Shamiso Pemhiwa studied Marketing at Kent Business School and landed a graduate internship with Reckitt, who own many well-known hygiene, health and nutrition brands.
‘I lived in Africa as a child and moved to London when I was 17 and have always been interested in the global reach of brands.
When I was deciding what to study, Marketing was high on my agenda. Researching various universities, Kent stood out. It had a strong metric element to the course and modules that tied in to innovation, which I knew was really important in the modern world.
Though it was lockdown when I started, I was still able to get a feel of the diverse culture within Kent on virtual seminars and lectures. My cohort came from different ends of the globe, and it was incredible to gather different perspectives.
Once we got back on campus for my final year, I was able to meet friends in person from all over the world – the US, Nigeria, Greece, Kenya and everywhere in between. I also joined the East African Society, which was really beneficial to me.
Overall, university for me was all about learning the trade of Marketing. I loved most of the modules but was particularly inspired by one on entrepreneurship, after which I launched my own business, Bikini Twist, a dropshipping company over e-commerce.
It was a learning curve, product research, launching a website, promoting the business and dealing with the logistics and while it wasn’t a huge success, it taught me many lessons in industry that I still feel are with me today.
During my final year, I started to apply for graduate schemes, assisted by the Employability Team at Kent. I had my heart set on one at Reckitt, which is a consumer goods business that deals with lots of well-known brands – from Durex to Nurofen.
I graduated on 15 July at Canterbury Cathedral and got my offer for a year long graduate internship on the 20th of July, just five days later. Since then, it’s been a whirlwind and a very busy, dynamic job role!
I support the team who market the Vanish brand and work in consumer research and brand strategy. A lot of my day is spent gathering information from consumers, often online but sometimes even visiting homes and watching how people use and experience our products; and coming up with solutions on how to enhance our product.
I then have to use data analysis skills perfected on my course to put our findings into an easy to understand format and feed back to other teams and my Brand Manager.
Every other week I work on concept development for new projects and brands. It is really a dream come true for me to work in innovation, like this.
I use everything I learned at university in this role – studying in a diverse environment really assisted me when dealing with global clients and my learnings in marketing strategy at Kent have set me up for managing these long term projects. Innovation ran through the course at Kent too and I think I have the entrepreneurial mindset to think outside of the box when it comes to our brands.
In the next five years I really hope I have stayed with this business and moved up to management level. They are a great company to work for and there are lots of progression opportunities, so the future looks very positive!’