Shelby O’Brien

Marketing BA (Hons)

After embracing everything that BCU and the Marketing course had to offer, Shelby landed her dream placement at a leading global exhibitions company. After graduating, Shelby soon secured a full-time role at the same company, where she now manages high profile clients and travels the world to work at major international events.

“I was fortunate to have known what I wanted to do after school from a young age. As soon as I started studying Business in year 9 of secondary school, I knew this was an area I could see myself studying and eventually working in, and from that moment, I knew university was my next step.

The BCU open day was the last one I attended, and from the minute I stepped into the Curzon building and met the marketing lecturers and students, I instantly knew the university had something unique to offer, and I never looked back.

In my first year of university, I started volunteering for The Link Marketing Agency. I gained so much experience across the three years I took part, and it gave me an insight into life in an agency and a taste of dealing with real-life clients and pitching ideas, and these skills still come in handy today.

In my second year, I started applying for placements, but it wasn’t easy. I started applying and interviewing for opportunities in the October, and only managed to secure a job the following May, after many rejections and setbacks. My dedication finally paid off, and that’s where my journey at Hyve started, as a Marketing Assistant. The support I received while looking for placements was incredible, from having someone look over my CV to mock interview scenarios and guest talks with current placement students at the time; this kept me going with my placement search.

Nowadays, I am a Senior Client Marketing Executive at Hyve, the same company where I did my placement. Hyve are a global exhibitions company and I work across a portfolio of education technology events called Bett Global.

As a Senior Client Marketing Executive, I manage the marketing for all of our key accounts and sponsors. Some of my clients include Microsoft, Intel and Lenovo, and others are prominent players in the education space. I am so pleased to have found a job that I can class as a career, which I can see myself progressing into in the long term.

Since joining back at Hyve after graduating, I have been fortunate enough to travel to fantastic places like Dubai, Cape Town, and Thailand due to our international events. I have found a role that I am passionate about and where I can visually see the impact I am having on our events and the overall business. I get to work with the most amazing colleagues and clients. Sometimes, I have to pinch myself as I am shocked at how this is my job less than two years after graduating. The opportunities I have gained, such as growing my team and pitching to clients, are invaluable and life-long skills.

A typical day for me starts with multiple meetings and emails to catch up on. Many of our clients work in different time zones, so the mornings are always busy. Some of my main tasks include creating marketing assets like social media posts or emails, working on new marketing strategies and opportunities for our clients, or pitching new campaign ideas to sponsors. It's safe to say no day or even hour is the same in my role; it's so diverse and always keeps me on my toes.

My proudest achievement since graduating was securing a graduate job and working at Hyve part-time before I had even finished university. Within less than a year, I got a promotion to the role I am in now. Since graduating, I have become much more confident in my abilities and knowledge of marketing. The support from my lecturers and the topics we were taught are genuinely things I use daily, so nice to know that my skills and knowledge in marketing are well-respected by my team. I know that I can walk into any meeting with confidence in my ideas and plans.

If it weren’t for BCU and the opportunities I was offered or the content I got taught, I wouldn’t be where I am in my career today. My lecturers were so dedicated to ensuring we were set for post-university life, and I will never be able to thank them enough for their passion and work ethic.

In my long-term plan, I would love to continue working my way up the career ladder, especially in my current team. One day, I would love to reach a Head of Marketing or Director level. I have enjoyed working directly with clients and, in the B2B space, I would love to continue this in future roles and opportunities.

My advice for current BCU students is to enjoy it and make the most of their time at university; it flies by so quickly. Take advantage of your lecturers, and any opportunities that are thrown your way. The hands-on support and guidance you will get are unmatched. Also, don’t compare yourself to others. I found this the most challenging when it came to finding a placement and getting assignment results back but remember everyone is on their own journey to success, and no two paths will ever be the same.

Also, LinkedIn will be your best friend, so never underestimate the power of networking; connect with your lecturers, fellow students, and people in a company you'd love to work for one day. Don't be afraid of posting about your achievements, you should be proud of what you've done, and remember, no one is going to be your biggest support than yourself.

For me, I AM BCU means ambition, community, dedication, and passion. Embrace your time at BCU as it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.