Tell us about yourself…
Hi I’m Laila, I’m 21 years old and I study BA Marketing Management here at the University of Westminster. I have completed my two first years of study and I am coming to the end of my marketing placement.
How did you decide to study at Westminster Business School?
When picking a university one of the deciding factors for me was the employment opportunities during my time at uni as I knew from the start that I wanted to do a one year placement. Westminster Business School has great connections with a lot of businesses and professional bodies so it ticked that box. I visited the university at the open day and the location in central London was really convenient.
Why did you choose to apply for the Marketing Placement?
I wanted to get some practical experience and see what life would be like working in a marketing role. I thought it would be a unique experience to work for the university I study at and it definitely has been.
Tell us more about your placement
I work for the marketing team at Westminster Business School based in the registry.
My main tasks as a marketing intern was editor of the student and staff newsletters. This was a weekly role that required me to make sure I kept the student and staff population updated. I also got to be a part of a lot of exciting projects such as the launch of the new MBA. I assisted in organising events such as open days or internal events for students such as the Business Management social where I attended, interviewed students and photographed and created a blog from this.
What’s a typical day like?
It depends on the day which is something I love about this role. Some days do follow a schedule but other busy periods like enrolment of new student’s means the day could be quite unexpected. On a typical day I would focus on the student and staff newsletter where I find interesting events, news items and job opportunities to include and keep people updated. My other responsibilities include assisting in organising events such as the MBA mini experience boardroom day or open days. A lot of the role is the “behind the scenes” for events. At the beginning of this year I was involved in the managing of the WBS social media channels which was a great opportunity for me to learn more creative ways to produce content.
How does the Placement fit in with the rest of your degree and how are you being assessed?
As I am studying marketing, my placement is directly related to my degree. I am currently doing my placement module which requires me to investigate a problem and research my particular topic of interest. I have chosen to investigate social media as a recruitment tool as it is an emerging tool organisations such as WBS are using. Since I have been doing this project alongside my work I will have one less module to worry about once September comes around.
What have been your highlights?
My highlights have been the events I have attended such as the Science Museum for final year students and Copthorne Tara Hotel for the MSc Finance Christmas dinner and being able to interview students, photographing the evening and eventually making blogs out of it. This is something that I didn’t expect to do or enjoy as much I have.
What were the main challenges you have faced?
It has been challenging to push myself out of my comfort zone doing things I haven’t done before such as speaking to strangers (students) and asking them to do a mini interview. Although this turned out to later be something I really enjoyed at first it was quite scary!
What can future Placement students expect to gain in terms of skill development?
If you do secure a placement you will be nervous as with any other job but there is so much you will learn in one year. You will develop skills that already exist within you such as team work, time management and confidence. You will grow in so many ways.
Everyone is talking about employability skills, what do you think is the best way to increase your employability skills during your academic studies?
Being a student, your main priority is getting good grades but it’s the things you do outside of your study that will make you stand out and will help in the long term. For me personally, I had a part time retail job and I was volunteering once a week at a primary school. It’s important to find things you like and find ways to illustrate how those things have developed you as a person. In my retail job, I interacted with a lot of different customers and had to think on my feet during busy periods. At my volunteering role, I was helping young children grow in confidence when reading and this helped me to gain patience and how to creatively communicate with people different to me. You may have a hobby that you don’t think has anything to do with employability, however without realising it you are learning and developing skills every day, it just takes a little reflection to see how you can relate it to a potential job.
What are you plans for when you graduate? How can your placement help with achieving your goals?
The placement has opened my eyes up to what a marketing job could entail and this has definitely given me a new lens which will help me when I graduate and once I start a new job, I will have had a head start.
I’m not quite sure of my plans yet, I will keep a look out and make sure I apply to a place that’s values are in line with mine.
What is the best piece of advice given to you by a teacher?
I remember in sixth form a teacher had told me something that has stuck with me.
“You are who you are when you are under pressure. It’s easy to be a great person when you’re happy and things are great but true character is shown when you are stressed out and things aren’t great, will you crumble and snap or hold your own?”
What advice would you give to someone thinking about applying for this position and placement in general?
Go for it!
The fact that you are thinking about doing a placement means you are half way there. It is easy to persuade yourself to not apply for opportunities because of self-doubt and fear, but you have to push yourself to give it a go rather than say what if?
The best piece of advice I would give to anyone applying to anything such a placement, is that preparation is key! There are so many ways to prepare, such as researching the organisations you choose to apply to, organise a meeting with the Business Experience Team who can help with things such as CVs and cover letters and finally prepare for assessment centres and interviews through research and practise.
Any final thoughts?
I’m grateful for having the opportunity to work with such a great team. I will remember all that I have learnt and use it in my professional career.
Thank you to Laila for taking the time to answer these questions and for all of her hard work this year on her marketing placement with us. Find out more about Laila’s course in BA Marketing Management.