On Friday 1st December we hosted our annual placement conference. The conference was a fantastic opportunity to bring together current and future placement students, employers and academics.
After an initial welcome talk from Professor Martin Broad (Head of Southampton Business School) Paul Bennett (Director for Enterprise for Southampton Business School) delivered a captivating talk on T-shaped leadership. The engaging content of the talk provided knowledge which both students and employers could take back to the workplace.
A placements fair was held throughout the day which enabled 1st and 2nd year placement students to meet and converse with current placement students and their line managers. The fair provided a forum in which students could share real life experience of the placement journey and gain an insight in to potential placement opportunities.
Throughout the day 1st and 2nd year students were invited to participate in speed interviews. Speed interviews comprised of a series of mini 4 minute interviews with employers. This element of the day was exceptionally well received at our 2016 conference and led to one student being offered a placement role. The success of speed interviews continued this year. Despite a number of students initially being hesitant we had incredibly positive feedback from the process. Students felt that the experience provided them with tips that they could truly utilise within future interview settings.
Not only did the students involved find the process beneficial but employer feedback was equally as positive. They enjoyed the process and expressed an interest in particular students who they felt would fit well into future placement positions, so fingers crossed this might lead to some future placement offers! A number of our current placement students supported the speed interview process which allowed them the experience of being the interviewer rather than the interviewee. Having been through the placement application process recently themselves they were in the unique position to be able to offer advice accordingly.
Current placement students attended Programme Talks with their respective Programme leaders. This informal discussion included how the placement year fits with their degree course and how the first and second years prepare students for their placement year. Conversations regarding the relevance of modules to placements emphasised how the diversity of roles meant opinions on the relevance of courses varied greatly.
Programme Talks provided a forum for guidance to be offered regarding dissertations. The sparked discussion as to when and how dissertation tutors are allocated.
Peer leaders who had previously completed a placement year facilitated talks concerning returning to university following a placement year. This component allowed discussion to This included discussion on completing dissertation and how to utilise the skills that have been acquired on placement when returning to university.
The day concluded with academics tutors joining us to meet with students returning from their placements over lunch. This meant that academics, employers and students were about to discuss their placement journey so far.
Overall the placement conference was a great success for all involved, which provided an opportunity for knowledge sharing and networking.
“The Business School Placement Office created a fantastic day for both placement and current students at the university. The day gave a good insight into the final year at Southampton and it was a pleasure to personally represent my firm back at campus.”
Stefan Georgiou, Consumer Healthcare Talent Team, Industrial Placement on Assignment at GSK
“It was really nice to see so many familiar faces at the placement conference, especially hearing about what anyone’s experiences at work have been so far. The conference provided a platform to network with other students before we go back to final year and many opportunities to explore the ideas of dissertation. I thought it was very helpful.”
Athena Liu, Planning and Analysis Intern, Norwegian Cruise Line.
“The day was certainly an interesting one. Although it felt like I was just back at University, I was able to see how I have progressed and developed since being on placement. It also made me realise how different the experience is compared to a standard academic year. I found the speed interviews rather intriguing as it gave me some insight into the interview process, but from the managers perspective. I felt I was able to give good advice to the undergraduates from being in their situation only last year.”
“I highly enjoyed seeing the other students on placement and hearing about their roles. I think we can all agree that we have learned whether the area we are in is for us or not, or for some, how running our own company is definitely the way forward.”
Amy Morgan, Account Executive Placement, British Safety council.
“The annual placements conference is a great opportunity for first and second year students to meet with current placement students, and learn from their experiences. Us in the Placements Office enjoy observing the professional growth that placements students have already gained; continuously our students on placements make us and the University proud by working hard in a conscientious manner. I especially enjoyed hearing about how students on placements have relished the responsibilities given to them, making each one a valuable team member within their placement organisations.”
Riikka Kempainen, Faculty Placement Advisor.
“What an eventful day! it was great to see placement students and employers engaging with first and second year students. Really good feedback from employers regarding speed interviews.”
Rochelle Clark, Faculty Placement Advisor
“It was fantastic to welcome so many of our placement students back on to campus so that they can share their experiences and insights from working with some of the regions leading employers”
Richard Cartwright Senior Teaching Fellow in Accountancy.