Leigh Campbell, a Marketing graduate from the University of Stirling, explains how he benefitted from his graduate placement with esave, which led to a permanent role with the business.
What’s your background?
My name is Leigh Campbell and I’m from Nairn near Inverness in the Highlands. I decided to go to university after taking part in the Young Enterprise scheme during my last year at school. Having successfully completed a four year course, I graduated from Stirling University in 2013 with a 2:1 BSc (Hons) in Marketing. After leaving university and having had a few different jobs, I am now working as the Marketing Assistant at esave in Inverness. Through my role I get to experience every aspect of marketing from communications right through to the future marketing strategy of the business.
Why did you apply for a ScotGrad placement?
Having left university I was keen to begin a career in marketing but found that I was confronted with the same comment when applying for marketing jobs, which was “ It’s great that you have a degree but we are looking for someone who has more experience”. I feel that this is something a lot of recent graduates hear when looking to start their career. So after a few solo marketing projects I thought I would get the needed experience through ScotGrad.
The great thing about ScotGrad is that it offers you the opportunity to gain real experience in a real company and make a real difference.
What was your placement and what did you enjoy the most?
Through ScotGrad I secured a marketing placement with a local energy and environmental consultancy called esave. My project when I started was to develop esave’s marketing communications, establish a lead value system and rationalise its CRM database. During my time here the role has evolved and I have expanded into a wider range of marketing activities, including seminar planning and content development.
Above all else the best thing about the position is that I have real responsibilities – and I’m not just talking about making the tea and coffee. Since day one I have been treated as a contributing member of the team and my opinion and advice has been valued. I think that in some cases when starting a career after university you can be seen as naive and inexperienced which limits your exposure to important projects within companies. However here that has never been the case.
What’s more is the fact that it is a relatively small team, you get the opportunity to get involved in other aspects of the company and expand your skills. One example of this has been the ability to work closely with a fellow ScotGrad Pedro who is now our Market and Policy Analyst. Through working together we have been able to develop a monthly report which offers detailed analysis of the energy markets to all our clients and prospects.
What new skills/knowledge did you develop during your placement?
Where do I start. Firstly my non-existent knowledge of the energy and environmental sector has flourished into an understanding of it, which considering the complexity and changing nature of it is a real achievement. To add to this every aspect of my marketing game has been raised. What was once theory has been turned into real life experience. In practical terms I have developed my skills in content development, online marketing, analytics, event management, project management and marketing strategy to name but a few. It really has been a once in a lifetime valuable experience.
What was the biggest benefit of attending the ScotGrad residential training?
The residential training course was very enjoyable and I found that I returned to work filled with lots of ideas. It was great to meet and hear the experiences from those on other ScotGrad placements as it gave me the opportunity to network with other graduates from different companies and disciplines. To add to this it gave me a bit of time out to reflect upon the things that I wouldn’t normally have the time to in my day-to-day job. I found the content fun and was inspired to one day launch my own venture using the business modelling and project management skills.
The mentors involved were a testament to ScotGrad as they were excellent tutors and offered real life experiences which went beyond just theory. It introduced me to the various aspects of business, some of which I had never experienced or thought of before.
Any advice for other graduates?
A degree is only half the story. Employers think degrees are great but they are also looking for people who have real skills and real experience. So my main suggestion would be to use all the resources you can whilst at university. It could involve getting advice from the careers services, having a part time job or becoming an active member within societies and clubs. I found that volunteering my marketing skills to local organisations after university really helped as it allowed me to demonstrate my initiative, passion and ability which has since helped when securing employment.
Last but not least my tip for an interview is when you are asked near the end if you have any questions, your answer should be what do you love about the job. This is a guaranteed winner and should give you a quick insight into the company.