised and disciplined, as studying for a postgraduate degree alongside working full time has been challenging. I think achieving a work life balance has been hard; however, I feel I've managed it well. I’m a Brummie, who has lived and worked here all of my life, so I'm proud to attend my local university. I'm proud that I've been able to return to the place I first studied and further my career here - it's brilliant that the university has such a broad range of courses.

To me, ‘I AM BCU’ is about being proud to be a student at BCU and also be an advocate of the university. I hope that I embody the values of what BCU is about as a place to learn and develop; those characteristics are about striving for excellence, wanting to do the best I can, working with honesty and integrity and helping others to learn and enhance their careers through sharing knowledge and ideas. BCU is a fantastic place to learn and socialise and I am proud to be a current student and alumni!"