In our ‘10 Questions’ series, KBS caught up with Phoebe Thompson, BA Business and Management (with a Year in Industry) student.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Phoebe Thompson and I am in my fourth year of studying BA Business and Management (with a Year in Industry), therefore I am graduating Summer 2020. I’m from Buckinghamshire in England and lived at home during my placement year, where I worked at Renault UK Head Office. I absolutely loved my placement year experience as the job role was perfectly aligned with what I have always wanted to do with my career; advertising. I worked in the Marketing Communications department so worked across all national advertisements: TV, radio, print, etc.
What attracted you to study Business and Management?
From a young age, I knew that I wanted to get into advertising for a global company who had lots of money to spend on their marketing campaigns. When I was 9 years old and my dad worked for Coca Cola, I drew up storyboards of my ideas for what their TV adverts should look like (we still have these haha). I also gained work experience in this industry before coming to university to confirm my career aspirations, but still did not want to limit myself in the future if this were to ever change. A Business and Management degree allowed me to understand all areas of business, which would be really useful for whichever career I ended up taking as it’s important to understand what everyone around you is doing and how their work links in with yours.
Which modules have you enjoyed the most and why?
My favourite modules have been Creating Your Own Enterprise, Strategic Marketing, Product Design and Buying and Corporate Social Responsibility. Creating Your Own Enterprise gave me so many tools for later life and such a broad understanding beyond just theoretical frameworks. Strategic Marketing was a personal favourite due to my love for marketing, so I just really enjoyed the topics covered and how it all linked to my placement year. Product Design and Buying was again hands-on, rather than purely theoretical, which made it so much more real and interesting. It was also quite creative which I loved! CSR has always been a topic of interest for me, so it was great to dive deeper into the various different issues and make my own decisions on how I want to act as a consumer.
What are the facilities like at Kent Business School and on the Medway campus?
The KBS facilities at Medway are brilliant; there are individual workspaces, group working spaces, social spaces and modern teaching spaces. The equipment and computers are up-to-date in order to aid the teaching as much as possible, and if you need help with anything then their pastoral facilities are great also.
How about the social life in Medway?
I have a tight-knit yet large friendship group here, who are a mixture of both flatmates and course friends. Years 1 and 2 were messy and we were probably out three times a week on average, mixing it up between local nights at Tap’n’Tin and Casinos with Canterbury nights at Venue and Club Chemistry. We have also been out in Maidstone a fair few times, namely to Bierkeller and Source Bar. Final year is of course more dedicated to getting our best possible degrees, so we probably go out once a week. We all saved up a bit on placement so have had a few nice big nights out in London for birthdays etc, which has definitely been a highlight of final year for me.
What was the teaching like at KBS?
The teaching at KBS has been really high quality, with particular reference to Debbie Kemp and Adam Smith here. If you have the opportunity to be taught by these two at any stage, take it! They are so engaging and genuinely want you to get the most out of the module that you can. Aside from this, all of my seminar leaders have been available if I have needed extra sessions with them to understand the content covered in seminars. This has been really useful, and I know that my friends at other universities have not had this luxury!
Tell us about your Year in Industry
As briefly mentioned before, I loved my placement year. Renault had a really established placement program and there were 25 other students also on this scheme in various roles across the business, so the social life was great too. I was given so much responsibility and actually surprised myself with my abilities. I learnt SO much about the job role but also about myself, and I can’t recommend doing a placement year enough. My role was mainly responsible for briefing assets (magazine inserts, digital pop-ups, Sky Sports Premier League idents), and then working closely with the different agencies to develop and finalise them in line with company guidelines.
How do you think your Year in Industry will help your career?
My year in industry 100% confirmed my career aspirations and has given me the invaluable hands-on experience to help me get the perfect graduate role for me. I know that I want to be in Marketing Communications, but it also opened my eyes to the possibility of working agency-side rather than client-side. Instead of working for the company and briefing the campaign to the creative agency, I am considering working for the creative agency who respond to client briefs with various routes that they could take.
What are your plans for after graduation?
My initial plans for what I would do upon graduation were to go straight into a job that was equally as creative and impactful as my placement, however, the labour market has taken a considerable hit due to coronavirus. I was due to spend April applying for graduate-level jobs, after not being successful in getting a graduate scheme back in January time, but companies are understandably not hiring until things become clearer about when things will return to normal. Fortunately, I have been working 2 days a week at a digital marketing agency called Brave Little Tank (literally located at the Dockyard, so convenient!) during my final year, so I had saved up a bit to account for any delays in getting a job. If this lockdown continues for the foreseeable future, my post-graduation plans will be plenty of relaxing, walking my dogs and g&ts!
What advice would you give to somebody thinking of coming to KBS?
My advice for anyone looking to come to KBS is simple: Work hard, play hard. Always in that order! University is a unique time in your life where you have freedom and youth, but you also need to set yourself up and do yourself proud for life post-university. If you want to get a good grade overall, know that late-night library sessions will probably be needed. And they can actually be quite fun with the right people and the right snacks! Don’t be too hard on yourself and enjoy the journey. If you get the opportunity to do a placement year, try your very best to get one. You get so much support from the KBS team, so as long as you put in the hours yourself then you’ll be just fine.
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