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Irene Leung

Current job: Business Analytics Manager, Vodafone (Graduate Scheme)

"If you can, my advice would be to take a sandwich placement year. Nothing is quite comparable to on-the-job learning, getting a sense of what it is like in a professional environment first-hand."

Truthfully speaking, I did not choose my modules with a clear direction in what I’d like to professionally pursue as a graduate. However, I did have a particular interest in all things digital, so I tend to sway more towards modules that facilitated this.

My goal post-studies were to start my professional career journey through graduate schemes. In order to achieve that, I set out objectives such as CV building and upskilling. Edge Hill University has helped me achieve this through on-campus employment and skills training platforms such as Graduates First, Interview Stream and LinkedIn Learning.

The most influential part of my degree was the sandwich placement year that I took in the penultimate year of my studies. I feel that nothing is quite comparable to on-the-job learning, getting a sense of what it is like in a professional environment first-hand. Marketing itself is such a broad field and having a wide knowledge of marketing activities helped me to understand business situations and I felt equipped to apply my learnings in those circumstances.

I am currently on my first rotation of a graduate scheme as a Business Analytics Manager at Vodafone. In general, this involves identifying potential issue in a scope and finding ways to improve or mitigate the adversity that is best in line with the company’s resources. In most graduate schemes, you will rotate to different departments once or twice and year.

During second year, there was an organised mock assessment centre for all second-year students. This experience helped me further develop many soft skills such as team working, interpersonal communication and working under pressure to name just a few.

The mock assessment day showed me the type of person that employers are looking to hire. The skills I gathered on that day prepared me to the versatile environment of graduate schemes as you need to learn fast, deliver, and rotate to a different division to do it all over again.

If you are able to, take a sandwich placement year. It is the best thing to springboard you onto a graduate role after your studies. You may also want to consider applying to on-campus employment when you are a student. Not only does this give you experience of the job application process, but will also develop soft skills when you succeed the application.