Can you please tell me a little bit about yourself?
Hello my name is Mario da Costa. I was born in Angola but moved to Portugal with my parents and younger brother as a toddler. I’m a very curious, friendly and hardworking individual that loves sports and other activities that promote team work. Whilst at the Westminster Business School I studied Business Management with Marketing. A course that covers all areas of business management including finance, operations management, marketing and project management.
How did you decide to study at Westminster Business School?
I decided to study at WBS because, as an international student, I wanted to study in the heart of London and be able to meet people from different parts of the globe. Therefore I started researching for a university that would meet those criteria and I found Westminster Business School.
Why did you choose to study Business Management with Marketing?
Whilst living in Lisbon I was studying Science and Technology, a subject that I didn’t really like it but had no idea of what to do if I decided to change my path of study. So I decided to work for a telecommunications company in Lisbon and whilst there I developed skills and knowledge that made me not only good at customer service and marketing but made me consider a career in it. Therefore I started researching more about it and found out about the interesting things that happen in the marketing world, especially in advertising and in digital marketing. I found marketing interesting and exciting however I didn’t want to focus myself on only one area and so I decided to study Business Management with Marketing, to expand my knowledge of business making it easier to create and manage effective marketing campaigns.
What are the main challenges of this course?
As English is not my first language I have to say that one of my main difficulties was to write academic level English specially because I had to do many essays and I wasn’t used to it. I also had a difficult times learning accounting and finance because of the many rules and equations I had to learn.
Can you please tell us about the life after graduation?
I find life harder now than when I was a student. Right after graduation, I started looking for jobs both in London and Lisbon expecting to increase my chances and quick start my professional career. Although I had a good plan things didn’t work out the way I planned. I had many interviews; I would prepare myself very well for them; end still couldn’t secure a job. And as it happens to many people in the same situation as me, I started doubting my skills, my goals and even my degree. But the secret to success is not giving up and that’s what I did and now I am working as Business Development Administration for the Westminster Business School. This job enables me to apply the knowledge I have learnt during my degree and acquire more skills that will help me to reach my professional goals.
Everyone is talking about employability skills what do you think is the best way to increase your employability skills during your academic studies?
Working for the university, through the talent bank, is a good way to improve your employability skills and make you stand out from the rest of the competition in the graduate job market. Employers and recruiters are always looking for candidates that have something that makes them stand out. This could be voluntary work oversees, supporting university events or, more importantly, working as an intern in your field of study.
Can you tell us about your current job and your future plans?
As a Business Development Administrator I am responsible for the administration and coordination of shortcourses as well as supporting the Business Development Manager in activities that generate revenue for the Westminster Business School. Some of the courses I manage are the Management and Leadership Development course, Diploma in Digital Marketing course and Ethical Leadership Diploma. I regularly attend meetings where strategies have been discussed, partnerships formed and decisions made. My ultimate goal is to work as a planner for an advertising agency, creating and developing effective methods to advertise different products. I believe that living in three different countries has helped me develop an open-mind to different cultures as well as a ‘can do’ attitude regarding team work making it easier for me to adapt to different working environments.
Do you have any recommendations for students who are graduating this July and about to enter the job market?
First I would like to advise them to travel as much as they can to as many countries as they can. This will open their eyes regarding how people live in different countries and what is their definition of happiness. Secondly, I would recommend them to apply for jobs everywhere not only in London or the UK. We are living in a world where we are able to work and travel anywhere; cultural barriers are being broken down through the many different means of communication that allow people to interconnect with someone from a different culture on the other side of the globe. For that reason, it would be unwise to limit yourself to just one city.
What keeps you occupied outside of work and studies?
I am a cinema aficionado therefore I spend a great part of my free time watching movies and TV series. I also enjoy practicing healthy outdoor activities such as football and basketball. I am currently searching for a skydiving experience, it is something that scares a lot of people but it’s on my bucket list so I have to do that.
What is the best piece of advice given to you by a teacher?
The best advice I received from a teacher was to use my strengths to my advantage. Because, even if we try, we can never be good at everything therefore we should be aware of our limitations but work to improving our strengths.
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