What students really think about the world of work

Please introduce yourself to our followers. 

My name is Amber, I’m 19 years old and studying Marketing at the University of Liverpool. I love socialising, shopping and spending time with the people I love! 

You’ve just completed your first year in University. What inspired you about the course and its potential? 

Marketing is so diverse, it’s such a flexible, interesting degree with the potential to be applied to quite literally anything. I think the fact that the modern business world is constantly changing, and the marketing side of things will always be evolving and keeping up with this change has definitely inspired me. For starters, this encouraged me to actually choose the course, and secondly this continues to motivate me to keep it up. The first year has definitely proved there is so much potential in the course- I can’t wait to see what the second and third year bring. 

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Is there anything about the course that you would change? 

The course itself is great, however after finishing my first year the one thing I did notice is the lack of teaching of up-to-date, real life business applications. This is something I feel is really important. It’s one thing having good textbook knowledge of a subject, however, particularly in the business world it is so, so important to know how to apply this correctly! 

I really feel that so many students would benefit from this- the jump from being a student to a graduate going into the real world of work really scares me. Overall, I feel that including more ways of applying our knowledge to real life work situations would be the one thing I’d change. 

What is some of the key messaging about the world of work that you have picked up from your parents, school and your time at university? Also, do your parents have any particular aspirations for you when it comes to your career? 

With my dad having recently quit his job to take on an entrepreneurial role alongside my step-mum, I’d have to say that this has taught me a lot. First of all, that corporate culture is not the only option- if you want to do something for yourself, do it! Your happiness comes first and you are capable of anything you want to be. I feel that this will (hopefully!) provide me with so much confidence when making any tough decisions in my future work life.  

Another key message that has always been emphasised by school and university is that experience is equally, if not more, valuable than qualifications. Whilst being qualified is extremely important, a person’s employability is influenced greatly by experience. This has motivated me to try and get some good work experience under my belt before I graduate.

When it comes to my future career, both of my parents aren’t pushing for anything in particular. However, they don’t hesitate to make sure that I know they’ll always be supportive in my career choice, and that as long as I’m happy, they’re happy. I’m really grateful for this as I know they will always be there for me with guidance, help and support with anything I need. I think their main aspirations are for me to be good at what I do and be happy with my career, with success being the best bonus. 

Does your course focus on preparing you for the world of work do you think? What more could they be doing? 

I think that my university as a whole, as well as my course, does have lots of extra support available to help with preparing for work. However, this is all mostly optional. Being a young student with quite a busy social life as well as a lot of university work for my course, I feel as if the fact that it is optional is not as motivating as it should be. I think that to properly make sure every student is prepared, most of these activities and preparation sessions should be compulsory, and even tailored to your course/future career options. 

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What do you think are your killer strengths?

I think that my main killer strength is my motivation to succeed. I really want to be able to balance my time well, and use my university years to try and better myself as much as I can. Another strength is that I am always looking for ways to grow and improve my skills and knowledge. This is something I have found myself to be doing more and more recently.

What makes you stand out from other people? 

I feel as if I can be a very adaptable person. When big changes come my way, although this can cause me some stress in the short term, I am able to adapt and grow into any change, taking it all in my stride. 

What do you love about yourself right now?

One thing I love is my motivation. I’m really motivated at the moment to try and improve myself academically and work wise to try and go as far as I can once I graduate university. I’m really excited to see what the future holds and can’t wait to work for it! 

Another thing that I love about myself, is the fact that I am learning to love myself. I’ve struggled a lot in the past with confidence in all aspects- from the way I look to being confident I can do well in an exam or going for a job. I’m not entirely sure what brought on this change, but I’m slowly beginning to believe in myself and gain more confidence. Self love is very important and it’s one thing that I’m glad to gradually be getting better at. 

Who are your role models in life and why? 

Both my parents, and step-parents, have all provided a different kind of role model for me all in their own different ways. I definitely think that parents have the most influence over you over anyone, and I’m lucky to have such a great support system around me. 

What brands do you love and why? 

One brand I really love is Monzo. They’re a relatively new bank based all online. I’ve been with them for two years now and I’m always so interested in all of the cool features being regularly added. I love this brand because it provides great customer service, has been marketed so well and is such an up-to-date, modern, trendy bank. It has different ways of helping you to save money, and features to help you split up your money to set aside for different things, as well as being able to set monthly budgets for different categories of spending. This has really helped me to budget my money well, which, for a student, is so helpful. I could go on for a long time about the many amazing features it has!

Another brand which has caught everyone’s eye recently through their new marketing campaigns is Nike. I’ve always loved Nike as a brand, but it was always because I just liked their products. However, recently their new campaigns have really caught everyone’s eye, as Nike have taken a political stance. This has really positively influenced my opinion of the brand, it’s definitely one of my favourites.

What do you think of Instagram influencers? 

Instagram influencers are definitely underestimated in terms of the amount of power they actually have. Social media is such a huge thing these days and can really be used in such a strong positive or negative way. 

Personally, I think Instagram influencers can be incredibly useful for businesses – their accounts and opinions/promotions reach hundreds of thousands to millions of followers with each post. Sharing their positive opinions and descriptions of a certain product can cause a massive increase in sales of certain products, and vice versa. 

However, there is also a negative side to the amount of power that Instagram influencers have. As many of them are paid to share positive opinions of products, there has been a lot of controversy over some of the products they have been promoting – items such as ‘weight loss tablets’, or ‘appetite reducing’ products which are widely seen as unhealthy and dangerous have been promoted by a lot of celebs and influencers. I feel that this is using their social media power in a negative way, therefore there is definitely a plus as well as negative side to Instagram influencers. 

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Imagine you’re now old looking back on your life, what would you most like to have achieved?

I’d love to be well travelled, there are so many opportunities in this world in terms of meeting people, seeing things and all things career-related. 

However, one thing that would really make me feel a sense of achievement is if I can always remember my self worth. I don’t want to ever look back and feel I let myself be pushed about or belittled by anyone – whether through work, friends, family or relationships. 

If you could do ANY job in the world what would you fancy doing? Why?

This is a really tough question. I’d have to say that I’d love to work for myself, or work for a very large brand that I love. Being an entrepreneur and having my own business would be amazing. However, I’m really unsure what I’d want it to be! Either way, I’d love to work for a really big business and be passionate about the brand. I love marketing and branding, so something to do with that would be very ideal for me.

What could you start doing to work towards that goal? 

Deciding what sector of business/products or services that interest me the most would be a good start. Also getting lots of experience will definitely help me on my way. 

What does a successful life mean to you? 

Making my parents really proud means a lot to me. For me, a successful life ultimately means happiness. If I can feel completely satisfied and happy with everything in my life, that’s success to me! 

Interview and photos by Saskia for Hey Tuesday, London

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