Searching for a placement can be quite a daunting experience. For some students it could be their first time working in the real world. Having said this, a placement year gives you an advantage over other students when you’re applying for future jobs. It’s a chance to put your academic theories to the test and use your skills to solidify the knowledge you’ve learnt throughout your course. If you’re lucky, you may even get the opportunity to land yourself a graduate job.
For Cansu, this is exactly what happened. Studying Business and Management at Aston University, Cansu was looking for a placement where she was able to use her IT skills and talk to clients over the phone. She was lucky enough to find the role of an IT Resourcer at Michael Bailey Associates.
3 years later and we caught up with Cansu to find out more about her time as a placement student, and what it’s like to come back as an Account Manager for some of our top clients.
Why did you choose MBA for your placement year?
MBA is a very appealing organisation to join as a student. You’re working and talking with professionals on a daily basis and creating a professional network at the same time!
When I saw the opportunity of the role of an IT Resourcer, I decided to go ahead with the application as it allowed me to utilise my extensive knowledge of IT that I learnt during my time in college and university. I also really enjoyed my interview with James, the Operations Director and Danny, our Sales Manager – I could see the passion they had for the company, which increased my interest in the role. The structure was clear, the people were lovely and the office was based in trendy Shoreditch! What else can one ask for as a student?
How did you overcome any challenges you were faced with?
When I first started, I was quite apprehensive about talking on the phone. I knew this is what the role entailed, and it’s an extremely important skill to have but it was something that I felt I needed to work on.
A colleague supported me with step by step guidance on everything I needed to know when calling a candidate. From what questions to ask candidates to what approach I need to take depending on the candidates answers, I learned it all and my confidence slowly built up. I had constant on-the-job mentoring when my manager would listen to my phone calls and give me feedback on how to improve. Without the guidance of my colleague and manager, I wouldn’t have been able to overcome my nerves talking on the phone. After just a few phone calls, my self confidence started to go up and now I am able to talk to any candidate or hiring manager, just give me a phone!
So, what made you accept the offer to return to MBA?
The number one reason I chose to return was because of my team. I really wanted to work with them all again. During my time as a placement student, I could see MBA was a well established company and to be part of this success would be a great opportunity for me to improve my skills and earnings.
My manager decided to give me a big client to work with which really helped me to grow my business. This opportunity was one a graduate couldn’t turn down! To be given the ability to manage a large client really shows the trust the company had for me and how much they believed in me. Considering all these factors, it was an easy choice really, I had to come back.
In what way do you think you have grown since your placement year?
The number one factor is probably how much it built my confidence and ability to speak to professionals. Speaking to professionals as a placement student or as a graduate can be daunting as you can feel like ‘they are more experienced than you’. However, working with MBA really helped me get on that phone and speak to people whether they were an intern or the Vice President of the company. I feel comfortable engaging with any level of the hierarchy now.
Working with MBA during my placement year helped with my degree result as it really allowed me to see things from a different point of view. Once I had been out in the “real world” and worked in a professional environment, it changed my aspect of getting things done; you now know what it’s like to work professionally and it allowed me to connect the theories I learnt at university to real life scenarios, which made it much easier to understand.
Do you have any advice for current placement students, or graduates applying for a job?
1. Don’t stress and just keep applying! It can be quite disheartening to receive a rejection, but it should only motivate you to work harder with future job applications.
2. Get a number of people to check your CV.
3. Always have an achievement section on your CV.
4. Include any modules where you’ve received a high grade in your CV.
5. If you haven’t already, include any voluntary work you have done. You’ll be surprised how impressed the hiring managers are when they hear this.
We’re always on the lookout for new talent to join our ever growing and successful team across Europe and APAC. If you are interested in a career in consultancy, contact our internal recruitment team here.