Ross Watson

Media & Communication BA (Hons)

Ross excelled in his course at BCU and enjoyed a wide range of work experience opportunities, making him industry ready when he graduated. Nowadays, he leads the way for PR and communications for the NEC venue, where he gets to work on everything from concerts to Crufts.  

“I always wanted to go to university and growing up, I knew that media studies was the route I wanted to go down. When looking at nearby options, I was struck by the facilities at BCU. I knew this would be the best place to hone my skills and find my place in the industry.

Studying Media and Communication at BCU was so beneficial at showing me the different roles available in the media industry. The most important thing for me, though, was how it encouraged students to get experience in the industry. This really pushed me to make contacts and build up a CV of experience while completing my studies, putting me in a strong position once I graduated.

During my time at BCU I wrote on a freelance basis for several music magazines, as well as writing a weekly football column for the Birmingham Mail in both digital and print editions.

I graduated from BCU with a first-class degree and worked at a PR agency called 8848 Agency for four years. During that time, I had the opportunity to work on massive projects, campaigns and clients, including the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy football tournament, which was a fun campaign culminating in a Wembley final.

Nowadays, I’m a Senior PR and Communications Manager for the NEC Group in Birmingham, leading on communications for the company’s conventions and exhibitions in the NEC, ICC and Vox. I started as a PR & Communications Manager in August 2019 and was promoted in December 2022, and working for a business with such heritage was a proud moment for me. I'm thankful every day to be able to work in such a vibrant and exciting industry.

My days at the NEC are very mixed, as we encounter anything from hordes of dogs (Crufts), gamers (Insomnia) and caravan enthusiasts (The Caravan & Camping Show), so you're always on your toes. In general, though, we manage external and internal communications for the NEC Group and its business units. From press release writing, social media, photography, pitching to TV and radio; it's very wide-ranging.

There’s lots of exciting projects across the Group to get stuck into, most recently opening the UK’s largest electric vehicle charging hub on the NEC campus.

We also managed to scoop the In-House Team of the Year award at the annual PRCA Midlands Dare Awards for our work in the past year, on projects such as Concert for Ukraine, Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, Wireless Festival and the Conservative Party Conference.

Since graduating, I've become a lot more relaxed in my approach to work. During university I struggled with this and hopefully now I've found the right balance between doing the best job possible and not getting too stressed! My confidence has also improved massively, something I largely credit to my development by the NEC, and I'm generally a lot more at ease with myself.

As for what the future holds, I don’t believe in planning too long-term, but it’s an ambition of mine to take on a role in sports communications in the future. With this being said, I am very happy at the moment, both personally and professionally, and can see myself at the NEC for a long time.

My advice to current students would be to be open to every opportunity that comes your way. Even if you end up not enjoying it, you will feel better having known.

My advice to graduates starting out in their career would be to try and keep upbeat. It can be difficult especially in the early days after graduating. Keep persevering and eventually you will find a way, even if it might not feel like it some days!

To me, I AM BCU means being a part of a diverse and talented community, that works hard and has fun along the way.”