Languages graduate Freddie Altman left a corporate graduate programme to do his own thing. He's now running a startup that helps people get onto the property ladder more quickly.
MA (Hons) Modern European Languages (Italian and Spanish)
|Year of Graduation||2012|
Your time at the University
Edinburgh’s reputation as one of the most prestigious universities in the UK was naturally a primary factor in deciding to apply in the first place. But the fact that I was studying languages – and most Edinburgh students do a four-year degree – meant that I would be able to return from a year abroad to my friends, unlike those studying three-year courses in England.
I found the ability to take three subjects in the first year to be an added bonus. I came to study Spanish and Business – changed my mind and took Spanish, Italian and Philosophy in first year – then settled on a joint degree in the two languages thereafter.
But I think I really fell in love with the city itself during the open day I attended in late spring or early summer, albeit arriving in early October to start my first year gave me a rude awakening about how different the summer and winters in Edinburgh can be!
I think the most notable thing about my overall experience was the size and variety of the university community. There were people from all walks of life, with such a range of interests that I never found it difficult to find something to do or meet someone new and interesting.
Your experiences since leaving the University
After university, I went into a graduate programme at Deloitte to get some corporate experience, but soon made an internal move to their digital agency to move into Product Design. I had a great few years there and learnt so much, but the desire to do my own thing was eventually too strong.
Today, I’m running a startup called Homewards. Our mission is to help more people get onto the property ladder, quicker. We’re trying to address a social issue that’s acutely affecting the younger generation. No matter how well you do in your degree or how great your job is, without financial support, owning a home is becoming increasingly out of reach.
The way we help is by harnessing the power of people’s spending to move them towards homeownership, faster. Our app members just need to add a debit or credit and then spend as usual with everyday retailer. They’ll then pay them cash rewards as a percentage of overall purchases going directly into a government-backed Lifetime ISA. The best thing is that people can get their families to join too and contribute their cash rewards to the same home deposit fund, with nothing to lose.
We’re not trying to replace saving – it’s a must – but we recognise that there is a huge amount of untapped value to be had from our (collective) existing spending habits that can and should be put towards a meaningful goal.
We were recently featured in The Times and we’ll be launching to the public later this year.
We’re trying to address a social issue that’s acutely affecting the younger generation. No matter how well you do in your degree or how great your job is, without financial support, owning a home is becoming increasingly out of reach.
My experience goes to show that unless you’re doing a highly vocational course at university (and even in that case), your career path can take you anywhere really. The most valuable part of your studies isn’t just the specific knowledge you gain, but rather the experiences you have and skills you learn, which you can later demonstrate in any number of situations.
Employers look for a person that’s adaptable and has a way of thinking and behaving that will make them a fast learner and able to handle new challenges – someone to rely on.
Homewards (external link)
Homewards article in The Times (external link)
Homewards article in This is Money (external link)