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United Kingdom
I believe that a work placement of any description will increase your career prospects tenfold.

More about Aidan

"I chose to study at NTU for a number of reasons. However, the main reason was the University's brilliant record in employability and I had heard brilliant things about NTU's links with business. Because I was studying a course with a practical focus, I wanted to go somewhere that could help me gain experience. NTU was the logical choice for me.

"My course is unique in the respect that the second year is spent on a work placement whilst also completing your university coursework. This gives you the opportunity to combine academic theory with practical experience and helps you to understand how organisations work. By doing this work I am able to enter the graduate market at the same time as other students studying a three year course but with a year's-worth of experience under my belt.

"I have an interest in finance and my placement year involved working in a commercial finance department. I enjoyed the accounting and finance module during first year and it gave me a definite advantage when starting my placement. During my second year I have particularly enjoyed the Organisations and People module which has empowered me to explore a human resource issue whilst applying it to a real life workplace.

"On placement I worked in commercial finance and was also given insight into various other business functions. The most interesting part of my role was helping with financial analysis that guided the business during the launch of its first ever TV advertising. I also had weekly duties such as producing the business critical promotions report that was used to determine the effectiveness of the retailer's promotional activity; the timely and correct reporting of sales numbers to the British Retail Consortium on a weekly basis; and I was also responsible for helping to balance the marketing expenditure at the end of the financial period in preparation for the monthly board review.

"My studies definitely helped me with my work placement – understanding the academic theory helps you to comprehend how business operate in the perfect world; combining this with real life situations help to further shape you understanding. Naturally, modules such as accounting and finance for managers are useful for my sort of role, but other modules such as management and strategy help you understand how day to day business operations work together to deliver value to the customer. Obviously for a retailer this is of paramount importance.

"I believe that a work placement of any description will increase your career prospects tenfold; far too many people are graduating without any relevant experience and struggle to find the right role for them. Undertaking a placement year shows initiative and also shows how focused you are on your personal development. For me personally I feel I am in a much better position to apply for financial graduate positions after the experience I have been provided with throughout my placement year.

"My advice to anyone thinking of undertaking a work placement would be to just stick at it! The placement application process can be disheartening! Whilst you may be rejected from various workplaces, you must stay focused and keep trying to secure a role. You have to remain mindful about the huge amount of competition for placements, but you must also stick to what interests you – I think it could be a very long year if you are in a role you have little interest in. But above all, stick with it!"

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