By Zoe Kealey
Looking back as a final year student, first year of University seems like a life time ago. My first year of studying Business Management was a mixed bag for me. I had studied Business at A Level so already had a basic understanding of common concepts and theories. However, there was a lot that obviously hadn’t been touched on. The modules in first year are all compulsory for this course, so unfortunately there was no getting out of the maths-based ones for me! The range of modules provided allow a good breadth and depth to gain a general understanding of Business Management, however moving into second year, a number of optional modules was definitely welcomed by all.
Second year choices allow you to make your degree best suited to your skills and abilities as well as allow you to potentially begin to shape your degree to suit what your future job may require. I was happy to be able to select topics I had been previously interested in at school; Accounting & Finance and Marketing & Consumer Behaviour and steer away slightly from solely management-based degree. Second year was an extremely busy time for me as I was applying to placement positions for my year in industry. This took up a lot of my time and energy, potentially steering my concentration away from uni work to applications and interview prep (especially in first semester). However, as much as this process was time-consuming and at times, extremely deflating, it’s safe to say that a year in industry turned out to be the best opportunity and experience of my university career.
A Year in Industry
From the moment I came to University I always knew I wanted to undertake an industrial placement, mainly because I wanted to extend my time at Uni and delay entering the real world, but also because I knew the extent to the benefits, I would gain from a year out.
Although, as I previously mentioned it was tough to get a job in industry, the time and effort all became worth it when I realised the extent to which my skills and qualities were benefiting. The main bonus of doing a placement are the improvements and additions to your CV. When you’re looking to apply to jobs after you finish Uni, you will definitely thank 2nd year you for doing a placement. The experiences, opportunities and developments you have made will help you along the way massively when applying to graduate schemes or other jobs after University.
Secondly, you will improve your personal skills in all areas including; communication, confidence, independence, IT skills, teamwork, time-management, leadership, communication, and many more! Working in a real-life business, really does allow you to flourish and develop your skills in all areas. You have the opportunity to learn about yourself, as well as your role and the business itself. This is invaluable to your personal development and growth.
Finally, a year in industry will change the way you learn and understand when you return to Uni for your final year. Everything we now learn in our lectures and seminars is really put into perspective for me, thanks to my placement year. Theories and practices are much more clearly defined as I am able to put each idea into real-life examples from my own experience.
Final year is definitely a step up from the rest (they weren’t lying). Similar to second year, but to an even greater extent, students are able to choose the majority of their modules to tailor their degree to suit them! My favourite module has got to be the Management Consultancy Project (this is a 40-credit module which can be taken instead of doing a Dissertation). Some students are put off from doing this particular module as 20 credits of this is group work. However, I have felt that without my team I really couldn’t have done this. Everybody was so supportive of each other and everyone is ultimately working towards the same goal, so it really isn’t as bad as you think! The consultancy project is such a great way to explore and develop new skills, both academically and also personable, teamworking and organisational skills (to name just a few). It provides students with real life experience of what it would be like to become a management consultant, working with a real-life business client on a real-life issue. As well as providing substantial experience and learning opportunities, it has also provided us with the chance to meet new people and friends on the same course, helping us to also improve our abilities to work in a team (who were all strangers to each other 5 months ago).