I knew I wanted to study marketing so I researched universities with dedicated Business Schools that taught marketing courses. The universities I looked at included Westminster, London Metropolitan, Middlesex University and a few others. Out of all those I looked at, Middlesex University came across as the best.
As I knew the area well having gone to secondary school nearby, I knew it offered fast connectivity to central London and knowing that I could walk to the campus in 45 minutes also played a part in my decision-making.
I also liked the fact that at Middlesex roughly 50 per cent of students came from overseas while I was studying there and in retrospect, I think this exposure to a broad range of international cultures was a massive strength. Professionally, I interact on a daily basis with clients and colleagues from a variety of cultural backgrounds. My time at university mixing with many different nationalities was useful preparation for this.
I liked the fact that the course offered the opportunity to take a few modules that covered broader business-related topics. In my first year I took a module on statistics and in my second year I got to learn about business law. I also took a module on accounting and finance.
Getting to explore other areas of business was very interesting and has been beneficial professionally, despite them not being marketing-related. They all have applied relevance in the work place.
In terms of the core marketing aspects of my course, I really enjoyed learning about advertising and consumer product placement. Understanding the consumer mindset and how a marketer can capture the attention of their target demographic and engage them, is an area that has played a part in all of my professional roles to date.
I was very impressed with Middlesex's library and I suspect this is something other graduates highlight. The scope of it and the resources on offer were really good.
I thought the university bookshop was great as it had all the books I needed on my course and I don't recall ever having to order a book on Amazon. Being able to go there after lectures and pick up any books on my reading list made things very easy which as a marketing professional, is something I appreciate. Enabling consumers to access your product with ease is key.
I also enjoyed spending time with friends in the Atrium. It was aesthetically very appealing and was definitely a space we could all be proud of. From what I recall the lecture theatres and rooms were also good and pretty new in terms of the technology and equipment they offered as well.
The fact it put me in the right mindset for work, helped connect me with the right people and enabled me to access sound advice.
I built up really good relationships with a couple of my lecturers and they played a pivotal role in helping me to get my foot on the career ladder. I don't think I got greater guidance from anybody else.
After I graduated, I stayed in touch with my lecturers and one invited me to help him develop marketing plans for the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) innovation consultancy project. It was an exciting project and my first professional experience after university. It really helped to open doors for me.
Additionally the friendships I made. I still have lunch with one of my university friends virtually every other day!
Really make sure you think through what you want to study. When you have chosen your course and begun your time at university, choose your modules carefully. Think about them in terms of what could broaden your horizons and influence your understanding of other aspects of the business/industry area you would like to enter.
When joining a company it is helpful to understand how other functions within that business operate so spread your modules so that you can gain better insight into the broader aspects of business and how it operates.
One particular example of how the content of my course has been directly applicable professionally involves a market research project in my first role. I was asked to help design a survey to extract useful data on our key audience and during my time at university I had learnt how to design questionnaires to elicit the best qualitative feedback and ensure the parameters for quantitative data weren't too narrow and therefore prohibitive to the extraction of useful information. This was very helpful when undertaking this task.
I think initially I had grown up with video games and they were a fun thing to play, alongside playing sports and participating in other activities.
The first time I really thought about the industry and its ability to offer a viable career was when I heard a statistic that the gaming industry generates more revenue than the movie industry. It was at that point that I realised it was profitable as well as fun.
It's a very new market and media type so it's constantly changing. This is great as it never gets boring but it does mean you have to be very flexible.
Mobile and traditional gaming are very different and have different audiences, so you need in-depth knowledge of each market and the associated audience in order to work out where you want to specialise. Mobile is forever changing and the way people interact is forever changing. It's really important to understand a game's audience, the brand and how it can interact with fans of the game.
My first role was as an online marketing executive for Broadbandchoices.co.uk, a telecoms comparison company. I had applied for various jobs and actually been offered one a couple of months earlier but had turned this down. I think the fact I had options was because I had really done my homework ahead of interviews and had something extra on my CV, which helped differentiate me from other applicants.
At the time, online marketing was relatively new so I did a lot of research about this so I could show I had a basic understanding and made sure I understood various concepts and the technology behind these.
I would say there have been a couple. Firstly working for King who created the Candy Crush Saga, a highly popular mobile game. I got to work with a number of high profile brands during my time there, including Pepsico, Universal Music and Unilever.
I think the second has been joining Rovio, creator of Angry Birds, a game that everybody loves. Again, I get to work with a lot of blue chip companies who love the brand so I would say my career highlights are really the opportunities I have had to work with famous household brands and joining Rovio.
Do your research. You need to understand the industry you want to work in to the point where you feel confident asking and answering questions about it and can begin to think about possible strategies based on where the future of the industry is heading. You also need to understand the market and how it is likely to evolve.
You need to be resilient and persistent as there are times when you will get rejected. You might go for a job that you think you are a perfect fit for but there are other strong or stronger candidates so you just have to keep going and keep on trying.
I think if you are still a student or have only recently graduated, make use of the resources available to you, so use things like the university's employability service and keep in touch with your lecturers as they may be aware of possible job openings.