November 6, 2015, by Mike Walker
Spotlight On… Advertising, Marketing, and PR
By Michael Walker, student blogger
The recent Spotlight On… Advertising, Marketing and PR saw representatives from five companies as varied as Mars Food and public relations (PR) firm Brunswick Group taking the floor to lay down their experiences of this competitive and diverse industry.
Having arrived slightly early, I passed the tempting rows of drinks and nibbles that I was assured I’d be welcome to once we were finished, and took my seat in the lecture theatre. As a first year student and this being the first careers event I have attended, I hardly knew what to expect from this first foray into investigating careers.
This event had caught my eye in particular because in years gone by, I’d always had my heart set on a career in the creative industry, calling me back to days gone by when I was always drawing and making things. With those early creative ambitions still lurking in my mind, I leapt at the opportunity to see how my degree in theology could possibly land me a career in marketing, PR or advertising, kindling those childhood interests once more.
The evening smashed my preconceptions that you need a ‘creative’ degree like graphics or marketing to pursue a career in this industry. Whether you’re doing engineering, science or an arts degree, no position is off-limits. Here are three ways the evening showed me that finding your way into the industry isn’t all about what your degree title is:
Your specialism doesn’t limit your prospects
Jo Sinisgalli, the first of the evening’s speakers, is in her final year of Mars Food’s management development graduate programme. Interestingly, she took a degree in civil engineering and Italian, which seems poles apart from her current role as the brand manager for Uncle Ben’s Sauce. Her advice? Your degree isn’t the be-all and end-all for your career prospects. Do well at your discipline, obviously, but don’t think the doors are closed to you just because you’re an expert in Egyptology and not brand marketing.
Experience is as valuable as education
Cerith Evans, an associate at Brunswick Group also spoke at the event, said that he found himself clueless about what career path he might take as he entered his final year of history at University College London. So, without confining himself to the obvious options his humanities degree might offer him, he tried pushing open other doors; he shared his journey from interning at The Sun newspaper as a journalist, and at Sky doing marketing. He stressed the importance of getting a feel for the working environment before rushing into the most obvious job your degree offers. His story is one of simply testing the water – look around to what might be open to you. Now he holds a job advising corporations as large as Tesco on corporate relations matters, something that might not have happened had he not tried lots of different experiences first.
Don’t be a one-trick pony
Will Allen, group account director for social media agency We Are Social, emphasised that a job in the creative industry is one that changes every day. One moment he could be off to a meeting with Adidas in Germany while the next he might be in the office planning brand strategies. No day is the same. In the same way, as students we need to prove ourselves to be adaptable. By all means get stuck into those textbooks, but make sure you can evidence skills such as teamwork, leadership, and communication throughout your time here. Those skills are transferable in ways that your ability to recall the Tudor family line might not be.
So, while the evening may not have left me much clearer about what career I might want to pursue, this much was sure: I left encouraged knowing my options aren’t limited to the obvious choices a degree in the humanities might throw up for me. And the aforementioned tray of nibbles was pretty good, too.
Do you know what can do with your degree? Send us your degree and we will give you examples of jobs previous students have gone onto.