Paulina Asmus has landed a graduate role with a technology giant before stepping foot back on campus for her final year.
The Accounting and Finance student from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) believes asking for additional opportunities during her 12-month placement at IBM in London gave her an edge.
Her proactive approach also made it a year to remember, with meeting an astronaut and taking part in a hackathon among the highlights.
Paulina said: "My main role as a sales operations and marketing assistant for travel and transport and consumer products was helping out with financials. This didn't take up too much time, so I asked my manager if I could get involved in other things.
"It made my year the year it has been. I went above and beyond and got more opportunities because of it."
The 21-year-old helped out at the IBM Watson Summit in London, where Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield was a keynote speaker.
"I also led a workshop on good presentation skills for a group of university students," said Paulina, "and I took part in a hackathon at Transport for London, coming up with solutions to problems using IBM Design Thinking."
Paulina landed her industry year after a lengthy application process, with support offered by the DMU Works faculty placement team.
"I wanted to do a placement to differentiate myself from other graduates and there is a lot of help available at DMU," she said.
Her plan paid off, with Paulina due to take up her role in the IBM Consulting by Degrees programme as a business consultant in the iX division for customer engagement and design in July 2019.
"I'm definitely relieved to have landed it and I can't wait to start," said Paulina.
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Born in Poland, she moved to the UK aged eight, settling in Brentwood, Essex. Paulina was "excited", but it was a struggle at first as she didn't speak English.
"However, it has made me more confident in myself now," she said.
In Year 12 and 13, she wanted to study biochemistry with the idea of starting up a cosmetics and beauty product business, but her A-levels didn't go to plan.
"I did Year 13 exams and Year 12 resits, so 14 in total, at the same time and it was too much," she said.
"I was going to resit Year 13, but decided it made most sense to go straight to university."
Paulina went through Clearing to see what was out there.
"I felt I had a chance at DMU," she said, "as it wasn't just based on results but me as a person."
Paulina's first day at university was also the first time she had been to Leicester.
"It was such a change being independent to living at home, but I quickly adjusted and found friends," said Paulina, who chose Accounting and Finance because of the career possibilities.
"I'm so glad because it's given me the knowledge and background to understand how business works and how your actions impact a business.
"Going through Clearing and coming to DMU was the best thing, a blessing in disguise."
Posted on Thursday 6th December 2018