Course studied at BCU: Media and Communications (PR)
Company: Nathan Rous PR
Job title: Account Manager
Did you always want to study your chosen subject at university or did you change your mind when you were researching/applying?
When I was at school I always enjoyed English and writing so I assumed that maybe I would be a good journalist, so that’s what I decided to study at BCU. I enrolled on the Media and Communications broad course as that enabled me to explore all types of media and communications industries which I thought would be interesting.
As soon as I did one module in PR (which I’d actually never heard of at school!) I realised that I loved it. It felt more creative and fun and something I could see myself doing every day. Luckily, the course allowed me to explore both throughout the three years and I was able to choose. I specialised in PR and I’ve been working in the industry since graduating.
What challenges did you face while studying here, and what support did BCU/your Faculty provide you during your degree?
I didn't have any huge struggles except the balance of starting work/uni deadlines during my third year. My tutors were incredibly supportive and helpful.
In what way do you think BCU developed you as a person for you to flourish in your chosen career path?
The extras offered on our course and in the School of Media in general enabled me to grow in confidence and learn to network/speak professionally in a room. Attending CIPR meetings and events, or presenting at conferences was never something I imagined I’d be doing so early in my career but it helped develop my skills and also put me in front of industry giants which helped enormously when securing a job.
Did you gain any relevant experience whilst studying at BCU that allowed you to easily adapt to your job role?
Yes I completed lots of work experience throughout my three years at BCU that was definitely the reason why I secured a grad role so early on. This meant that as well as learning the theory/background of PR, I was also gaining real-life experience from real-life situations and client briefs.
What key skills have you been able to take into your job role and how have these helped you excel?
Creativity - thinking outside the box and being encouraged to come up with original ideas at BCU has been a huge part of my everyday life in my PR roles. Especially when pitching for new business or trying to think of new angles to pitch a story to a journalist or campaign to a client.
Confidence - the networking and teamwork we had to do at BCU has carried on throughout the whole of my career so far.
Writing - it may sound obvious, but learning how to write an actual press release rather than just an essay was a huge head start in my career. Other graduates who I have worked with who studied PR but not a practical course didn’t understand the difference and it took them a while to adapt their essay writing/long-sentence style into succinct and to the point press releases.
If you have any advice for anyone who is studying the course you studied, what would you say?
- Network - make people know who you are! Doesn’t have to be in-person though - I met my boss now through LinkedIn.
- Work well in a team - your peers will be your future colleagues.
- Get a range of work experience - not just the compulsory two weeks. Read the news - doesn’t have to be The Telegraph or The Times - read LadBible, Huffington Post, see what’s trending on Twitter.
- Learn off everything/every situation - absorb everything.
- Be prepared to get stuck in!
- The weirdest projects/campaigns can often be the most fun.
Can you tell us some exciting things you have been involved in since starting your new job role?
My first role was at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity and I got to work on some really high profile campaigns in the region including the award-winning Big Sleuth campaign which raised a quarter of a million pounds for the charity.
Since working on the agency side I’ve worked on a whole range of clients and projects which is what makes every day exciting in some way. I’ve PR’d everything from a pothole machine to Christmas trees to chocolate to candles to hydrogen buses to teddy bears to museums - every day really is different!
What does BCU mean to you?
BCU is a fab university I’d wholeheartedly recommend it for anyone looking to get into the media industry!