Aston graduate helping local businesses get noticed online

BSc (Hons) Business and Management graduate has set up his own company to help West Midlands businesses, SMEs, and global corporations make the transition to marketing their products and services online. Ryan Dhillon is the Co-Founder and CEO of NiRD, a branding company, founded during the COVID-19 pandemic.

NiRD is a multifaceted branding specialist, providing all aspects of digital marketing, logo design, animation and analytics.

Ryan is one of two friends that founded NiRD. The pair, Ryan and Nina, spotted a gap in the market as many people began starting up new businesses during the pandemic. NiRD provides social media support and branding services to help these businesses to get their products noticed online. Despite being a new company, they have been very successful, achieving on average an 84% increase in social media engagement for their clients.

Recently, NiRD has been focussing on supporting local businesses, based in Birmingham and the Black Country, with moving away from traditional marketing, helping them to transition to social media marketing.

Ryan Dhillion aston alumni headshot

Despite being a relatively new business NiRD is already expanding. Recently, Ryan and Nina have begun using 3D modelling to aid new product development. According to Ryan “animation and 3D modelling is a new and engaging way to attract new business on social media”.

In addition, Ryan is considering branching out into the property sector. Once restrictions are eased, he is planning to venture into property renovation and development.

Ryan says that the skills learnt at Aston Business School have been “really important for founding his new business”.

NIRD logo




Business at Aston

Why study business?

Ryan graduated from the Aston Business School with a first class degree in BSc (Hons) Business and Management. During his degree, Ryan completed his placement year, working as an Undergraduate Intern at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR). He then went on to work as a Supply Chain Graduate for JLR then as a Project Manager for Sherwin-Williams, before co-founding his own company.

Ryan has always been interested in business, studying it at GCSE and A level.

‘’I just thought business was the one subject where I thought I could do something with that in the future. I just found it super interesting.’’

Since school, Ryan has always wanted to start his own business.

‘’I always knew it was just something that I wanted to do. To have a brand out there that was going it be sustainable and known in the UK and the wider world.’’


Why Aston Business School?

Ryan chose to study at Aston Business School because ‘’they’re really highly-ranked for business.’’

Aston University was the perfect location for Ryan. He is from the West Midlands and decided to study at a local university.

‘’I wanted to live out but also, I wanted to not be too far from home. It was a good enough distance where I could get that experience, living by myself, learning how to live by myself, all that sort of stuff. But, also to come home if I needed to on weekends.’’

Ryan decided to study BSc (Hons) Business and Management to get an all-around education in business rather than specialising in a particular subject.

‘’I didn’t really want to specialise in one area. I didn’t want to go into marketing. I didn’t want to go into finance. I thought, if I did Business and Management, it would give me a good all-round view of business on all sides. Looking back, it does help because you do learn a lot of theory that you don’t realise comes into practice when you actually start in the real world.’’





Aston BAM QS Top 100 logo


As part of the Business and Management degree, Ryan undertook a placement year. He worked for Jaguar Land Rover in Coventry, experiencing various roles within the business, ranging from logistics to marketing. It was one of the main reasons he decided that the Aston Business School course was right for him.

‘’I think a really cool thing was the placements. I know Aston were one of the first to do the placement scheme.’’

‘’I thought getting that experience was going to be so valuable when I leave university because it is really difficult to get attention from employers, with the market being so competitive when you’re graduating. It’s just a great thing to have on your CV’’.

One of Ryan’s favourite modules at Aston University was Innovation, which used specific business case studies and theory to understand how businesses evolve.‘’

Our lecturer was great. I think, from a business point of view, it was quite motivating to understand how these companies have evolved and innovated over time because it’s interesting to see, as a company, that you’re not always stuck to one area.’’


Aston winner of entrepreneurial university of the year building logo


Aston alumni Ryan Dhillion

What advice would you give to someone thinking about applying for Aston Business School?

Definitely consider what you can imagine yourself doing. If you don’t know, it’s okay to take some time for that.

For me, I knew I wanted to go to university to study business at Aston. If I could recommend any university, it would be Aston University straightaway.