May 3, 2018, by Postgraduate Placements Nottingham
Small companies, big challenges, unlimited opportunities
This week we hear from Luis Torres about his experience of the Postgraduate Placements Nottingham (PPN) scheme.
My PhD was a very enjoyable experience overall, but at times it was also a lonely ride and one that involved a great deal of conceptual work. The PPN placements scheme offered a great opportunity to have some space outside of my research and to apply my academic skills in fresh context. I’d say that it helped me keep my feet on the ground or “in the real world”. Listening to the real, day-to-day challenges of the companies which hosted my placement, also helped me to more deeply appreciate the value of my own PhD research and to view it in a wider perspective. It actually gave me ideas how to improve my academic PhD work, and got me thinking about issues I hadn’t considered at the beginning of my studies.
From a career point of view my placement experiences were also invaluable. As an international student I had some previous work experiences from back home in Chile, and also from my time as a Master’s degree student in Spain. The differences in practices and management I encountered between those two countries made me realise that there is a lot of diversity at an international business level. It seemed important then for me not to miss the opportunity to get to know the UK business world during the course of my 4 years at University of Nottingham. PPN provided me with the perfect platform to do this.
The PPN placement scheme offers an amazingly wide variety of opportunities but I found that there is something especially rewarding about being placed with a small start-up company. I would say, “Small company, big challenges, unlimited opportunities.” Working for a start-up is tough at first as you don’t necessarily have experts in every department or field, and information and protocols are still in development. At the same time these things are also an opportunity and I found that the businesses I worked with were keen to involve me closely in their business processes and meetings, and that they trusted me as a co-creator in their enterprises.
From enhancing my PhD to offering me much greater work experience, the PPN programme was a real win-win opportunity for me. Some of the highlights of my time on placement include developing research-based content on mindfulness applications, writing evidence papers for the website of the British Parliament, writing a strategic business plan, and designing a franchise-based growth strategy.
After graduating I took up my current role as an assistant professor at the Nottingham University Business School in Ningbo, China. The experiences and skills I gained during my placements have truly helped me to teach from an international perspective. I can provide real life examples from three countries to my students, and I can talk with passion about them because they are my own.