Naomi Willett graduated from our BA Media and Communications course. She spoke to us about her role as a Junior Digital PR Account Executive at WMG.
Did you always want to study your chosen subject at university or did you change your mind when you were researching/applying?
I’ve always wanted to go to university, although I wasn’t originally looking to study media. When I first was looking to apply to university I was looking at acting courses, so when I first came to see BCU I was at an open day for their acting course and I found that I really loved the campus and Birmingham as a city. After deciding that I didn’t want to pursue that course anymore I moved over to media as I had studied that at A-levels and found that I really enjoyed it and was good at it.
When looking into different university courses, I found that BCU offered a lot more variety and freedom than other universities. Lots of courses that I looked at were very theoretical and focused on television and journalism, and at the time I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and so I wanted to be able to explore more options. BCU’s course let you mix vocational and theoretical modules and also let you focus on different areas, meaning your degree could have lots of variety and be very specific to yourself. This was what ultimately made me choose BCU as my university.
What challenges did you face while studying here, and what support did BCU/your Faculty provide you during your degree?
Sometimes throughout university, I would struggle with my academic research papers. For instance, there were times when I wasn’t sure how to approach a paper, or where was best to get my sources from, or whether a section I had written made sense. Luckily, all the tutors had bookable office hours, where you could get 1 on 1 time and really go into depth on issues. These sessions meant I could ask any questions or have sections of my work be read over, and then I was able to go away afterwards and write the best paper that I could.
In what way do you think BCU developed you as a person for you to flourish in your chosen career path?
BCU pushed me to do things that I may not have done at other universities, such as industry placements. These were compulsive for my course, and probably wouldn’t have been something I’d have considered doing elsewhere as they weren’t mentioned by the other universities I visited. Having to find these placements helps you to gain confidence and forces you to put yourself out there and make connections.
These placements give you a chance to learn through doing which helped me develop my skillset within PR and build my confidence. Most importantly placements let you explore the industry before entering it, meaning you can make informed decisions about your career path before you leave university.
Did you gain any relevant experience whilst studying at BCU that allowed you to easily adapt to your job role?
While at BCU, I undertook four work placements. Three of these were at PR agencies while the other was an in-house social media role that the university helped me find. Even though I now work in digital PR rather than traditional PR, all of these experiences have helped me in my role. These experiences allowed me to develop my skills within communication and team work, media relations, and writing.
My modules also helped me develop my writing and research skills, and my creative thinking – all of which play a key part in my day-to-day responsibilities.
What key skills have you been able to take into your job role and how have these helped you excel?
I’d say the key skills that I bought from university into my current role are research, team work, creative ideation, and writing. I use all of these skills in my role every day, as I regularly am coming up with ideas for clients, researching topics to inform campaigns, and writing press releases or onsite content.
If you have any advice for anyone who is studying the course you studied, what would you say?
Get as much work experience as you can as this is what is going to help you decide what job you would like after university. The placements you go on will give you a real idea of what the industry is like, and can help you make informed decisions. Use these experiences to figure out what you like about certain roles and what you would look for when eventually applying for jobs.
Also, use your tutor’s office hours! They’re there to help you.
Can you tell us some exciting things you have been involved in since starting your new job role?
I work across multiple campaigns each month for a variety of clients, and there’s always something exciting we’re working on! We regularly work on campaigns that gain links and coverage across national, regional, lifestyle and business press. Just last week I promoted a campaign that ended up on House Beautiful, Country Living, and Yahoo News. Being able to work on campaigns start to finish is really exciting and fulfilling – and it’s lovely when you get great results from your hard work.
What does BCU mean to you?
BCU supported me throughout my time there, the lecturer’s really try to invest their time in the students and make an effort to help you where they can. Through BCU I was able to develop my skillset and explore different areas and figure out the career I wanted to have. They have great facilities, opportunities, and staff in the Media and Communications department and if you’re looking to study media or PR then I would recommend BCU wholeheartedly.