Country Of Origin: Bulgaria
Degree: BSc Business Studies (Industry), 2016
Elena worked in corporate marketing with Lucite International for her placement year.
The option for a year in industry was a main factor when I was choosing a university. Not only because it teaches you about work in a way you won’t find in a text book, but also because I was unsure of what I wanted to do when I graduated. Deciding on a Business degree only opened up my eyes as to the many career paths I could pursue, hence, a placement seemed like an ideal option to experiment without the pressure of being tied into a permanent graduate role.
Although my role was Corporate Marketing, I worked under the IT department which expanded the nature of my tasks. For my placement year I was given full responsibility for the development and management of the corporate social media platforms as well as the development of a story pipeline for the corporate blog. This included hunting out stories, writing them and sourcing or designing intriguing visuals. In addition, I was also part of the development and delivery of a new intranet solution where I provided support and guidance to other members of the Intranet team as well as managed one of the pilot ones myself. I was also engaged with the new CMS system – its implementation, use and improvement accompanied by search engine optimisation research.
Lucite International (LI) is a global leader in the production of methyl methacrylates, the building blocks of acrylic, which have an extremely diverse range of applications. It was a very dynamic time to join the company, so I experienced different flavours throughout my stay – both in terms of projects and people I worked with. There was quite a lot of self-learning involved, but LI was very supportive and treated me as a full-time employee from the beginning. Looking back to some of my work, it feels fulfilling to know I’ve made a difference.
The highlight of my placement was the whole journey itself. The work involved constant engagement in people’s work and plans and my opinion was valued and I had freedom in implementing my own ideas. Though most work had a marketing angle to it, I met people from different departments and worked with energetic, inspirational professionals from whom I learnt alot. The global presence of the company made my work even more exciting as the different regions had their own requirements, events and news to learn about.
My next step is going back to university for a marketing-related Master’s degree, but it’s a vast horizon so I’ll need to do my research. The placement helped steer my direction for the future and will certainly serve to build on my CV. It helped me develop both personally and professionally, making me more confident in what lies ahead after graduation.
LUMS was helpful in providing the guidelines of where to look and how to prepare for opportunities. They can’t do the hard work for us, but it was great to have mock interviews, discussion sessions on a 1-1 basis, presentations from previous placement students and CV guidance. The Career Mentoring Programme was useful too as one could meet established professionals in whatever one was interested in and learn about their career path, experience, what to look out for etc. For me, for example, it was a fun trip to Cadbury to get more insight into supply chain as my mentor worked there.