A graduate in International Marketing, Deborah Quinn thought her lack of work experience might hold her back, but an opening in Aviemore's tourist industry proved otherwise.
What is your background?
I had recently graduated with a Masters degree in International Marketing from University of the West of Scotland, which I loved doing. I think my lack of work experience was the main issue when I was applying for jobs. I genuinely thought I was really going to struggle to get any sort of marketing job. But then I found this placement!
What did you like most about your placement?
I now have a very good insight into the day-to-day marketing activities that are undertaken in organisations and have a greater appreciation of the impact that the day-to-day work has on the overall marketing and business objectives. I have been working very closely with directors and chairman throughout the placement, many of whom are extremely experienced in business and marketing. To work so closely with them, learn about their experiences and understand their way of approaching certain situations and trying to emulate that as much as possible has been invaluable and is not something that I could possibly have imagined experiencing at this stage in my career.
What project were you involved in?
Besides my work on the website and social media, I was encouraged to go out and network with other organisations. This has resulted in collaborative packages that have enhanced visitors’ experiences at Strathspey Railway.
What did you learn and what skills have you gained?
It has also given me great connections and, again, insight into other experienced marketers and business men and women, and further insight into how business works. Aviemore, being a tourist destination, is quite a good place to learn about networking and collaborating, as all of the businesses have to work together to promote the area and appreciate that each business brings a unique experience to the area. This obviously is important in bringing visitors to the Highlands. Again, it’s an area of business that I have really gained some fantastic insight to.
What have you taken away from the Graduate Placement training course you attended?
It was a great opportunity to network and find out more about others’ experiences when they are at a similar stage of their careers. I generally think it is useful to get ‘out the office’ as it gives you some good perspective – difficult to appreciate when you’re working in a busy office.
I found myself applying some of the modules we studied during our week’s retreat to my work. (As many of the other graduates mentioned during the placement, the SWOT – TOWS analysis was not something I had worked on before.)
I felt I went back to work with a better idea of what I should generally have been working towards. It also made me think a little bit more about how I approach certain situations and to be more analytical and critical about some of my general actions (e.g. dealing with customers and colleagues).
Any advice to other students?
The responsibilities I have held have encouraged me and given me a lot of confidence. Having been offered an extension to my one year placement and the feedback from that year suggests that I have done a good job during my placement which is again, very encouraging. That can happen to you too!