March 14, 2022, by Postgraduate Placements Nottingham

My postgraduate placement: an international student’s perspective

Nivashnee shares her experience of doing a Researcher Academy placement.

~ Nivashnee

When most people apply for a post-graduate placement, it’s to gain work experience that can help them land their first job or internship. However, my story is a little different. I was an international student from South Africa who decided to further my education in the UK by doing a full-time Master of Business Administration (MBA). I already had 8 years of work experience behind me in two multinational FMCG companies. So, at this point, you are probably wondering, what could I gain by doing a post-graduate placement?

Firstly, I was very intrigued by the topic of sustainability in FMCG. It was a hot topic that was becoming an integral part of brand marketing conversations. My Researcher Academy placement was at Benchmark Consulting, a Nottingham-based SME who had a project centred around this exact topic. This placement focused on their innovative new product that could measure and track carbon emissions throughout the packaging process. The placement was to develop a marketing strategy to grow the usage of their new launch. This topic of sustainability was also highly relevant to my upcoming thesis which was focused on sustainability in the marketing advertising context. This placement allowed me to learn a lot about sustainability development from the packaging lens and see first-hand the impact and innovation around where the industry was heading. It provided an excellent perspective especially coming from a country that is years behind on sustainability development.

Secondly, as an international national student, I lacked the experience and context of working at a UK company. As I aspired to look for employment in the UK post my studies, a UK placement would only enhance my current working experience. Through this placement, I was able to gain an understanding of the UK work culture that ultimately helped me settle into my new job after my studies. Tim Barbary, owner, and line manager at Benchmark Consulting was exceptional as he always took the time to provide context, give feedback, and share his pearls of wisdom. Additionally, feedback from the work completed at Benchmark really provided me the confidence in my abilities, especially in a totally different market.

Lastly, whilst I had a lot to gain from taking on this placement, I also felt I had a lot to offer Benchmark based on my experience. At the time of the placement, we were in the middle of one of the strictest lockdowns in the world, I was able to put my spare time to good use and gain knowledge of the industry and give my expertise to a project that highly energized and excited me.

I would highly recommend postgraduate international students to apply for the placements that the Researcher Academy offers as it really gives perspective and experience of working for a UK company. It provides you with transparency of any learning gaps you may identify or give you confidence in your abilities and skills in the context of another country. There is no better opportunity that allows you to manage your time, focus on your studies and gain invaluable experience from pioneering companies like Benchmark Consulting.

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