Kim van Heerden

Country of origin: South Africa

Account Manager, Saatchi & Saatchi

The main reason why I chose to study at LUMS is because of the high teaching standards, the modern Management School and the ‘community’ feeling on campus. I also liked the unique college system and friendly atmosphere. LUMS also runs excellent additional services dedicated to Management School students, such as the Writing Zone and the Career Service, which it was important to know that I could contact help if I needed it.

The best part about the BSc Marketing Management programme was the ‘simulations’, which are incorporated into many the modules.  The ‘business games’ allowed me to act as a ‘manager’ and get a real flavour for the world of marketing and business. Additionally, they have allowed me to put the theory into practice to a certain extent, which has really helped my learning and development.

I also enjoyed the ability to choose from a range of different modules each year.  This allowed me to explore a variety of different courses and tailor subjects according to my strengths.  I also like the fact that the programme included a variety of assessments, including group work, presentations and projects, which have taught me key organisational skills and prepared me for a job in the future.

At Lancaster University, there are many opportunities to get involved and I am fortunate to have been a part of many different activities and societies.  In my first year, I was the Vice President of the JCR (Junior Common Room) for my College.  This position mainly involved organising social events and representing the College on wider University issues.  In my second year, I was a member of LuDanS (Lancaster University Dance Society), participating in dance shows and competitions. I was also captain of college netball team and course rep for the Marketing Department during my time at Lancaster. Through these different activities I made new friends, developed skills for my CV, but most importantly I had fun!

As part of my degree, I completed a one year placement at Microsoft in London. My role as an Associate Brand Strategist involved creating and presenting inspiring commercial offerings to Microsoft’s clients and media agencies.  It was one of the best experiences because I was able to gain practical work experience and learn how to manage myself in a business environment. I also learnt how to manage my time efficiently and present to senior executives.  

When I was looking for a placement, the LUMS Careers team were fantastic. They promoted a variety of different opportunities and also ran regular ‘drop-in sessions’ to discuss my career options and to look over my CV and cover letters.  The LUMS Careers team helped me with psychometric tests and interviews which was invaluable support.

Leadership, teamwork and public speaking are the top three skills I learnt at Lancaster. These essential skills not only helped me secure a position on the graduate scheme at Saatchi & Saatchi but also helped me obtain a full time position as an Account Executive on the Toyota Motor Europe account 8 weeks later. 18 months later, I was promoted to an Account Manager where these skills are still crucial to my day to day job, leading a team to deliver world-class creative ideas for our clients.