I came into the PR course at Leeds Business School with quite a clear idea of where I wanted to be after graduation – working in food and drink PR and in particular with high-end restaurants and drinks brands. However as I approach the end of my second year I’m not so sure that’s still the case.
I am a keen advocate of a holistic approach to learning and development and during my time at university I have sought out opportunities and taken advantage of everything on offer. As part of the course we are entitled to student membership of both the CIPR and PRCA, something I’ve certainly made the most of, attending a number of wide ranging events, guest lectures and conferences in the last two years to compliment my studies.
I’ve taken on responsibilities and had some say in how the course, faculty and indeed wider university is run too, having been elected twice by my peers as a course representative (winning overall course rep of the year in this year’s Students’ Union awards) and sitting on our Student Council as the representative from the School of Strategy, Marketing and Communications. I’ve also sat on a number of committees and advisory boards including most notably, the Faculty Board (Business and Law) and Academic Quality and Standards Committee.
Less than a month into the course I approached Different PR about the possibility of gaining some practical experience with them and have been working with the agency ever since. I’ve worked on a wide variety of accounts (including Theakstons, Nick ‘Mr Loophole’ Freeman and Ashville College among many others), helped pitch for new business, write proposals, spoken at events and much more. My time with Different has given me a real feel for the industry and agency environment and allowed me to develop my writing as well as teaching me how to put the theories and techniques learnt through my studies into practice. It really has convinced me that I do indeed want to pursue a career in PR.
I’ve also engaged in freelance work throughout the past year working with a number of small businesses and organisations including those in the fashion, music management, events and charity sectors.
Now as I prepare to move into my final year on the course my ambitions have changed somewhat, I think (at least for the first phase of my career) I’ll be focussing on roles in the consumer/corporate sectors with a focus on digital PR solutions.
Over the past two years I’ve made every effort to broaden my experience and knowledge base and will continue to do so next year and indeed beyond that – participating in continuing professional development is one of the determining factors of chartered status within the CIPR, something that I am aiming to achieve.
This past year I’ve also become involved with Leeds Marrow – a group of students who work with charity, Anthony Nolan to recruit people to the stem cell/bone marrow register, giving people with blood cancers like leukaemia a second chance at life. I now sit on the group’s committee and am responsible for the group’s growth and expansion into new areas.
Two years ago I had a rough idea, but was unsure of the specifics of where I was headed; now I have a very real idea and a plan for how to get there.
I am constantly re-evaluating my personal development and have a number of things I’d like to achieve in the year before graduation, including:
Continuing to build a strong online presence
Growing Leeds Marrow volunteer numbers and register sign-ups by expanding further into Leeds Metropolitan University as well as fostering new relationships with Leeds Trinity University and colleges within Leeds.
Attending a number of conferences and workshops to broaden knowledge and skills
Building a strong portfolio with work undertaken for Different PR and freelancing
Improving my digital literacy and embracing new technologies and solutions