Jennifer Ardene - BA (Hons) Accounting & Finance, 2016
Jennifer Ardene graduated in 2016 from BA (Hons) Accounting & Finance and still remembers her first impressions of Leeds Beckett, when she attended an open day. She explains: “There were so many members of staff answering all type of questions. I can confidently say their support and the facilities were second to none. The approach Leeds Beckett took to my course by giving the option to select some of my modules meant I was able to tailor my course specifically to what I really wanted to study. The strong focus on graduate employability and high-quality research were also very impressive not to mention its excellent support services for international students which was an added bonus.”
Jennifer’s time at Leeds Beckett exceeded her expectations as she explains: “The whole process was a great preparation for the workplace experience. Being a course Rep and an Ambassador meant I was able to take students opinion to the forum if there was an issue. However, we were always generally happy with the modules and endless support from staff.”
Now, just over two years since graduating, Jennifer is running her own business based in Leeds. Jenny’s Jerk Chicken is an authentic Caribbean street food company, specialising in jerk chicken and other Caribbean dishes such as curried goat and brown beef stew. The business has two main shops in Leeds and Bradford but also often residing in multiple other locations, including pop-up stalls in Oracle Bar & Night Club, Trinity Kitchen and Kirkgate Market.
Jennifer also serves as full-time military personnel, which she says, means she has to double her efficiency for her business to run smoothly: “One of the most important things I learned in university was to multitask which I’ve gotten better at. This is mainly because I was involved in other activities around the university and was finding it hard to have a balanced life with so much to do.
“I also attended as many free business enterprise workshops and lectures that I could. At the time, I was running a small hair business from home and it was then customers started complementing my food. Being a business-minded person, I saw an opportunity and couldn’t wait to seize it. I set up the business with some savings and won £500 at the Business Concept of the Year competition at Leeds Beckett University.”
Reflecting on her journey Jennifer gives advice to current and upcoming students “Remember, the challenge of the journey is what makes it an adventure. Get involved in other activities around the university and like the saying goes: you never know where your next luck will come from. Have an open mind and above all enjoy yourself. After all life is just an experiment.”