As an undergraduate student at Westminster Business School, you have the choice of taking a year Placement experience. This is an initiative run by the Career Development Centre & Business Experience team and is an excellent opportunity to develop new skills and gain hands on practical experience. With a marketing career in mind, second year International Marketing BA student André Tieni Vidigal completed his Placement year with the Westminster Business School Marketing team. We’re sad to say that his time with the team is now nearly up and as such we are currently looking for someone new to join us. If you are a Westminster Business School student and have passed your 2nd year you are eligible to apply. To give you an idea of what to expect from the role, Andre has kindly agreed to this interview & shares his experiences over the last year:
Why did you choose to apply for the Marketing Placement?
I’ve always wanted a career in Marketing and when I saw the job role I thought it fit perfectly with what I wanted to do. I also felt I matched the job description in terms of my skills base, which encouraged me to make the application. I also enjoyed the interview and meeting the team helped me to make the decision to take the job.
What is a typical day in your job?
I have to say that there isn’t really a typical day. The tasks are varied and you’re always learning something new from the beginning to the end of the placement – it’s not the sort of job where you learn everything at the beginning and then just repeat. Some tasks are very seasonal, for example, the advertising for international fairs is always done around August, which means that now at the end of my placement I am dealing with that for the first time.
In terms of my job description, I am the person responsible for designing, writing and sending staff and student newsletters; I organise the booking for international fairs; I support content creation for social media and have managed our social media channels when the Social Media Officer was away; I raise purchase orders and have to make sure payments are made so suppliers don’t chase us up; I’m involved in design work for collaterals (e.g. promotional gifts for visitors, designing a new bag for the Business School and creating new banners) and I liaise with the design team to ensure everything is done within branding guidelines; I also support events – we regularly hold Open Days and Applicant Days and I often help to manage the Student Helpers, making sure everything runs smoothly.
How does the Placement fit in with the rest of your degree and how are you being assessed?
The assessment is done throughout the Placement, and to support my experience I was assigned a tutor. She has been very helpful and approachable and I also have my manager, Agata, if I have any questions. In terms of the actual assessment, you have to complete a post Placement project and a presentation to do once you’ve finished in October, and you have a reflective essay to complete in December. For the Placement project you have to identify some kind of issue or something you want to change in an organisation. I chose to work on segmenting the student newsletters to achieve higher readership and engagement, so today the PG students receive a different newsletter and content than the UG. One piece of advice to my successor would be to make notes of all the tasks you do as you will be required to write a reflective essay and this would definitely help!
Another very important aspect of the Placement with the Westminster Business School is the appraisal that you will receive if you do a good job. I am immensely proud to have been nominated by students at the Students’ Union Staff Appreciation Awards last month. Seeing your work being acknowledged by your audience is an awesome feeling! Having going an extra mile to improve the newsletter has really paid off. In addition I was nominated by my Line Manager as Placement Student of the Year. Although I didn’t receive the award, it was a great achievement in itself as not everyone doing a placement was nominated by their managers.
What have been your favourite moments?
I think attending the Madame Tussauds event for new and final year students at the beginning of the year was one of my favourite moments. That was very interesting because I was getting to take pictures, interviewing people and of course just enjoying myself.
I also joined the Green Impact team in the Business School Registry Office and worked with the team to raise awareness about environmental issues and sustainability (eg through Fairtrade Fortnight), to introduce new initiatives and also to encourage best practice. I am very pleased and proud to say that we won a Gold award and it’s great to see the university involved in sustainability in this way.
Finally, I had the chance to study the DMI Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing, which was sponsered by the university. This was brilliant as it helped me to gain a very good insight into social media, google analytics, SEO etc, which I could apply directly to my job.
What can future Placement students expect to gain in terms of skill development?
Future Placement students can expect to develop a whole range of transferable skills from team work skills, communication skills (written and oral), organisation and time keeping skills. These sort of skills are fantastic to build because you can use them in any job and they will always be useful. They will also enhance their skills in marketing – I’ve improved myself in a range of areas from design to using photoshop, to social media, analytics, to using tools such as MailChimp, which is a very popular mailing software. I’ve also improved my understanding of strategic marketing and knowledge of marketing within the Higher Education sector.
Can you tell us something about the team that you’ve been working with?
I work with the Marketing team in the Business School Registry Office. It’s in a very small team actually – there are about six people, who are very knowledgable in their areas of marketing, so it’s been great to gain insights from all of them. It’s a very harmonious team, everyone gets on brilliantly and we work really well together. We have regular marketing meetings to discuss future plans and what we are working on etc and I have to say that I have never felt like an intern as everyone takes me, my ideas and my work seriously. I felt very welcomed when I first started the job and people were always available to listen to me, which has helped me to grow and develop. From the beginning, people were always very helpful and always there when I had questions. My manager trusts me to get on with my job, giving me interesting, real and complex tasks, which is great as I feel valued and like I can actually make a difference in the team.
Now that you’ve almost come to the end of your Placement, how do you feel about doing a four year degree?
I will finish my degree with much more confidence. When I look for a job I will have concrete examples to give and I will be better placed to understand where the employer is coming from. I have developed a lot of skills which will open different doors for me and it’s helped me to work out which direction I want to go.
I attended the Graduation Ceremony last week and it was really inspiring seeing them upon the stage. It was like my own graduation and I can’t wait to be there next year. But the final year also holds many interesting things. For instance I will join the Westminster Entrepreneurial Society and look after their social media channels. They did a great job in the past academic year and the new team wants to keep their legacy. I can’t wait to tell everyone all about the future events but this needs an exclusive blog post. So watch this space!
What are your plans after you finish your degree?
Following this placement I’m very inspired to finish my undergraduate degree and start a Master’s degree in Marketing. Before the Placement I always knew I wanted to work in a business related job/marketing related job, but I didn’t know exactly as marketing is very broad. This placement has really helped me to identify what sort of tasks I like to do the most. I now know I would like to work maybe in email marketing & I would also consider working in the HE sector, something which I hadn’t realised would be so interesting.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about applying for this position?
I think this placement will help you a lot if you’re looking for a job in marketing and I would say get prepared for the interview as that’s your moment to shine and show the panel you have the skills they are looking for. Don’t be afraid to emphasise your strengths as everything you say will be taken into consideration, and this can be the difference between you and next best candidate. At the same time you’re selling yourself you will also be given the opportunity to ask questions, and this is also another great opportunity to show your interest and enthusiasm. Last but not least, put on a smile on your face and go for it – you never know until you try!
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