Seven years ago to the day that Amy Dunbabin had her interview at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) she headed back to campus - this time as a successful alumna.
The First-class Digital Marketing and Social Media graduate, now a UK category planner for cosmetics giant Avon, felt "honoured" to speak to final-year students.
She shared her experiences, offered employment tips and delivered a presentation on strategies for mature markets, which the student audience described as "insightful and relatable".
Amy said: "Hopefully I've inspired a few people. I definitely want to give something back.
"I sat here three years ago and I understand the stresses of being a final-year student."
Amy's presentation brought theory to life, with Avon, founded in 1886, the very definition of a mature market. However, strategies she discussed - from designing 'Instagrammable' packaging to ordering products on WhatsApp - were so up to date they have yet to reach textbooks.
Marketing student Hajibur Rahman described her talk as "inspiring".
"It was a great experience," he said, while classmate Rashaan Adeyemi summed up the lecture as "engaging and useful".
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Amy's overall career advice was that "great things never come from comfort zones". She shared how presenting at seminars used to "terrify" her but that she now never turns down an opportunity to do so.
This resonated with student Akshay Jude, who said. "It was reassuring to hear and gave me confidence."
Associate Professor David Gordon asked Amy to deliver the guest lecture.
He said: "The value of inviting back graduates is they're bringing theory to life. I'm talking about absolutely cutting-edge, right-now practice. Amy is talking about things not yet released."
Amy was honoured to accept, citing David's subject talk at an Open Day as one of the key factors in her decision to study at DMU.
"It's only when you come in and see what it's like and who will help you on your journey that you can really tell," said Amy. "DMU also offered the chance to do a placement, which is so important."
Her course, renamed Marketing, lived up to expectation.
"The subject inspired me and there was a great range of modules. Every lecture and seminar I attended helped me in some way."
It's knowledge from her degree along with skills gained on placement with Vauxhall Motors that Amy credits with impressing Avon.
"The actual placement role I did was right up my street, but I wanted to work in an industry I'm passionate about. Avon is a great company and just the culture for me."
Amy went through a long recruitment process to land a role as a UK category co-ordinator in the skincare marketing team, which she started at the company's head office in Northampton three days after graduating in July 2016.
Taking her own advice - to work hard and take each opportunity given to you - has paid off, with Amy having earned a promotion to a UK category planner last September.
"It's a fantastic role!" she added. "I'm still in the beauty team, which I love. I now look after hair care and toiletries and I'm also approached to work on other projects, as I'm recognised as a digital expert."
Posted on Monday 25th February 2019