Placement Ambassasor – Jonathan Tse
Placement Ambassadors are Stage 3 students who have returned from a placement year. They are happy to offer advice and guidance to stage 2 students looking for a placement.Why did you choose to do a one year commercial placement?
Doing a one year placement is first of all being able to acquire valuable work experience while being away from University. It is an opportunity to establish some useful connections with people already in the Job Market.
Doing a placement is a learning process, similar to attending lectures at Uni but in a more practical way. Learning processes involve acquiring skills such as communication skills, decision making, time management, self-motivation and leadership. It also gave me the confidence in approaching strangers and turn them into personal contacts. Doing a placement also pays quite well, and it even enabled me to pay my tuition fees for my final year.
Which company did you work for? What was your position?
I worked at Newcastle University Business School as the Alumni Relations Intern.
What was the highlight of your placement year?
The Highlight of my placement was organising Alumni events as well as corporate events in the Business School. Organising events involves a lot of meticulous tasks and time management. It was really challenging to ensure that everything was on point before each event such as raising purchasing orders, liaising with suppliers and catering.
The second highlight of my placement was the preparation of an Alumni Benchmarking report which was about comparing the Alumni Benefits offered by the Business School with benefits offered by other Business Schools in UK. This report needed a lot of investment in terms of time for doing research and gathering information and to write up and present to my managers.
How has the placement experience helped your own development?
The placement has given me an insight of the working life. I have realised how time can be precious when working and how many responsibilities sit on my shoulders.
I believe I have been gaining a lot of discipline and I now manage my time more efficiently.
It has enhanced my soft skills such as communication (During my placement I have sent a total number of 4,200 emails and several hours on the phone), Leadership ( I have been given the opportunity to lead on several projects including projects with the MBA students), and finally the placement has greatly helped me to overcome everyday challenges.
What elements of the placement have been most useful in helping you move towards your careers goal? What is your career goal?
A considerable amount of time spent during my placement was on working on excel spreadsheet sand analysing figures and numbers. For instance, I had to monitor the Alumni budget expenditure and report to the Alumni Relations Manager. I had to input expenditure figures in a spreadsheet just like I do in accounting modules.
I have been involved in a number of presentations in front of large audiences and this has really helped me to overcome stage fright and to present clearly and pass the desired message in the right way. I have also had the opportunity to assist to some interviews during which students of the Business School were applying for summer internships. These interview sessions have greatly helped me in terms of knowing what employers look for in candidates and how to stand out.
What advice would you give someone who was thinking about doing a commercial placement?
My advice is that students should not only be focussing on placements which are related to their field of study, even thought it might be more advantageous. The aim of any placement is to have an insight of how it is having a full time job. The main goal is to improve existing skills and to acquire new ones.
I would also strongly recommend to make the most out of the placement in terms of making new friends and connections. It is vital to ask as many questions to experienced people in the organisation.
If you have any placement related questions, feel free to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org