May 30, 2024, by Joe

Blessing Nkama – Market Researcher at Lots for Tots

My name’s Blessing Nkama and I’m a first year Politics and International Relations student. During the Spring semester, I embarked on a 10-week remote placement with Lots for Tots, a children’s magazine, as a market researcher. This placement was enriching and eye-opening for me as I learnt about the world of marketing and the different responsibilities that came with it. Initially, I had no idea about marketing or whether it was a career I wanted to pursue in the future, however, this experience changed my perspective and allowed me to explore a different career pathway that I hope to learn more about.

My experience in applying for the placement was quick and easy as the Careers team was very supportive throughout the process and ensured that I had all the resources available on Moodle and in person to create an outstanding CV and cover letter.

As my placement was remote, I was able to be flexible and schedule a day to focus on my tasks and communicate with my supervisor Beth. I dedicated Tuesdays, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, to my placement. My tasks typically involved researching competitors’ information, creating surveys, inputting data into spreadsheets, writing press releases and creating reports. These tasks were intended to help Lots for Tots expand their magazine audience to Nottinghamshire. I thoroughly enjoyed these tasks because it highlighted to me the many factors that contribute to the creation of a magazine that resonates with the audience, both the creative and analytical sides of marketing and the importance of understanding the audience’s needs and preferences to make informed decisions.

The challenges I faced whilst doing this placement were mainly task-related such as refining my research into simple concise data and using Excel for the first time. I overcame this by contacting my supervisor Beth, for advice on how to lay out the data as well as watching YouTube tutorials on how to use Excel.

A key highlight of my experience was the opportunity to draft a press release for the magazine’s upcoming expansion. This was an exciting chance for me to demonstrate my writing skills, and my passion for journalism and gain insight into how to write an effective press release. This experience improved my communication style, especially when communicating with other businesses via email or on the phone as well as the confidence to present my work, pitch ideas and demonstrate my knowledge. I have also gained digital marketing skills and have improved my knowledge of Excel which will be beneficial for my professional growth as these are sought-out skills.

Overall, my experience with Lots for Tots was enjoyable and I would recommend the placements scheme to all students. My supervisor Beth was amazing throughout the placement, she offered helpful advice and was very supportive and optimistic. At the end of my placement, we connected on LinkedIn and she offered to be a referee for me.

Tips I would strongly recommend to future interns is to build a meaningful relationship with your supervisor as they can be helpful in the development of your future career. I would also recommend seizing any fantastic opportunity the University’s Careers team has to offer to gain insight into an industry you might be considering in the future or to learn new skills, and to do something different. Doing a placement with the University will aid both your personal and professional growth. Also, create a timetable to effectively manage your time between your studies and the placement so that neither becomes neglected and create a to-do list so that your day is organised. Lastly, remember to be proactive, eager to learn and open-minded to any placement opportunity you come across!

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