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  • Writer's pictureAlice Masson

Introducing... James Urquhart

DWS Associates are excited to be bringing James Urquhart on board this summer. It has been great welcoming him to the team and it is already clear he can offer valuable, new insights. We thought it would be fun to chat with James to find out a little bit about him and how he has been settling in.

To start off would you mind giving us a brief introduction to yourself?

I am currently a student at the University of St Andrews, transitioning from third to fourth year of a five year integrated Masters in Pure Mathematics. Throughout my time at university, I have gravitated towards the business and finance world. I have engaged with many organisations and have a particular interest in the relationship between business and society.

I really want to see the growth of entrepreneurship in St Andrews, and Scottish Universities in general. I ran for, and was elected to, the position of President of the St Andrews Entrepreneurs Society and have been re-elected twice. In my first term I worked with other universities to

co-found the Scottish Entrepreneurs Network – this organisation is designed to connect students who are interested in business and provide an opportunity for people to learn and develop their skills in the entrepreneurial sphere.

I am also proud of my work as an analyst at the Creator Fund. This is a pan-European student run venture capital fund that looks to invest in and support businesses started on the university campus. My work involves finding and meeting with exciting businesses, analysing business potential and conducting due diligence in advance of a potential investment offer.

Why were you interested in working for DWS Associates?

Having grown up in Argyll, a rather remote area of Scotland, I have naturally been interested in the potential of the rural business sector and so DWS Associates, an organisation specialising in working with rural enterprises, seemed to be a great fit for me.

Following a conversation with David and Alice, I was delighted to hear that DWS Associates had a position for me over the summer. Within weeks I started my role as Researcher and Strategist.

What did you get up to in your first week?

During my first few days I spent time working on a business development project which helped me learn more about the company. The guidance I receive from both David and Alice helped me to quickly acclimatize to the work and made me feel like I was part of the team.

I enjoy that work patterns are flexible - this is really motivating as I could fit work around other commitments. We have regular, daily contact and I have been given support and feedback on my work. This has helped me develop my own skills and integrate into the company. The induction process has been as good as I could have hoped for.

The focus of my work is to research and identify new ways for DWS Associates to expand its contact and client base. I can draw on the researching and canvasing skills that I use in my work sourcing interesting student businesses for the Creator Fund.

I also worked with a client to complete a funding application and identified other funding opportunities for them. I thrived in this task as I was able to employ experience gathered during my time as President of the St Andrews Entrepreneurs Society where I have both sourced funding for the society and judged competitions to give out funding for business ideas.

Has it been difficult starting a job remotely?

As you can imagine, current circumstances surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic has made starting a new job more difficult than usual, especially as I am based remotely in St Andrews, the opposite side of Scotland to the head office. However, the clear and consistent communications from the team at DWS Associates has made onboarding particularly easy.

I also cannot complain about St Andrews, it is a charming town surrounded by beautiful beaches and expansive golf courses, featuring the ruins of St Andrews Cathedral (the largest church built in Scotland) and a medieval castle. Despite these unusual times and working from home, I have been able to maintain a positive and well-functioning working-life balance.

This enables me to stay productive during work hours and set aside much needed time for my hobbies, such as piano. I have been playing piano since the beginning of high school and have since passed my ABRSM grade 8 exam, I particularly enjoy playing music from the Classical and Romantic periods, composers such as Liszt, Rachmaninoff or Beethoven, but also enjoy playing many works from other periods, such as Bach’s Preludes and Fugues from The Well-Tempered Clavier.

Any closing remarks?

“I must say, over my first week I have settled well into my work at DWS Associates thanks to the welcoming and inclusive attitude of the team. I have particularly enjoyed work involving research where I can then analyse and report my findings, but overall, I have not found a boring moment. I am excited to be involved with the company moving forwards, contributing to DWS Associates business development activities, and learning more about the potential of the rural business sector.”

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