Spending a placement year immersed in his dream job has helped set a De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) Business and Marketing graduate apart from others competing for roles.
Owen Hinkson credits his time as a marketing co-ordinator with giving him the edge and vital experience to land a role with a leading SME. He chose working for a smaller firm over a blue chip graduate scheme because of the range of experience it offered.
In his current role, for Nemo dealer group, a national co-operative of business and IT supply stores, he manages the online marketing of 20 different member organisations, running e-mail campaigns, conducting market research, blogging and organising social media campaigns.
Owen, 26, from Coventry, said: "I would highly recommend a placement year for so many reasons. Firstly, it looks fantastic on your CV and many times I've found it to separate me from my competition when applying for jobs. It also shows application of academic knowledge and gives you a flavour of your intended job field as well as building real-world experience, plus you're getting paid."
Owen spent a year working at a social enterprise, Worth-It Projects, helping to raise brand awareness, develop an online community and prepare marketing reports - all keys skills he was able to bring to his final-year studies.
All DMU Business and Law students have the chance to take a paid placement year in industry, with help and support offered by the #DMUworks facultyplacement team.
Owen said: "There were aspects that I'd picked up from my time at the social enterprise that weren't explicitly covered at university, from learning various technologies to various processes that I may have never come across if it weren't for my placement year.
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"These skills and approaches allowed me to strengthen my assignments with real-world processes, application and examples that had been tried and tested in real-life working scenarios."
Now working as part of a close-knit team, Owen says he opted for an SME over blue chip graduate roles to give him as much exposure as possible to all elements of marketing. He said: "I chose an SME because of the vast exposure you get and the possibilities of covering so many bases that you don't necessarily get in larger blue chip schemes.
"Also, working in a smaller team allows you to be valued and identified as an individual person and you get to develop great working relationships. Whereas sometimes in a blue chip grad scheme it's a little easier to get lost in a crowd."
Marketing Planning and Management was his favourite final-year module, run by assistant professor David Gordon, who brought in guest speakers from industry to speak to students and show how marketing principles taught at university were applied by marketeers.
But it was not all work and study for Owen at DMU. He was a member of the Korfball society, which he says was a real highlight of his time at university - and he advises students to join a society to meet different people and make new friends. "I've made friends for life at DMU," he said.
Posted on Friday 7th December 2018