What degree did you do at the University of Kent and when did you graduate?
I graduated in July 2013 with a 2:1 in Event and Experience Design BA Hons.
Congratulations on getting your graduate role last year! What is your job title and what company do you work for?
Thank you! I am a Management Graduate Trainee at Monsoon Accessorize Ltd.
My role is very diverse and has involved me working in a variety of areas, from a flagship store to Head Office. In store, I developed my management capabilities by learning the core responsibilities of the Branch Manager role, and equally the processes and systems that ensure seamless delivery of day-to-day activity. After the induction, we were then assigned a Divisional Director as a mentor as well as a buddy. After the first six months, we had a 2 day summit to reflect on our experience to date which involved us giving individual presentations to the Divisional Directors. I’m currently placed in the central London office, where I will rotate around various departments in order to gain an overview of the business. I have a six monthly meeting with the CEO to discuss my progress and will be looking forward to starting my second 4 month rotation early August.
This is the first time Monsoon Accessorize have run a graduate programme. There are 2 programmes running simultaneously – product management and general management – so we have had the opportunity to specialise in both areas over a 2 year period. Given this is a pilot for the business, we have been able to get involved in shaping how the programme will look for future intakes, lot of it has been bespoke and it’s exciting to be involved in the programme for future graduates coming in.
How did you get this job?
I had always been sure that I wanted a graduate role, and during my final year at university I researched and applied for graduate schemes. It was during that time that I heard about the new Monsoon Accessorize Graduate Trainee programme. I was already working for Monsoon Accessorize as a store Supervisor, and I applied for the role immediately. After my application, I also telephoned the HR representative to make sure that he was aware of my experience with the company (2 years working in store, promotion from part-time sales assistant to part-time Supervisor, voluntary work experience with the marketing department) – and my aspirations to put this experience into practice at a higher level.
What skills did you gain from your degree that have been useful in your job?
Research skills and ‘thinking outside the box’. My degree was very creative which I later found out works very well in conjunction with my more corporate career focus.
What help did you get from the Careers and Employability Service when you were a student?
During the last year of my studies I approached Natalie in Careers and Employability, who was able to help me understand the options available to me after university. She helped me to re-write my CV and help me understand how important it is to be able to tailor my communication style to the type of role and employer that I was applying to work for. I met with Natalie a number of times to discuss my applications and experiences and was encouraged to contact the team at any time if I had any questions.
What tips have you got for current students applying for graduate roles?
If you haven’t already, book an appointment with the Careers and Employability service to talk about what roles are out there currently. Sign up to Linkedin and approach other graduates – after all they are the ones that can give you the most ‘tangible’ advice. Follow groups and companies relating to the field of work that you want to work in – it’s amazing what kind of information you can pick up on social media that can aid your success in an interview. And lastly, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and meet people. I’ve found that sometimes the value from meeting somebody doesn’t materialise immediately however, keep your contacts on the radar and check-in every so often, you never know when the relationship might provide more value than you first think!
– Amy Brooks, Kent Graduate (2013), BA Hons Event and Experience Design.