BSc (Hons) Financial Economics
Placement with Rolls Royce Motor Cars Ltd, West Sussex (Aug 2018 – Aug 2019)
Why did you apply to the University of Bradford? Please include the following: What was your first impression of the university and the city? What did you enjoy most about your time in Bradford?
The University of Bradford has a triple accredited School of Management, making it an international leader in terms of research and knowledge transfer. The University was very helpful in answering any queries that I had, and have continuously supported me throughout my time there.
The campus itself is always tidy and well kept. The staff are friendly and always provide assistance when you need it (I once emailed my lecturer at 3am and received a reply not so long after sending it!).
Although I have not completed my studies yet, I am excited to come back to Bradford after completing my placement year with Rolls-Royce. The balance of teaching and independent study time is what I like most about the University. It is 100% manageable and the libraries provide a plethora of academic materials, meaning that the magical 68% is more than achievable with a bit of hard work!
Why did you choose your particular course?
I have always had a 'knack' for numbers, and the economy always interested me. Combining my skills with numbers and my interest in the economy and politics, the choice was a no-brainer!
What tips would you give to prospective students about the course and the University of Bradford itself?
Before completing my A-levels, I had a career goal in mind. I think that this is something very important to have before choosing courses and institutions. My outlook on it is this; if you have an end goal, and it is something that you really want to do and have a passion for it, nothing will stop you from achieving that goal. Once you know what you want, you can then figure out the path you need to take to get there.
Secondly, be prepared to work hard and put the hours in. Year 2 was a wakeup call for me! The intensity of the course was turned up, and I realised that I had to sacrifice some of my social life (note: I said some!) in order for me to succeed and achieve great results.
Thirdly, if you ever struggle with some or need help, ASK! The tutors are not there to chase and make sure that you are fine with the course content; it is your responsibility as a student to do this! In my experience, tutors have been more than willing to help, and in some cases, they are happy that someone has taken an interest and wants to deepen their knowledge!
What support have you received from Career and Employability Services / Placement Staff?
The Career and Employability Services were great. They helped me to edit my CV to make it unique and stand out from the crowd. What impressed me the most, was the fact that they could spot little things that I could tweak, and they made a big difference to the end result. I cannot thank them enough for their time and support.
Do not give up! I applied to well over 50 companies, and was offered only three face-to-face interviews. I cannot explain how disheartening it is when you are rejected after you have worked so hard to get to the interview stage. I contemplated giving up and just going back to university for my third year, but with the support of my family and the university, I never gave up!
What actions are you taking to improve your employability whilst at University?
I am constantly searching out ways to improve my skills on the internet. My intention is to gain as much industry experience that I can whilst I am at university. I hope to complete a summer placement upon finishing my placement year with Rolls-Royce. I believe that it is important to gain as much, relevant experience as you can whilst at university. Once this experience appears on your CV, employers will view you as a much more attractive candidate, since you have applied your skills in the real working world.
What advice would you give to your fellow students about finding placement and work experience opportunities?
The first thing I will say is, do not give up! I applied to well over 50 companies, and was offered only three face-to-face interviews. I cannot explain how disheartening it is when you are rejected after you have worked so hard to get to the interview stage. I contemplated giving up and just going back to university for my third year, but with the support of my family and the university, I never gave up!
Secondly, do not use a general CV and cover letter and send them out to each and every company! This was my biggest mistake by far, and led to wasted applications. What needs to be done are:
- Read the job description and pick out the skills the employer is looking for (often, they explicitly state these, making your life easier)
- Think of relevant life experiences that demonstrate these skills (it could be anything! I mentioned helping out a friend with a simple task for one of my skills)
- Tailor your CV and cover letter to reflect these skills, and use the university material to structure these.
- Do the same for the online application questions (use STAR method – this was a god-send!)
Thirdly, do not be picky about the company. If the job role is relevant to what you want to do in the future, apply! This allows you to get an insight and “foot in the door” into the industry that you want to go into. I have heard so many horror stories from graduates about not having any experience, and employers just aren’t interested in them! So get that experience and you will be thankful for it later in life.
Lastly, do not worry about making mistakes once you secure a placement. The employer understands that you are new to the working world, and they will train and develop you. You learn whilst doing, and it is a great experience.
Tell us about your current placement.
I am in the Aftersales Department; more specifically I am within Ownership Services and Parts Operations. I am based at Rolls-Royce’s Head Office in Goodwood, which is the central hub for the brand. My responsibilities include:
- Creating a report that shows the availability of parts that our global network of dealerships can order
- Monitoring shipments that are late or have not been picked up from our central distribution centre
- Creating end of month turnover reports that get sent out to the general managers
- Currently I am lead on a project that involves Aftersales being integrated into Quality Control. This involves lots of data processing and I even have created a presentation that will be presented to the board of directors (which includes the CEO)
As you can see, the tasks given to me make a real difference to the company, and ensure that our departmental tasks run smoothly and efficiently. I can definitely see myself applying for Rolls-Royce’s Graduate Scheme!
How will the placement year benefit you when you return to study at the UoB?
During my time here, my organisational skills have developed greatly. I can see these helping me when I return for my third year of study as it will allow me to plan and organise my time effectively.
My problem solving skills have also improved. Real world situations cause you to think outside of the box and you have to use an unconventional way of thinking in order to come to a solution, this will definitely help with my dissertation.
Overall, I feel like I have developed as a person, and my confidence has had a huge boost! Presenting and public speaking will no longer be a daunting task! This year has definitely been rewarding so far, and I would genuinely recommend a placement year to every single student!