In terms of finding a placement, I would encourage students to be resilient, adaptable and persistent
More about Rory
Employer name: FDM Group
Job title: UK Sales Analyst
How did you find / source your placement?
What was the recruitment process like for this role?
Good – initial CV submission, psychometric tests, recorded interview (no interviewer, computer analysed), assessment day, rejection / onboarding. I hadn't had to do a recorded interview of this style before so this was interesting and good practice for the assessment day. A recruiter called me after each stage beyond the CV submission to give me advice and support, which was refreshing and insightful.
Did you get support from the Employability team during your search for this role? If yes, what support did you get and how did it help you?
I took part in NTU’s Rise PLAN in my second year. The insights and stories provided by the Employability team, previous placement students, and industry professionals was inspiring, encouraging me to stay focused on my placement goals. PLAN made me start to think about the personal brand I want to build, rather than presenting a false and inconsistent image to employers in the hope they would want to hire that type of person.
What new skills and practices are you learning / have you learned from your work experience placement?
My aim was to upskill my statistical program language knowledge and become proficient with presenting, reporting, and analysing data using core business applications. A separate goal was to improve my confidence in communicating face-to-face with senior colleagues and key project stakeholders. Understanding the appropriate conventions for communicating with external stakeholders in achieving business development goals was also important. I believe I have achieved all of these during my placement.
What effect has the pandemic had on you and your placement, and how have you adapted your thought process / planning accordingly?
The company had transitioned to a hybrid system before I started, which has been a refreshing approach to working in an office. I think it has increased my productivity and leaves me less drained than I imagined I would be at the end of each week. I missed a Christmas party because of the virus and the office also closed for the whole of January, so the pandemic has affected my journey. But, the pros have far outweighed these types of cons.
How do you think your placement will help prepare you for your graduate job / job search?
My career plan has largely stayed the same. I’m still very interested in business analysis and development roles and believe my field of study is equipping me with the perfect tools to add value to this sort of position. The nature of my role has led to me spending all my time with salespeople and opened up another career avenue to explore. There is a lot of energy among the teams and also a massive sense of fulfillment to be achieved from deploying hardworking and underrepresented people into their dream roles.
Unfortunately, the company only offers my current role to university placement students, so I would not be able to return there in the same role. I have had multiple conversations with my line manager about the prospect of my return to FDM and he has been a big advocate for me joining the sales teams when I finish my degree.
What advice would you give to NTU students applying for placements this year?
I would encourage students to be resilient, adaptable, and persistent. Consider your skill set and think of ways you can apply them to lots of different roles that might be of interest. I didn't get my placement until early July last year, but wouldn't have changed the process as it allowed me to learn a lot about different companies and roles. It also helped me learn the best approaches to assessment days and application processes. It's important in finding a role that is best suited to you.
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