‘What do you want to do after you finish university?’
‘Any career goals?’
‘Will undergoing further study help you in the future?’
These are the questions that used to haunt me in my sleep. The word “used” was intentionally inserted in that sentence because I have opened myself up to the idea that planning is beneficial and it useful to avoid uncertainty and to have an idea of the path I want to take.
“Two roads diverged in a wood and I I took the one less travelled, and that has made all the difference”.
Some of my peers told me not to opt for postgraduate study because employers may want to see evidence of work experience, rather than learning. At the end of the day, I have decided to take the road less travelled. And I shall explain why I felt this road was meant for me, and how my postgraduate course has helped me to see a clearer picture of my plans for the future. My plan for the future is to secure a job that will help me to develop a relationship with a brand. My main focus is on the fashion and lifestyle sector. I hope to secure a career that will enable me to help various brands use words and visuals to promote to and engage the public. Working with a PR agency such as Ketchum, Alexandra PR, Text100, or Havas PR would be a dream. To me, this seems ambitious but possible.
I did my research and I took a course at Leeds Beckett that would be a good starting point for me to reach my goal for the future. How will my course be valuable for me in the future? Well, my course has given me so many benefits so far. One is that it has a module that enables me to work for a client on a real-life project. This semester, I have been given the opportunity to work alongside IKEA (yes, that furniture company that sells mouth-watering meatballs) on an actual project with a group of culturally diversified people. It does not stop there because IKEA is offering one lucky student the opportunity to embark on an internship with them. I don’t know about you, but I think that the fact that I could have a good reference from IKEA on my CV would really help to boost my career chances. Moreover, working on a project with people from different cultural backgrounds shows that I gained problem-solving skills, empathy and conflict resolution skills which are all essential in the workplace.
Placements and internships are extremely valuable to students, both for academic performance and employability skills. My course has offered placements as an optional module, which I plan on taking next semester to gain experience, and to understand the world of work. Because the university has close contacts with PR agencies in Leeds and Yorkshire, there are great placements available to the MAPRS students such as myself every year.
Just recently, Leeds Beckett held a ‘PR Week’. I had the chance to attend a guest talk from an alumni from LBU who is currently working as a marketing consultant in Ketchum, the great PR agency that I mentioned above. Not only was the talk very moving, but he informed us that the company is searching for interns. These are opportunities that I would not have known about if it weren’t for the talk. There are more events that are scheduled, and I am really looking forward to these as it allows students develop good networking skills and build connections.
While in university, I realised that I can do something I enjoy that is not graded but will make a good addition to my portfolio, and that is blogging. I started blogging for the university just 2 months ago. It is so much fun because I love to use words to express my thoughts and it can definitely help me with my career for the future. It teaches me how to write for an audience and how to create more polished pieces, which is important for someone like me who wants to enter the PR industry. It is great as it acts as a good portfolio I can use in job interviews. When a company wants to know if I am qualified to do something, for example sticking to a timeline, completing a project, communicating effectively or crafting a story – I will be able to show them how I have already done these things.
At the start of the blog, I mentioned some of my peers’ opinion on me doing a masters. They thought I may need more experience, rather than more education, to land a good job. Well, I feel that my course is helping me to achieve my plans for the future by giving me the experience to work with big name clients in modules. It helps me connect with people from companies through workshops and guest talks, and provides me with opportunities to improve my CV and prepare for work interviews. These opportunities will certainly help me build a strong CV for my career in the PR world.
So,“Two roads diverged in a wood and I I took the one less travelled, and that has made all the difference.” I think my experience proves that taking the one less travelled is not so bad after all.