Accessible student life helps Jodi land sought-after grad role

Criminology graduate Jodi Rose is celebrating securing a place on a coveted graduate programme, following support from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) in making student life more accessible.

The 21-year-old from Hertfordshire was one of just 11 graduates out of approximately 3,000 hopefuls to secure a place on Philip Morris International’s (PMI) Evolv program, which is designed to fast-track young adults into business management positions.

Jodi Rose

PMI is a global cigarette company, which is currently in the midst of an ambitious transformation and phasing out cigarettes by creating sustainable smoke-free products.

By advancing into the Evolv program, Jodi will be splitting her time across commercial, strategic and managerial assignments within the fast-moving consumer goods industry, before transitioning into a new role at PMI. 

She said: “I’ve worked very hard to get here, so it’s fantastic to finally say I can start this role. I’m really excited to be a part of a progressive company that’s willing to not only listen to but also try to incorporate my ideas.

“I’m a firm believer in breaking down that traditional hierarchy and letting people from every level of the business input their ideas into how it should be run.

“I’m training until December before splitting into my first of three assignments. What I really love about the Evolv program is that it gives me a chance to explore what I’m passionate about within business. I could find that working in HR or UX is my niche – there are a lot of possibilities here for me and I’m just trying to keep an open mind.

“After my two years on the scheme, I should have a more holistic view of the business, which I’m hoping will help shape me into a well-rounded business leader.”

Landing her role with PMI was just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Jodi’s recent success, who also graduated with First-class honours in Criminology.

Academic success however isn’t something that has always come naturally for Jodi, who struggled in secondary school due to what she suspected was an undiagnosed learning condition.

Having enrolled at DMU, she sought the university’s Disability Advice Support (DAS) team, which confirmed her suspicions. Jodi was diagnosed with dyslexia and dyspraxia, and received a one-to-one mentor that would break down her academic assignments. In her third and final year, Jodi also received the news that she was autistic.

She said: “I wouldn’t say it was a shock when I was diagnosed. I think I subtly knew all along and perhaps I would have done a little better in school had I had that diagnosis and support.

“I had a mentor from my first week at DMU until my last. She helped with everything imaginable, from assignments to managing time – it made university so much more accessible for me.”

DMU provides a range of services and guidance for students with a wide range of learning differences. Students can book appointments for screenings and one-to-one sessions through My Gateway, the university’s online booking service

Her diagnoses inspired Jodi to show that people with neurodivergent conditions were not defined by their disability, so she got involved with De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU) and worked her way up to become a director and trustee, as well as a course representative for Criminology.

She ensured that the DSU was complying with its vision, ethos and goals, as well as that the university was keeping its students' interests at heart.

“I want people to see that neurodivergent conditions such as my dyslexia or autism aren’t just like the stereotypes,” Jodi said. “My condition is a part of me. It’s always there and I don’t let it hold me back.

“I just want to make a difference in what I do. That’s why I joined the DSU because I felt I could push through a change where I saw it was needed. I was able to use petitions to help students have their voice heard, and it helped change policies that helped shape the experience for not only myself but others too.

“It also proved to be an opportunity to get experience in marketing and finance, something integral to getting my place at PMI and Evolv.

“I’m really grateful to DMU for the opportunities it’s given me. After I got on to the Evolv scheme, I was asked to speak at a panel for Criminology students so I could share my story of getting on to the programme. Speaking there was a real honour for me, and hopefully, it inspires other students to find what they enjoy.”

Posted on Tuesday 9th November 2021

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