University can be quite a hectic time and sometimes it's easy to get caught up in the student lifestyle with little to no thought on what you'll be doing next. If you're in university at the moment and you've got dreams of a marketing career, Jessica Homewood, graduate and current Direct Marketing Manager at OVO energy gives her advice on how to make the most of your time at university to further your chances of a successful career.
Name: Jessica Homewood
Role: Direct Marketing Manager at OVO energy
Education: BSc Business Management, Surrey University (2009-2013)
Tell us a little about your role at OVO Energy and what you get up to…
I'm now a Direct Marketing Manager for OVO Energy, an independent gas and electricity supplier based in Bristol. Every day is different in our department, because our marketing plans can change from week to week as we seek to be reactive. I work with a great team of people who are always willing to try new methods and processes which makes work enjoyable
My role combines a lot of different responsibilities and skillsets. I have to be creative but that creativity has to be backed up with data and consumer insight, so we know we’re making informed commercial decisions.
How did you get your current role at OVO Energy?
OVO has a fantastic Graduate Development Scheme each year – which I was lucky enough to get onto after graduating. I took on roles in a few different marketing teams across the company before I moved into my current role.
What did you study at university and how has it helped your career?
I studied Business Management at Surrey University. The course offered an optional placement year or a term or year to study abroad and a really wide range of modules. I was interested in some of the retail modules and there was a lot of flexibility in choosing different modules based on your interests. This varied approach to my education enabled me to figure out what I was interested in, what I wanted to do, and what motivated me.
In general, the course set me up with a good grounding in business knowledge so that I was prepared to slot into the world of work after my studies.
What were the best things about your course?
Having a placement year in the middle of my studies really helped as part of my development. Looking at potential placements was essentially the same as looking for a job so the process of researching, plus the applications and interviews, helped set me up for the job hunt after I graduated. Then, of course, there was the practical experience. I would really recommend taking up the option of a placement year while you’re studying if it’s available, it was invaluable for me.
How did your placement year help your progress?
The main way it changed me, was in how much I matured. From the year before my placement to the year after I was a completely different person. I had a different work ethic and instead of cramming in studying and waking up at silly times of the day, I developed a routine. I saw my studies as a job and tried to stick to typical working 9-5 hours, which meant I had weekends free (most of the time) to pursue other things.
How can students hoping to work in your profession make the most of their time at university?
Get involved with as much as possible. Whether that’s societies or entrepreneurial schemes, all of this will give you some great experiences. Try and focus on subjects and modules you have a genuine interest in, that way you’ll be able to demonstrate your knowledge and passion about them in interviews, and you’ll enjoy yourself more!
Make sure you check out all of our entry level and graduate marketing jobs today. You never know, you might find just what you've worked so hard for...
This interview is a guest blog provided by Search Laboratory on behalf of OVO Careers. Search Laboratory are experts in helping businesses move up the natural search results using ethical, customer-centric search engine optimisation.