Michelle Robinson

Degree:  BA (Hons) French Studies
Year of graduation:  2008
Job title:  French Sales Team Leader
Organisation:  Support Warehouse 

Q. Why did you choose to study at Lancaster University?

A. I loved the on campus, community feel of the university, and the language department really impressed me.  The lecturers were enthusiastic about languages, and the modules sounded really interesting and varied.

Q. What were the best things about your course at Lancaster?

A. The variety in the course – a lot of my course-mates studied two languages, or a language and another subject, but I just studied French, so I worried it might be a bit samey.  This was not the case – I studied the French language, but also French cinema, theatre, politics, and some European studies modules, amongst other things.

Q. How much did your Lancaster degree help you in your career?

A. I’ve worked in three businesses since graduating, and wouldn’t have got any of those roles without my degree and knowledge of the French language.  My time at university made me much more confident and independent.  A lot of employers know that Lancaster has a good reputation, so this always reflects well.

Q. How much did your language skills help you in your career?

A. Every job I have had has made use of my language. 

Q. How much did your year abroad help in your career?

A. My year abroad was invaluable – not only did my French become much more fluent, but I learned how to deal with situations I would never have faced had I not gone to university. 

Q. How has your career progressed since graduating?

A. I have worked for three different businesses, and done some very different jobs – French Property Recruiter, Marketing Executive, and French Sales Team Leader.  Each job has taught me new skills, and I feel I have progressed not only in terms salary, and also in terms of finding out what I like, and what I want to do.

Q. What are the most important qualities for being successful in your role?

A. In sales you need to be confident, knowledgeable and positive.  Doing this in another language is a real challenge, but it is one I relish and enjoy (I was promoted to team leader after three months, so I must have done something right!).

Q. What do you like in your current role?

A. I love that I can use my French all day every day, both spoken and written, and that I work with a variety of people.

Q. What snippet of career advice would you give to a current student?

A. I would say start looking at what is available to you early (I found it quite a nice break from studying in my final year) and apply for lots of different things.  You may find that you are good at something you hadn’t initially considered.  Your language will make you stand out from the crowd, and is a real door opener – it can get you into all sorts of organisations and roles, so use it as much as you can!