Media and Communication (Public Relations) BA (Hons)
After moving to the UK from South Africa as a teenager, Allyson was waiting to discover what she would do with her life here. A BCU Open Day gave her an insight into a career that suited her personality and skills. After thriving in her university experience, Allyson is now working her way up the career ladder, is in control of her own destiny and is celebrating being the Co-Founder of her own company.
“It was a huge challenge for me moving to a new place when I was a teenager. The reason that my mom chose for us to live in the UK was for my education and future, but leaving my whole world behind was hard. Starting something new is always daunting, but I feel like all those challenges are now paying off.
I always wanted to go to university, but I wasn't sure what I wanted to study. When I was in Sixth Form, I enrolled onto a Law programme, and I am so glad I did, because it made me realise that it wasn’t for me. I headed to a BCU open day and got speaking to a couple of tutors. We discussed my strengths around communications and writing, and Public Relations was suggested to me. I did more research around the Media and Communication course and I liked how hands on it sounded and how much experience I’d get. I also loved that I could specialise in PR too. The course was perfect for me and it was a brilliant combination of theory and practical.
The lecturers encouraged us to undertake placements throughout the course. As part of my work experience, I secured an internship with both Liquid PR and Delicious PR, which helped to introduce me to a lot of people in Birmingham and the Midlands. I was also able to develop relationships with key contacts in the PR industry and those experiences were just invaluable when I left university and started my career.
After completing my degree, I joined creative agency Superdream as a PR Account Executive. I was part of a young team and was given so many responsibilities. I learned a lot very quickly and worked my way up the ranks too. But after four years of being a part of the team, the company went under and it put a huge spanner in the works for me. We had great clients that loved working with us and I didn’t want to stop working with them. So I and a couple of my colleagues from Superdream decided to set up our own PR agency.
Nowadays, I’m a Senior PR Account Manager and Co-Founder of CAB Campaign, which is a purpose driven PR and content agency, and we specialise in a range of consumer and B2B accounts. I absolutely love it! I have managed events, campaigns and been involved in a lot of competitive PR pitches as well as working with huge brands such as Bosch, The Crystal Maze LIVE Experience and Turtle Bay. It's been a whirlwind and I've had to be super adaptable. I’ve learned a lot from just throwing myself in and getting involved with every opportunity I could possibly take.
I’m really proud of the high profile brands that I’ve worked with. I never quite knew what would happen after graduating. I hoped to be really successful and be able to do cool stuff. In reality, that is exactly what has happened. It’s been amazing and I’m now keen to work with current university students and share my experience and skills with them.
My advice to current students is to get experience. Do research into different roles, such as agency and in-house and get involved with companies that you find interesting. In the early stages of your career, you've got to be willing to start at the bottom and be really hands on, work extremely hard and listen to those around you, because they have got invaluable knowledge that you will need to soak up as much as possible.
BCU helped to shape me and it was the starting point for what I would become. I wasn’t sure where life would take me, but by the time I’d left BCU, I knew exactly who I was and what I wanted to do.”