I worked at Kent Business School for a year – here’s what I found out…

Business and Management Student Stephen Owusu-Ansah worked his placement year as Kent Business School’s Student Experience Assistant on the Medway campus. Here, he sheds light on all the things he learned about KBS during his 12 months of employment…

You can do a Year in Industry (and never leave campus!) My placement year started in 2020 and I was a Student Experience Assistant on the Medway campus. I always knew that I wanted to do a year in industry as I would be able to experience the real life of working a full-time job but landing something right on my doorstep was perfect.

The Employability Services are there for you. When I applied for my position in Student Experience they helped me with my CV, cover letter and applying myself as much as they could during the interview stage, and I got that job! But there are so many students who experience rejections. The Employability team will help you build resilience and that ‘never give up’ frame of mind.

There is a LOT of work going on behind the scenes. Most people knew it was big news to get an accolade such as the EQUIS accreditation earlier this year, but to work on getting it was something else. The whole of KBS came together and worked so hard to get the university triple accredited it was an amazing experience to be a part of.

The pandemic was tough, but we all learned to adapt. Having to switch from working in the office to working from home was the biggest challenge. In the beginning, it was harder than I thought to properly manage my time all on my own compared to the workflow of working in an office. I did eventually get into a proper routine and was able to adjust accordingly to manage my own time in the most effective ways possible.

Student experience is top of the agenda at Kent. I saw first-hand the reasons why Kent is so highly regarded for it. The members of staff are always available for students, be it academic staff or professional services. All the events, even in a national pandemic, from the student unions and various departments were well coordinated and well attended.

There is a genuine trading floor simulator on campus – The Bloomberg Suite, as is its official name, is a replica of the system used by professionals in financial services and can be accessed by anyone studying a financial topic. What a way to experience working life as you learn!

You are the catalyst for change. My advice would be to try as many events as you can and provide feedback if you have ways for the University to improve. For example at one of our events called Finishing Strongly, a Stage 3 student suggested that it would be a good idea for a managing your money event. This got the team thinking and we reached out to a professional who offered the students sound advice on finances.

Student engagement is a two-way street! Teams chats and student emails are there for a reason, but we’ve all ignored them at times. My placement has really exposed me to how much the university provides to its students and that it is up to us to be responsive and involved.

Networking is key – From the Business Society to the Marketing Society, I wish I’d known more about these kinds of organisations when I first started the University as they are great for social events and making contacts.

To find out how the Employability Team can help you, visit their Employability Blog here, a resource for KBS students and KBS alumni, offering help and advice on how to make yourself more employable and opportunities for a successful transition to the world of work.

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