June 1, 2022, by Postgraduate Placements Nottingham

Improving my employability with a postgraduate placement

Cephas on his experience of doing a Researcher Academy postgraduate placement.


~ Cephas

After spending my formative years in a developing economy, studying in the UK allowed me to interact with students from all over the world, and the majority of them believed that completing a post-graduate placement would improve your employability. I am an international student from Ghana who chose to continue my studies in the United Kingdom by enrolling in a full-time MSc in Accounting and Finance programme.

After participating in a Real World Engagement Project organised by the Nottingham University Business School, I became highly interested in the field of research and data analytics. Most organisations are currently concerned with how to make sense of their massive amounts of data. My Researcher Academy placement was at Comech Metrology Limited, a Derby-based company who had a project centred around the same area. They looked at expanding their offerings to new markets and considered a project in market mapping and business analysis to enable them to make informed decisions. This placement focused on researching the various UK sectors and producing comprehensive reports on the best markets to penetrate. Additionally, it involved a great deal of interaction with the senior stakeholders within the company to establish potential routes to new markets and analysing the data to support the recommendations and findings.

I began the project during the time of my studies, so I had to fit it in around coursework’s, exam preparation, and my dissertation submission. Creating a project plan to accomplish all my tasks improved my time management skills and ability to prioritize. It also allowed me to learn a lot about various UK sectors and how businesses use analytical insights to decide which markets to expand their products into. Moreover, I was able to utilize the skills and knowledge I gained from pursuing a Microsoft Professional Certification course in Azure Data Fundamentals, for example, when analysing and visualizing data using Power BI. Furthermore, in-person meetings with senior leaders improved my communication skills, which came in handy when I was invited by Microsoft Education to speak at a BETT Global 2022 keynote session with senior directors from top universities at the ExCel London Centre about the digital skills gap of modern learners.

Additionally, I lacked the experience and background of working in a UK company as an international student. A UK placement would only strengthen my present work experience, as I hoped to apply for work in the UK after my graduation. I was able to develop an insight into the UK work culture through this placement and Pete Lockwood, Comech Metrology’s Business Development Manager, was also outstanding in that he always took the time to provide context and perspective. Also, feedback from the work I did there gave me a lot of confidence in my capabilities, particularly in data analytics.

I strongly encourage postgraduate international students to apply for the Researcher Academy’s placements since they provide valuable insight and experience working for a UK company. It gives you confidence in your abilities and skills in the setting of a different country by revealing any learning gaps you may have discovered.

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