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By Cassie Melrose

BU Graduate, BA (Hons) Retail Management

Having a placement year was one of the main things that attracted me to Retail Management at Bournemouth Uni. I, along with many of my peers, wanted to work as a buyer in a retail fashion head office and knew how competitive roles like this were. Uni gave us lots of advice and taught us the basics we needed to start a role but the experience you gain once actually on placement is like nothing else.

To start with applying for placements can seem so long and tedious! Some of the applications I had to fill out seemed to have stage after stage of different tests and questions. A tip for this is save each answer you write. Of course if a question is asking you why do you want to work for our company don’t use a copy and paste job, really research the company and find things about their ethos and past that you can relate with. But many of the applications have the same questions such as ‘what are your strengths’. Ensure you read the brief of what they are looking for when completing this but using answers that you have used in other applications, especially if these were successful, it can save time. I set myself two applications a week in the first term of uni as a lot of the best placements have very early deadlines. I was offered an interview at every company I applied for and soon after took a role as an assistant buyer at George at Asda Head Office and then a second one at FatFace Head Office.

I would recommend a placement to absolutely everyone! It changes your whole outset on your course. I actually got my best grades in final year which I believe was down to the lessons I learnt on placement. You learn so much about time management and organisation as well as working in teams and learning how to react to different management styles. It puts the theory you have learnt into context making you really understand exactly what you were taught by seeing it in a real life environment. For me it also showed me that I did not actually want to work in buying anymore and was instead drawn to marketing and I learnt this through my close relationship with the marketing departments on placement. This changed my goal and made me realise what I needed to do in final year to achieve this.

Placement can be hard work and is definitely a massive culture shock when leaving uni, I remember I cried and cried when packing up from second year. However if asked if I would do it again I would say 100% due to all the reasons I’ve discussed but also from a social aspect you really realise how much free time you have at uni and really make the most of that, which for me made final year my best one. I am now far more confident and ready to jump into the deep end in any new role as I feel loads of the skills I learnt on placement such as the benefit of hard work can be used in any job.

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