Poppy Surplice

Events, Venue and Experience Management - BA (Hons)

Poppy always knew that the events industry would be the direction for her. After excelling in her degree and completing a wide range of successful work experience opportunities, Poppy is already managing high-scale events for the Department for International Trade, securing the role months before graduating.

“Through a work placement while in secondary school, I realised that events was the industry that I really wanted to go into. BCU’s course really appealed to me and I just knew straight away that it was the course that I belonged on. The lecturers were brilliant and everyone was so welcoming. Being from Sutton Coldfield, the university was also right on my doorstep.

I am now Events and Marketing Coordinator at the Department for International Trade, specifically for West Midlands International Trade (WMIT). I was approached about the role on Linkedin and I soon read through the job description, had the interview and was offered the role within a week. I’ve been there since March 2021 but as I still had a couple of months left of my degree, the company allowed me to work on a part-time basis alongside it until I could officially start.

So far, I’ve loved it. My main responsibilities include planning and arranging all of our events, both online and future in-person events, as well as marketing and promoting campaigns for events and workshops. I also handle the data and reporting side of things after each event and track progress through analytics before providing feedback to the wider team. I also support the events on the day, as well as speaking to clients and arranging meetings. Each week, I present my findings to the wider group, which has really built up my confidence within the company.

I originally planned to do a four year course, with my third year on work placement. I managed to secure a year-long placement for an events company in Barcelona, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic it was cancelled and I went straight into my third year instead.

However, throughout my time at BCU I was able to take part in a wide range of voluntary work and alongside my degree, I was an Events and Communications Intern at BCU’s Centre for Brexit Studies. I loved my time there as it was such a huge experience and an exciting thing to be a part of. During my internship, I helped to arrange and manage online and in-person events as well as learning how to market and promote events, communications and social media marketing. It opened so many more doors for me and gave me a variety of experience.

I'm most proud of my grades throughout my time at BCU, and have averaged a first across all three years so my hard work has definitely payed off. BCU provided me with opportunities and experience within the events industry, as well as giving me with the theory and knowledge to be able to walk straight into a role.

In the future, I would love to have my own events company and work on large VIP events further down the line. Alongside my degree, I worked at Jaguar Land Rover and have always had a huge interest in cars and the auto industry, so working for Formula One would be an absolute dream come true. It would also be amazing to travel the world for work and experience new things.

My advice to BCU students would be to get experience wherever you can. Gaining experience is vital and allows you to pick up skills and knowledge that you can apply to future roles. Linkedin is also so important. Nowadays, I use it more than Facebook and Instagram. It is so important to connect with others in your chosen industry.

BCU makes me feel like I belong in a community. My cohort has felt like a family and I’ve made friends for life. I’m going to remember my time at BCU forever and it will always be a huge part of me.”