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Business alumni inspire students at guest lecture

Alumni Simon Baile and Martin West recently returned to the University to share the secrets of their success as current Managing Director and Marketing Director of Oddbins with the current crop of Retail and Marketing Management students.

Posted: 15 December 2009

In a guest lecture aimed at inspiring the students, the pair spoke of their real-world experience of current market trends and how they were tackling the current financial crisis.

Simon and Martin, who met in their first week at Roehampton, have enjoyed success in various marketing roles in the wine and retail trades since both graduating with combined degrees in Business Studies and History in 1991.

Simon bought the Oddbins wine merchant chain, which had previously been run by his father, in 2008 and then called in fellow Roehampton graduate Martin.

Simon said: “I told him the wine trade has to be more fun than wearing out planes and singing karaoke in Korea, and it has worked out brilliantly. For us, it’s all about the right staff, the right merchandising and having a clear message. And all of that we learnt here, at Roehampton.

“When I came to visit for the first time, I took one look and thought ‘yes, there’s something about this place, this campus’. The size of the University has a lot to do with it – it’s big enough to be diverse, but small enough to really feel like a community and that you can get involved and make a difference.”

Martin said he looked back fondly at his time at Roehampton: “You know the course is quality because all these years later, we’re still drawing on it. One particular lecturer we had was the best teacher or mentor type I’ve ever had in my life. I can still hear his voice and what he taught us still resonates.

“I think the fact that whoever was teaching us had real-world experience added to the credibility of what they were saying. Their relevant business experience made it relevant to us.”

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