Please explain how your career has developed since graduating?
Since I have graduated, I progressed from a marketing assistant job role in which I was predominantly putting together creative content for email campaigns, designing promotional material and digital campaigns in a more strategic role as an executive for an awarding body offering qualifications. This role combined customer management, strategic planning, sales as well as marketing activities into one, with the challenge to align all of these to achieve the end-goals set by the business. Within 2 years, I got promoted to a managerial position to lead the sales and marketing department until I was approached by an innovative company, Billi UK. They required a marketing strategy set up from scratch, from minimal digital presence and social media coverage. In the last 6 months, I organised a new showroom launch, hosted a networking event, set up social media accounts, and wrote a full marketing plan for 2017 with allocated budget to meet a challenging sales target.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your current role or your greatest career achievement so far?
From academic point of view, I am very proud of my results in both degrees, although the biggest moment was when, out of 300 students, I was at the top of the table with highest score in the exam for Strategic Management module in the 3rd year of my BSc Business Management degree.
With regards to career achievements, I am proud of my progression from an assistant role to a managerial position after 3 years in marketing. It’s rewarding to see that all the hard work during my studies have paid off.
What steps did you take in finding employment?
I used UEA internships scheme to apply for a 3-month internship at Anovo to experience a marketing role in practice. It very much opened the doors to marketing world to later on secure my first full-time job in marketing.
What are the key skills you learnt as part of your course? Were there any modules you took that were particularly useful?
During my studies, I had to be very organised. Planning my activities and tasks was absolutely the key to achieve the highest marks. As I was working 20 hours a week, I had to learn how to prioritise and manage my tasks efficiently.
I have also learnt that working in a team is more powerful than working as an individual. I was leading a lot of team projects which sharpened my leadership skills, as well as management skills, to deliver the outcome through coaching other team members.
How have these skills, or your course, made a difference in your career development?
In the past, I managed a team of around 15 people and my job role was to produce appraisals to help them improve their performance and encourage them to strive for better results. Leading team projects during my studies helped me to understand the approach I had to take for each individual so I could produce a development plan allowing the corporate and personal goals to be achieved.
Did you develop further skills in other ways during your time at UEA?
I was a member of squash league and in such competitive environment, I have become much more ambitious, confident and it allowed me to network with individuals from different industries.
Why did you choose to study at UEA rather than another institution?
I heard that UEA experience is one of the top in the UK and I have to say, it really is. The academic support is brilliant, the lectures and seminar leaders are there to help and encourage your career choices. UEA offers a lot of social activities, bringing different schools together to compete against or work together on projects.
Do you have any tips or advice for current students or recent graduates, and in their future job search?
Success is not a destination, but the road that you are on. Being successful means that you are working hard and walking your walk every day.
Start with volunteering in your studies-related jobs to gain the experience and build up knowledge and skills.
Connect with Simona on LinkedIn.