Interview with BSc Marketing Management graduate

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Profile photograph of Monib. He wears a check shirt and is standing in front of a green, natural-looking backdrop

Monib graduated from Lancaster University in 2023 and started a job as a Product Marketing Analyst at Sony Semiconductor the same year.

Annabelle, BSc Marketing with Psychology student, interviewed Monib about his experiences, getting some important advice about launching a career.

Part One: Journey to Studying Marketing

What made you choose your course?

At the beginning, when I was doing my foundation program, I was choosing between business management at the University of Surrey and Exeter, but I decided to apply for marketing during clearing day. I felt like the job market was much better for marketing degrees, specifically marketing degrees, as someone who's studied marketing, there are jobs out there specifically made for that degree, whereas with business management, you would be left on your own to decide. That was my general assumption, and I feel like I made a good decision.

What attracted you to Lancaster?

One of the reasons I chose Lancaster was basically the ranking for the marketing department and marketing degree. Also, another thing that I heard was the great networking and the connections they had. So, for me, one of the main reasons for studying was to get a job, a job where they could sponsor me for my visa to stay in the UK. So, I entered uni with the goal of getting a good job in a corporation. I think I chose the university with the best connections and a high ranking.

Part Two: Doing a Placement Year

How did you find your job now?

Basically, I did my job as a placement student, and once I finished it, they offered it to me as a permanent role. So, I found it on ‘Rate my placement’, and I wouldn't say it was through connections, because I had simply applied online. Once I applied for that job, I had already applied for several jobs. I was offered a job at a company, but they took it away because of COVID.

I was already at the end of the line where I was like, "OK, I'm going to give up." Then, one day, I saw the ad and I applied, and I wouldn't say it was a connection, but what helped was my skill to speak to different people, because on the call, there was a manager from the UK, my other manager from France, and there was another one based in Japan. So, that's three different regions in the world. So, being able to demonstrate how you can work in such a team is very important, definitely.

Would you say placements are a valuable part of the courses offered at Lancaster?

I've asked a lot of questions from people in other companies who have done placements here, and even those who literally hated their placement felt much better doing it.

Even if you're going to absolute hell in an absolute mess of a company, still do it. As long as they pay you, do it. It's a good experience. You come back feeling more confident about yourself, having one year of work experience. Even if they make you change halfway through, change departments, still, don't give up because I think that's the thing that would help you is to understand the beauty of working one year as a student.

And when you come back, you're already one step ahead of everyone because you already have one year of work experience. So yeah, definitely that experience, either perhaps more or less positive, is still beneficial.

Part Three: Starting a Graduate Job

Is there a lot of overlap between your course and your role now as a product marketing analyst?

You can't expect a three-year degree to teach you everything you need to know. So, don't walk into a job expecting to know it all or blaming your university for not teaching you a particular bit or area.

What is expected from you at the job is that you know some stuff about your degree and now you need to understand this new stuff about your job and try to find a common ground between these two. And I think it helped a lot, especially in proving to the manager who was interviewing me that I know stuff, I know how this area works, how this module works, and how this topic relates to marketing. I think it helped a lot.

But once it comes to the actual job, unless you're in a very specific role doing a specific thing, you shouldn't expect that everything in your daily life is exactly what you learned at uni. I would say only 20 to 25% of the stuff I'm doing is 100% related to stuff I learned in uni. The rest is something you need to learn based on experience.

How did some of the tasks or group projects that you did at university help you in your new job?

I would always say that even if you hate absolutely hate working with other people, you still need to do it because you can't go about your day and not interact with someone on your daily life unless you stay at home and don't leave your bedroom.

So, every single group task helped me to understand how people think. People differ from different countries and think differently. That's very important, and that's something I learned in uni and noticed it at my current job.

I remember that, at uni, I used to avoid working with people from different countries because I thought it was hard due to the language barrier. But what that brings you is patience, the understanding of how other people think from different regions. So, I would say that would help a lot. Please don't avoid that.

Do you have any other advice to give students who are looking to land a graduate job in the future?

One other thing I would say is that no one likes someone who only knows one thing, so don't expect that. Okay, you know about, let's say, marketing, you know about entrepreneurship. Walking through a new job, they expect you to know what's going on in the world. They expect you to know a lot of things.

So, try to spend your time learning and educating yourself in different areas, not just what you're studying. I know that's valuable, but if you know a little bit of everything, that would help you to start a conversation with someone and maybe out of that conversation, you would be offered the job. You never know.

A lot of the problem with universities is that you spend all of your time around people who are doing the same thing, you think that, okay, you always have this common ground with other people. But that's not the case. Once you walk out of uni, you need to learn other stuff to find a common ground between you and someone at your next job. So, I think try to be more sociable, try to connect with different people.

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