Archive | Placements Office

Business School students transform their career prospects through placements

Written By Karen Woods Communication Consultant University of Southampton

Southampton Business School undergraduates, who are now on a year’s placement across the South and beyond, came back to University to exchange notes and find out more about how to use their experience in the workplace in writing their final year dissertation.

Head of Southampton Business School Professor Martin Broad and Director of Enterprise Paul Bennett welcomed them back to Southampton. The BSc Accounting and Finance BSc Business Management and BSc Marketing students were among 92 individuals spending a year out learning about business practices at first hand.

The lunchtime event was also an opportunity for first and second year Business School students to talk to placement companies and students and discover more about the wide variety of placements they could apply for in companies ranging from Grant Thornton to Walt Disney.

“Our students are certainly impressing employers during their placements and many will go back after graduation as permanent employees,” says advisor Rochelle Clark.

BSc Business Management student Annie Newlands is on placement at the beauty firm Coty. A retail sales and training assistant in London, she works with world-famous brands such as Chloé, Hugo Boss and Calvin Klein fragrances: “Coty is a very exciting place, I love the brands and I’m enjoying my placement there.  I work with retail consultants across the country to keep them informed about new developments.”

BSc Marketing student Matthew Wilson is on placement at Rainbow Designs in Gosport producing merchandise under licence of well-loved characters including Paddington Bear and Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit: “Working with a small company means I get involved with many activities. I’m learning a great deal through meeting buyers from Tesco and maximising sales through effectively managing our account with Amazon.”

BSc Accounting and Finance student Prabin Sunar impressed managers at his placement company Meridian Corporate Finance so much that they offered him a job on graduation: “My placement gave me responsibilities and exposure to the market that I never expected and I worked closely with senior managers, accountants and lawyers putting into practice what I was taught at University while also gaining new knowledge and experiences every day.” His manager Philip Mettram adds: “Prabin is very personable, good with clients and has an excellent work ethic. We were delighted to make him an offer to join us as a member of staff.”

BSc Business Management Stefan Georgiou works in Human Relations at GlaxoSmithKlein (GSK): “I have got involved with all aspects of recruitment from advertising, interviewing, employing and developing their rotations within the company,” he says. “I’m also working in the commercial sector on consumer healthcare and hope to join the company on its graduate scheme.” His supervisor Claire Jones adds: “Stefan has shown great maturity with us. He has settled in very quickly and is producing some great work.”


New Year, new placement goals!

It’s the New Year, and most students have reached the half-way point on their placement. By now, you have settled into your role and the company, and can do your day-to-day job pretty darn well. In fact, you can probably do it so well that sometimes it feels a bit repetitive or even boring. This is not good for you or your employer, so what can you do about it?


Reflect on your role and think about how you could improve what you do

blog1Think about other functions within the business

blog2Plan your personal development


Once you’ve identified something that you’d like to do whilst still on placement, you have the most important step to take: speak to your line manager and let them know what you are thinking. Make positive suggestions about what you’d like to do during the rest of your time on placement, and discuss the possibility of taking on additional things to improve your skills and knowledge. If you’ve found an online course that you’d like to do, and it would benefit you in the current role, you can ask your manager if you can set aside some working time to study the course.

The key in all this is to be active and drive your own development. Employers are generally very happy to accommodate your development requests as long as it doesn’t have a negative effect on the business. I hope you’re able to come up with some exciting goals for the next few months!


How to succeed in those first few months

Starting a placement is exciting. We love talking to students right after they’ve started (we have a first week catch up call with them all) and hear what their early experiences in a real job are like. Although there’s often the usual struggles – like waking up early and getting to work by 9am every morning (welcome to the real life, dear students!) – they’re all making the most of the experience and tell us that being able to apply their degree knowledge to a real working environment is great fun and a welcome challenge.

If you’re about to start your placement soon, and are wondering how to make the most of the year from the very start, here are some great tips to get you started from and LinkedIn.

Don’t try too hardsuccess-quotes_13266-5

If you’re the confident type you might want to try and impress your new workmates by being pushy or sharing your ideas openly. Try not to do this; you’ll have time later on and you won’t be expected to come into a new situation and have all the answers.


See your manager as someone you help, not someone who tells you what to do

Offer-Help-to-Your-ReadersYes, in theory, your manager gets to tell you what to do. In practice, that’s probably not why she hired you.

Here’s a better approach: Your manager has things she needs to get done. See your job as helping her get those things done. The more you help her achieve her goals and targets the more highly you will be valued.

Plus you’ll find it’s a lot easier to work hard when you feel you’re helping someone instead of obeying them. And you’ll enjoy your work more too – it’s a lot more fun and an infinitely more rewarding to help than to comply.

Go the extra mile – and often

Early on you probably don’t have all the skills you need. You probably don’t have all the experience. You probably don’t have all the contacts and connections.

But you can have the willingness to work extremely hard.

Work hard and everyone around you will forgive a certain lack of skill and experience. They’ll know you’re trying – and sometimes, at least for a while, that’s all that matters.


You can read the full articles and get more awesome tips by clicking on the above links.


How can social media help you find a placement?


social media blog 1social media blog 2



BEWARE your online reputation.

It’s important to remember that social networks are public and there are consequences for what you post – even if your intensions aren’t malicious.

How to manage your online reputation

Keep language and tone professional

Never post something you wouldn’t be comfortable sharing with an employer

Photos, content and comments can give an employer an insight into your values, as well as confirm claims you make in your CV or at interviews

Use a professional photograph in your profile

Join relevant groups, follow employers, and write about your work experience


When used responsibly social media can be used to create and promote your own brand and sign post you to job opportunities


Check out the FBLA Placement Office Social Media



Perceptions of work experience

This blog post is written by Freya, a final year student studying BSc Accounting and Finance at the University of Southampton.

Are you interested in a future career in accountancy? Are you considering completing a placement or internship in an accounting firm?

I’m studying Accounting and Finance at the University of Southampton and for my dissertation I am researching student’s perceptions of the benefits of undergraduate work experience in relation to company size.

There are plenty of undergraduate work experience opportunities available but do you think a company’s size and scope (i.e. global or regional) influences your decision about whether to apply for their placement or internship programs?

If this is a topic that interests you, I would be extremely grateful for your time and opinions. I will be sharing my final results with the business school placements office and you would really help improve our understanding of student perceptions.

The survey is simple and will take around 5 minutes.

Thank you.

Please participate here