April 22, 2020, by abrierley

My Experience as a Business Partnership Officer at the Nottingham City Council 2020

by Tsemaye Salami, School of Law, Second Year LLB.

As one who natural seeks the next opportunity available, once I got the email from my University regarding placement opportunities, I jumped at it immediately. Beyond its embellishment on my CV, I longed for the experience, the exposure, and the growth.

Despite being a law student, I wanted to explore the development of businesses and thus, channel my learnings towards businesses back at home in Nigeria, as I aspire to empower people in all facets of life, including financially. The entire application process was extremely straightforward – I had to show why I was fit for the role and how my previous experiences prepared me for it in about 500 words. Moreover, I had to express my motivation for taking this placement and demonstrate an understanding of the role and the organisation (Nottingham City Council) in about 500 words as well.

Afterwards, I was shortlisted and invited for an interview at the Nottingham City Council office with the founders of the BGlobal project and a local Councillor, and I must say, they were extremely warm and friendly. Following the interview, about a week later I received a call that I got the internship!!!

For anyone that may decide to apply, in the application process, I would certainly recommend intertwining the desired skills required for the placement with your experiences and even if you don’t have the specified experience, demonstrating your enthusiasm to learn and your reason to learn is also really crucial. Additionally, make it about them; let them know what you can offer them as well as what you can learn from them, as opposed to all you can get from them. Preparing for the interview stage, I went through my application answers, answered common interview questions and researched about my interviewer in order to come up with a question to ask at the end of the interview, hence further showing my enthusiasm to be part of the BGlobal team – that was definitely the icing on the cake! Most importantly, I know it may sound cliché but don’t forget to be yourself, employers want to see whether you’ll be a cultural fit into their work environment so let your personality shine forth!

The placement lasted for 10 weeks and my main task was to increase the membership of businesses into the BGlobal growth hub where the Council provides free support to black businesses. Additionally, I was also tasked to come up with marketing strategies to increase the business reach to accelerate membership signups in order to help more businesses. The role was also extremely flexible so any suggestions I had to better support the BGlobal hub were very much welcomed. During my placement, I worked alongside the BGlobal team to organise a networking event, which was really successful, however, the most exciting experience during my placement was when I was featured in the City Council BGlobal newsletter, introducing myself as the new intern. In addition to that, another exciting experience was when I had created a partnership between the BGlobal team and the University of Nottingham for a business symposium organised by OneHeritage with the support of many other societies. The Councillor was to be a panellist in a discussion with other likeminded individuals, give a talk and provide the opportunity for BGlobal membership to the entire audience but unfortunately, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the symposium was put to a halt until further notice. Irrespective of the circumstances, I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better team to work with and I thoroughly enjoyed my work experience. Everyone was extremely helpful and friendly, and they were very receptive to my suggestions, which was really encouraging.

My biggest challenge during my placement was my university timetable. I had accepted the placement offer before my timetable was released so adjusting my placement meetings around my timetable was certainly a significant hindrance. Nevertheless, the fluidity of my tasks certainly helped me to successfully meet both obligations and this also helped me to think outside the box and develop greater initiative! As a law student seeking an all-rounded university experience, it was the perfect placement for me.

My work experience was a great opportunity for me to gain the needful exposure into how a business is run and developed, how to identify and tackle problems as a business developer, organise business events, develop stronger communication skills, and most importantly in my opinion, this experience showed me the value of networking and nurturing good relationships.

I would strongly encourage any student who has an interest in business development to apply for this placement. That first-hand exposure into the business world that develops the necessary soft skills cannot be learnt within a classroom, and what better way to acquire such skills as early as possible than this? Most importantly, the networking opportunities made available through this placement were simply priceless!

Posted in Global Placement Grant