Lauren Brookes

Country of origin: United Kingdom

Marketing Executive, AkzoNobel

After spending two years abroad working and travelling, Lauren joined AkzoNobel on their marketing graduate scheme.

I chose to study at Lancaster University Management School because it had a good reputation and even its location seemed perfect, being near to the Lake District where my family lived. I had been on a school trip to the University while in the sixth form and had liked it then, being impressed with the accommodation and the fact that everything you needed was on site.

What I liked most about doing the BBA Management was the flexibility of the course. Although there were core modules that you were required to take, much of it was composed of modules that you chose yourself, so if you found a subject you enjoyed then you could take additional modules in this area. An additional factor was that we were given practical experience, not just theoretical. Along with the third-year placement, we undertook a number of projects doing research for small local companies and helped them with their business plans.

Throughout university I was involved with the lacrosse team, going on tour to Dublin in the third year, and in the fourth year I was given the position of vice-captain of the women's team – mainly for my motivational skills as opposed to my playing skills!

My third year of university was spent on placement and away from the Lancaster University itself. My placement was with Lara Nichols Ltd, a small company in Lancaster. Owing to the fact that the company was so small I was able to try out a number of different roles and was able to put my theoretical learning into practice. One of the main things the placement gave me was confidence, to know that I could work in a role that I have never previously done and that I could succeed.

The careers centre in LUMS is a fantastic tool which I urge all undergrads, especially final years, to use. What I found particularly useful was help with CV writing, as I continue to update my CV I still remember the advice that I was given. Having so many potential employers come in to talk to us was another valuable tool; as a student it is sometimes difficult to see life beyond university and to know what you want to do. Being given the opportunity to talk to and pose questions to employers helps with these big career choices.

Lancaster University was everything I wanted it to be and more! I could not fault any aspect of my time here, from the rewarding yet challenging course and the pastoral care of the college to the social activities and time spent with friends.

After graduating I moved to Abu Dhabi and spent a year working in an international school. In the UAE you don't need to have a teaching qualification to teach and so after only two weeks of training I was thrown into the deep end. What I found was that after four years of presentations I had the confidence to stand up in front of my class of 11-12 year olds and thanks to my course, I had great transferable skills meaning in a sink-or-swim situation, I swam! I spent the next year on a gap year backpacking around Canada and the US.

In September 2012 I started a marketing graduate scheme for AkzoNobel, working on the Dulux trade brand. I'm now Customer Business Manager.