Guest blogger Written by

This is a guest blogger post by current student Ben Levene, studying BA (Hons) Marketing Communications.

Now that I have finished my placement year, it seems like a great time to reflect on working for the Walt Disney Company. First of all, let me introduce myself. My name is Ben and I will be going into my final year of studies in September 2020, completing my BA (Hons) Marketing Communications degree.

When I started my second year, I put a lot of my time into securing a placement role in order to focus on academic studies. After being taught many useful tips by placement supervisors on approaching interviews and preparing for assessment centres, I began editing my CV. From there I utilised all of the recruitment sites at my disposal, applying to various companies. Over Christmas 2019, I was emailed by the Walt Disney Company, enquiring whether I would like to attend the assessment day in the new year. Although stressful to begin with, I felt more at ease the more the assessment day went on. After a series of tasks and interviews throughout the day, I felt positive in how I presented myself and was looking forward to a response from them. Thankfully it was great news, falling right around my birthday as a nice little present.

My role was working as a programming scheduler for the kid’s TV channel “Disney XD”. Tasks involved with my job included building a programming schedule for the channel across European markets, analysing how well the shows performed using data analysis and compliance checking programming material to ensure specific markets got their appropriate content.

Whilst working for the house of mouse had its perks, what I enjoyed most about my role was the responsibility of looking after my designated market (Nordic markets), making sure that I was fulfilling the needs of my audience but also trying new things.

Working at Disney was for the most part magical, however this didn’t prevent challenges to arise against me and my team. During my tenure the company had been going through a large restructure, which meant many people I was working with were facing potential redundancies. Although not affecting me, it was difficult to see my co-workers going through stressful times on a day-to-day basis. How I overcame this was to be supportive of my peers, taking on as many tasks as I could so that they had smaller workload to worry about.

My year on placement taught me many things from the world of linear broadcast, to the inner workings of how such a worldwide conglomerate works from the inside. My main takeaway from the year though was how to work in a team effectively. Although my course in Marketing Communications involves enjoyable group assignments, working from nine till five for five days a week can be at times challenging. To ensure tasks were completed and to the best of their ability, I had to learn how to effectively communicate with those around me.

Now that I have completed my year at Disney, it is time to look forward to my final year of studies; as well as further to my future. From my experience within the linear broadcast industry, I witnessed and learned about the rise of OTT media services; also known as streaming services. With sites like Netflix being the market leader and Disney launching an online platform of its own during 2020, the marketplace is expanding to be truly competitive. This would be my dream industry to work within, ideally in a marketing orientated role to utilise the skills I have developed from my course.

For students reading this who are preparing towards their placement year, if I could give you one piece of advice it would be to be passionate about the industry your role is in. This will help in interview stages as describing your enthusiasm for the market the company falls under will tick the right boxes for interviewers. You will also be working in this role for a minimum of 30 weeks, making it important you enjoy every minute of your time there. This may seem optimistic seeing as jobs can be hard to come by, but looking around long enough and working hard to get yourself noticed by employers will be extremely beneficial.

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