‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’ – Lao Tsu

In this blog Clifford Butau, BA (Hons) Sports Marketing Management, describes his placement journey: from the application stage in 2nd year through to working in an office having secured a placement and onto planning for the future.

Placement student, Clifford Butau

My employer is a rapidly growing business, producing a range of convenience food products for the retail markets in Ireland, the UK and Europe.  I embarked on my journey here towards the end of summer and believed myself to be very fortunate to get my placement because I had been applying for different placements throughout second year and summer. Notwithstanding my efforts I kept getting the “unfortunately you did not get the placement, but good luck with your search” feedback – yes those disappointing words we might have all experienced in the hunt.

Nevertheless, I was very determined to take that single step to build experience and I carried on with my quest to find a placement.  The persistence finally paid off one afternoon when I received an email that would kick-start my journey. The email was an invite for an interview at the company’s HQ and after the interview, I was invited for a stage two interview that involved a task, which I happily completed and was very pleased when I was offered the role.

For anyone going for an interview I would advise;

  • be determined to impress. I was aware of the company, I did further research which came in very handy.
  • try to be you: let your personality shine through
  • dress in a professional manner because first impressions are lasting impressions

What has my placement been like?

Well so far, it has been amazing, I have had the chance to do so much and have really got to experience what it’s like to be behind successful brand marketing campaigns. Also, I have really got to grow, being able to do newspaper offers, magazine ads, execute and input ideas into new designs and I have also had a chance to be part of organising the Annual Conference which took place at the end of January in Manchester. It does not stop there, I get to analyse sales by updating reports and I manage social media posts on our Twitter and Facebook pages. Moreover, I helped gather customer and market research which came in vital when brand plans for 2015 were introduced to the business.

Experiencing the industry has been a life changing experience because I now know what to expect and I feel like I have equipped myself for the future.

Would I recommend a placement?

Yes! I definitely would recommend taking a placement, because in the industry no matter what job you are after or what degree you are studying they will always look for experience and by doing a placement you are building experience, which you might not realise at the start however, the more time you spend on placement you really see the benefits.

Life in the office

I do enjoy the social life in the office and we have some interesting characters, which makes it better. We all try to share stories and go on our lunch breaks together. Fridays are ‘dress down day’ and is a lot more relaxed, which makes the entry to the weekend a lot better.

And what’s in store for the remainder of my placement?

There are so many opportunities for me to gain further experience this year. We have really huge partnerships planned for this year with a major movie brand. I will be executing and planning my own lifestyle photography project with the new brand designs and new products that are getting launched this year.

I took my single step towards my thousand mile journey in the industry with this placement and with the experience I have gained, I would unquestionably recommend any student reading this to do the same.

Reference: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/l/lao_tzu_4.html


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