emily-brown

My year with Jaguar Land Rover

 

Increased chances of achieving a graduate role and a higher degree are just two of the benefits of a placement year. University of Hull student, Emily Brown, talks about her time at Jaguar Land Rover.

Hello, I am Emily (Millie) Brown, a Business & Marketing Student at the University of Hull. As part of my degree I chose to do a placement year and was very fortunate to have the opportunity to work for Jaguar Land Rover at the head office in Coventry in the Product Marketing department, focusing on an upcoming Land Rover vehicle. 

“Product Marketing define the choices that are available to customers when they purchase our cars. This includes deciding what range of engines and technologies to offer, as well as forecasting the price, positioning and sales of our cars. The team also investigates competitor cars and industry trends to identify opportunities for new products and services.” – Jaguar Land Rover.

What surprised me about the world of work?

As you can imagine, the world of work felt very different  to student life – it was a bit of a culture shock to go from 10 hours contact time a week to 40 hours in an office!

My biggest surprise was probably how fundamental Microsoft Excel skills are to many projects. As part of my role, I was required to create tables about the vehicle’s specifications and targets using existing data, and this often required a lot of Excel formulas I had never heard of before.

Organisational culture was another surprise for me as I had never worked in an office before so wasn’t sure what to expect especially as some employees around the office had been in the industry for longer than I’d been alive! At first I found it really intimidating speaking to seniors as I never expected that as a placement student I’d get exposure to them – but I’m really grateful that I did. Jaguar Land Rover really puts employees at the heart of what they do and throughout my year with them I was invited to weekly ‘upskilling’ sessions to learn more about different areas of the business and the factors likely to shape the automotive segment over the next 10 years!

 

emily-brown-2
"Without a doubt I would recommend doing a placement. It’s provided me with an insight into what I may want to do in the future, improved my time management skills, provided me with lots of contacts and also allowed me to earn some money!"

 

What was it like working for Jaguar Land Rover?

It was an incredible experience working for Jaguar Land Rover as it is a company with so much heritage here in the UK and two brands that people are incredibly passionate about. It really gave me a sense of satisfaction knowing that the inputs I made would be captured in the end product. As part of my role, I represented the Land Rover team at ‘naming committee’ where features and colours of vehicles are named, so I’m certainly looking forward to opening a brochure one day and knowing I helped to name some of the features! 

In Product Marketing I feel like I gained a real insight into the automotive market. The frequent contact I had with other departments such as Engineering and Design allowed me to gain both a wide overview of the business and a deeper understanding of what career I would like to have after graduation.

 

Would I recommend doing a placement to others? 

Without a doubt I would recommend doing a placement. It’s provided me with an insight into what I may want to do in the future, improved my time management skills, provided me with lots of contacts and also allowed me to earn some money! Fortunately, a lot of my friends also did placement years, with some staying local to Hull and others moving around the country similarly to myself. Here is what some of my fellow placement students had to say about their experiences and why they recommend a placement: 

“I was part of a small team which worked closely with the CEO. I really enjoyed the level of trust and responsibility that was given to me as an undergraduate.” – Hayden Beaverstock, Product Planning at Bentley Motors Ltd.

“You get the chance to do an ‘actual job’ in the ‘real world’ and see how you can put all you learnt in lectures into practice.” – Eve Lodge, Fleet Administrator at JN Bentley. 

“I have part time work secured for my final year alongside a postgraduate job! This placement year has given me connections I wouldn’t have had otherwise.” – Joshua Ley, Customer Service Representative at Sonono Trident. 

“You get a lot of experience and exposure to both what you want to do and what you may not want to do. It adds to your CV and helps you build a better picture of your future.” – Chris Chapman, Category Marketing Intern at Cranswick Country Foods. 

 

Emily Brown

Will it help with my final year?

I initially selected a placement year at University after reading that those who had undertaken a placement increased their chances of successfully securing a graduate role (Hall, 2009) & that those who undertook placements were more likely to achieve a 2:1 or First than their counterparts (Mandilaras, 2004). However, now I have undertaken it I can see many more benefits:

  • Applying what I have learnt in real life situations has helped me to understand elements of my degree and the importance of them.
  • Balancing placement assignments with University helped me to manage my time better, which I think will really help with dissertation writing!
  • It has definitely increased my confidence which I think will help me when applying for graduate schemes – some placement students have also been offered these by the business they worked for which is a big weight off of their shoulders!

 

How did the placement shape my career goals?

Personally, I think it allowed me to distinguish between which areas of marketing appealed to me and which did not. It has definitely opened my eyes to the opportunities around me, allowed me to understand what my interests are in terms of role and industry and even provided me with some key contacts in those areas.

 

References:

Hall, M., Higson, H. & Bullivant, N. (2009) The role of the undergraduate work placement in developing employment competences: Results from a 5 year study of employers. In DECOWE International Conference. Birmingham: Aston Business School, 24-26.

Mandilaras, A., (2004) Industrial placement and degree performance: Evidence from a British higher institution. International Review of Economics Education3(1), 39-51.

 

 

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