Portrait photograph of: Katie Russell

Katie Russell

Country Of Origin: United Kingdom

Degree: BSc Marketing Management, 2016

Katie worked with PSA Peugeot Citroen in Coventry for her placement year.

My first six months were spent in Citroën Marketing where I was a member of the Online and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) team and I produced all website reporting for people at a very high level in the business, reporting on website KPIs and leads. Within this role I also worked on CRM projects which involved working with various agencies on creative campaigns. I worked together with the creative agency on producing direct mail to be sent to customers as well as emails, videos and other creative projects. 

The next 4 months I worked in the Parts and Service department in the Recalls team where I carried out project work to improve processes across Parts and Service, particularly in the translation area where I helped to move all translation work to an external agency. Additionally, I worked with the storage facility FastAnt to reduce unnecessary stock and streamline the process of distributing handbooks to dealerships. In the recalls team, I helped to launch new recalls or campaigns and ensured that all customers who had an affected vehicle were made aware. I also worked with logistics company GEFCO to try and get recalls completed at their plants, before reaching a dealership and definitely before reaching the end customer.

My final 2 months were spent with the Head of Customer Relations helping him in the transition across to a new Customer Relations agency. In this role, I worked with the new agency to recruit an entirely new Front Desk Customer Relations team and set them up in the company. I also worked with an external trainer on a training programme for the new starters and organised various activities for them in the training period. Additionally, I helped to improve the process for how customer complaints written to the Managing Director are dealt with which is now in place.

My placement experience taught me so much about how a business operates. I had a highly varied placement year in three different roles which meant I worked with a lot of different people throughout the year and got to know how different people work. I learnt how to communicate effectively with people of different levels in the business and different personalities. Overall, it was a fantastic year that helped me put a lot of ideas that I had learnt throughout my degree into context.

The year was so varied and it gave me the opportunity to get involved in a lot of different areas and meet a lot of people. The atmosphere in the company is amazing and I was really lucky to meet such lovely people and have such great managers. I was given so much responsibility in my placement year, being a large part of recruiting a new Front Desk Customer Relations team – I was the only person from the company who interviewes the candidates, with employees from the external agency. The company put a lot of trust in me which made me feel really valued and made me enjoy the work more, as I knew how important it was. Furthermore, I lived with other placement students from the company throughout the year, as the company held an induction day in April where we could all meet before starting.

There is a really strong opportunity for placement students to come back to the company on the graduate scheme and I am happy to say I have been offered a place. This is one of the benefits of the placement scheme as they are really keen to see the placement students come back, and it is almost like a year-long interview. In terms of further study, my placement year will also help me when going back into final year because I will be able  to put theory into context and relate it back to the working environment.