Two years of dogged determination have earned Rubyna Cassam work experience with one of the world’s largest and best-known publishing companies.
The final-year English Literature student at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) recently completed a two-week placement with Penguin Random House in London, working in the international sales department.
Rubyna gained invaluable knowledge of the publishing world, from creating presentations for new book releases and producing spreadsheets of international sales figures, to contacting buyers about merchandise and attending marketing meetings about the London and Frankfurt book fairs.
“I’ve been applying for this placement repeatedly for the past two years, so managing to secure it felt like a real achievement,” said the 21-year-old from Leicester.
“The biggest highlight was sitting in on a high-profile meeting about all of the upcoming books for 2019, with representatives from many of the company’s independent publishing imprints introducing between 10 and 20 new releases.
“Getting a preview of upcoming releases from familiar authors, seeing book covers that were still in the editing stages and hearing about re-releases and titles that could potentially be adapted for film or TV was really exciting.
“I also got a taste of what future employers are looking for, as well as how to interact with colleagues and conduct myself professionally in a working environment.”
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Rubyna credits the ongoing encouragement she received from her faculty’s work placement team – which is part of #DMUworks, the university’s careers programme - with giving her the confidence to keep applying until she got the result she wanted.
As soon as she secured her work experience she contacted her personal tutor for advice about missing timetabled classes.
She said: “The placement fell during term time, but everyone was really encouraging and supportive because they knew this was a hard-to-come-by opportunity.
“My module leaders were informed and I was given extra support to complete assignments that were due while I was away, as well as to go over the work that I missed.
“All the staff were very helpful and understanding.”
As well as work placement opportunities, Rubyna listed #DMUglobal – the university’s international experience programme - and DMU Square Mile – which connects students with the community through volunteering - as initiatives that students can get involved with to enhance their CVs.
“I would encourage each and every student to make the most of their time at DMU,” she said.
“Take advantage of the opportunities that are given to you. DMU can set you up with excellent prospects for the future if you simply use your initiative and take advantage of them!”
Posted on Friday 15th February 2019