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Lokesh student inside standing looking at camra

Lokesh
Asthana

India
I cannot thank NTU and NTU Employability enough. I am grateful for the support I have received either from practical course modules or employability 1-on-1 sessions or the Transformational Leadership Development (TLD) program.

More about Lokesh

Placement Company: Repeat Digital
Job title: Digital Marketing Account Manager

What's your role and what is it like working at Repeat Digital?

I have joined Repeat Digital as a Digital Marketing Account Manager during my placement year. My primary role is creating and implementing paid media/ad strategies and ultimately delivering a better ROI for the clients. I work with a range of clients and I am also expected to build great relationships with clients while creating & implementing strategies for Google, Bing Ads accounts to achieve fantastic ROI.

I feel motivated and enthusiastic working at Repeat Digital. Repeat Digital strives to create an environment focused on growth and development while ensuring I continue delivering excellent campaign results for our clients. Moreover, we are very cool at times, ensuring the team does not miss out on the fun.

How did you find the placement?

I was actively looking for placements and found it on LinkedIn. Although, the journey was not that easy. I do want to thank NBS & NTU Employability team for helping me throughout the journey. Constant meetings and 1-on-1s helped me get through this challenging phase of the placement search.

What was the recruitment process like (virtual challenges)?

Virtual interviews were one of the headaches during the pandemic. Not knowing what needs to be done and fewer resources available, it was hard to crack the interview rounds. Yet again, Employability resources proved to be the savior.

The greatest virtual challenge for me was building rapport, I always believed that building rapport during an interview is important. If one can create a relaxed atmosphere and get along well with the interviewers, then you increase your chances of being remembered and standing out. Furthermore, this was not easy during the virtual interviews—shortage of time and reduced video quality, and sometimes bad internet connectivity.

A number of applications and challenges.

Phew! I cannot imagine going back to that phase again. But it was also a turning point for me. With every application I submitted my motivation and patience level increased. And I do not have the count of soft skills I learnt during my placement search.

When I look at my placement tracker, it says I made 108 applications with 80 rejections. But there are a few more applications that went untracked (it was during my initial placement search stage).

Lack of knowledge of the job search process in the UK was my biggest challenge. Not having basic knowledge of the proper job search process in the UK was an obstacle. The fundamentals of creating a good CV and cover letter relevant to the job you are applying for will be very helpful when seeking a placement. I would strongly recommend getting in touch with the employability team, they will helped set up a good CV and cover letter.

Getting turned down for a job that I thought was a close match for my profile. Yes, countering rejections was also one of the challenges I had to face. When you get back-to-back rejections, you end up getting de-motivated and a similar thing happened to me. I kept myself motivated by attending placement search seminars help by NTU & Employability team.

Lastly, managing time was also one of the challenges. It was difficult to manage multiple things at once. I had to focus on my assignments, my day-to-day chores and part-time. It is essential to spend some time going through the job description and tailoring your CV & cover letter relevant to the role.

Interview process and your recommendations.

I went through 5 rounds in total to secure the placement.

Screening Interview, where the recruiters evaluated my job qualification. The next round involved a phone interview along with a psychometric test followed by an assessment. The third round was the manager round with theoretical questions about the job role and some basic skills which are daily essentials. The fourth round included some live scenario questions which I had limited time to answer. And the last round consisted of a task for which I was given 24 hours.

Before filling the application, I made sure I got my CV checked by one of the employability team members. I also got involved in a mock assessment centre arranged by the Employability team at NTU.

Being sincere and honest towards yourself and the organisation is important which searching for a placement. I would recommend expanding your network by attending seminars and sessions held at NTU. Moving out of your comfort zone plays an important role. Lastly, I will also recommend using CV & cover letter builder available at 'employability online' which will help you assess your CV.

What advice would you give to NTU students applying this year?

You are probably not going to have a clue what's going on – and that's OK!

Please be patient and give the University the benefit of the doubt. It might be frustrating to wait a few days to hear back from the Admissions Office, but it is worth it. Your Admissions Advisor is your life saver and your point of contact with everyone at the University. Trust them.

Once you are admitted to the University, find ways to connect with others: search for, and join social media groups, and build your network. It is a small world after all, and by learning from other students who have been around for a while, you get to understand and see things differently. Do not reinvent the wheel by trying to figure out everything by yourself, search, ask, and connect.

We all have our fears and expectations. Do not let your fears blur your expectations. Go with the flow, things will be okay.

There are several assignments to complete weekly per course. Start early, plan, meet your deadlines, and do not procrastinate. Commit yourself to succeed and please stay motivated.

Provide constructive feedback that allows your colleagues to understand their mistakes, find ways to correct them, and grow. Peer to Peer Assessment is the foundation of University of the People and we all have a role to play in it. Use this power to change the world!

Whenever you feel that you do not understand something, reach out to your course instructors and to your colleagues. Speak up, express yourself, and go after what you want.

Finally, "Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you would go, just remember how far you have come, all the battles you fought, all the setbacks you overcame, all the chapters you wrote. You can go as far as you let yourself go. Let go." And this is probably my favourite which I keep saying to myself ‘'I Didn't Come This Far to Only Come This Far'.

What support did NTU give you whilst looking for a placement?  

I have mentioned this earlier and I do not hesitate to repeat, I cannot thank NTU and NTU Employability enough. I am grateful for the support I have received either from practical course modules or employability 1-on-1 sessions or the Transformational Leadership Development (TLD) program.

NTU helped me prepare for the battle which many lose even before they start.

NTU has a dedicated placement search portal exclusive for NTU students called InPlace, I made sure I checked the portal every other day to see if there is any new placement advert. TLD helped me develop my personality trait. It helped me address the organisational process and the functioning needs which helped me crack the interviews.

Have you been working at home or traveling to your place of work during the lockdowns (company support)

The sudden onset of the largest work-from-home experiment of all time has altered work environments in ways unimaginable since last year.   In response, Repeat Digital created wellness programs, relief funds and a host of other initiatives to support employees amid the coronavirus pandemic. During the initial month when the pandemic took over the world, I worked from home. And when the restrictions eased Repeat allowed twice a week office visit. Repeat digital is very flexible with the days I want to work from the office. And sometimes flexible working hours as well. They understand the importance of wellbeing.

How are you using your course knowledge, skills and experience in your role?

A degree might not be an essential requirement but there's no denying that you can significantly boost your graduate job prospects if you have one.

During my time at University, I focused on enhancing my study skills, building my confidence, and succeeding in my studies. NTU has data-driven courses, which helped me during my placement. Courses like Driving Digital Marketing and Digital Marketing Management helped me learn best practices in managing digital marketing accounts, and Principles of Marketing helped me understand the concepts & importance of marketing for an organisation. I demonstrated a strong work ethic and commitment towards my work and goals during the placement. And this was solely possible because I took part in group course works during my course, including strict deadlines. I have worked to deepen my knowledge, gain skills, and develop a network with my batchmates from different parts of the world, which helped me work steadily in the diversified culture at the workplace.

It is an advantage if you can get a part-time job in the sectors you are interested in, I got lucky when I got a part-time role at Nottingham Trent University as School Marketing Executive during my course, which boosted my career prospects in the digital marketing field. And this led to prove that I have self-management skills, such as punctuality and reliability, and proved that I could juggle multiple commitments.

What would you consider the top three transferrable skills acquired during your placement?

Teamwork
Work effectively in a group or team to achieve goals. In many jobs you will be expected to work as part of a team.  Demonstrating the ability to work with others will help reassure you that you will 'fit in' and offer a valuable contribution.

Research and Analytical Skills
Gather, interpret, and analyse information. It may be appropriate to demonstrate the ability to research, analyse and critically evaluate information.  There could be a variety of complex information that you are required to work with and make sense of, for example ROI figures, new strategy and execution data, technical reports, and financial information.

Personal Development
Know yourself and find ways to develop. Personal development is an attractive quality to employers.  By demonstrating that you are keen to learn and progress, you are likely to be seen as enthusiastic and willing to take on new challenges.

How do you think your placement helped prepare you for your graduate job search?

The placement has allowed me to put my theoretical studies to practical use. Being able to demonstrate my ability to apply theory to execution will show employers the skills I possess and how well-rounded I am.

Placement forced me to think about the sector I want to work in and why. Making this decision sooner rather than later worked in my favour and having undergone a placement year shows that I am committed and able to work towards a goal.

I learnt valuable skills that employers are looking for. Such as organisation, teamwork, communication, problem-solving and the ability to add value to an organisation.

Last but not least, my CV will have more substance and I will have something to talk about beyond academia and societies when in an interview.

How would you sum up your placement, in only three words?

Grateful. Growing. Proud.

What employability support would you recommend?

I am not sure if I can choose only one. I would say scanning through all the resources available on 'Employability Online' should give an idea of what help one requires. Additionally, booking a 1-on-1 slot with employability team members would be a great start. Most importantly, one should not miss job fairs and events arranged by the NTU and Employability team at any cost.

Special thanks to Fiona Winfield, Poonam Sharma, and Anastasia Walker-McGrath for helping me throughout the placement journey. I could not imagine being in this position without your help.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418
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