November is always a busy time of year at BU, with hundreds of students graduating and going on to a range of exciting opportunities. One of our new graduates Anushka shares her story.
Most five-year-old girls don’t have a career plan beyond ‘mermaid’ or ‘princess’, but Anushka Naidoo was a very different proposition. “I just had a really curious nature and combined that with a love of writing, so even when I was very little, I knew that I wanted a career in media or communications,” laughs the BA (Hons) Communication & Media graduate. “It meant I was always really focused on getting to where I wanted to be.”
Born in West London, Anushka moved to Essex with her family while she was still young, so she studied her GCSEs and subsequent BTEC at Epping Forest College. “The ambition I’d carried with me from when I was five meant that choosing my GCSEs was really straightforward,” she recalls, “and I opted to move onto a BTEC in Media as it would help me to develop other useful skills such as photography, video editing and research.”
It was while she was studying at Epping Forest College that a senior tutor suggested Anushka consider studying for a degree at BU. “She knew how serious I was about a career in media,” says Anushka, “and told me that Bournemouth University was the best place in the country to study media-related degrees. She did also point out that it was very competitive, and that I’d need high grades to secure a place, but that only made me more determined to succeed.”
Anushka was already familiar with Bournemouth, as she had visited before on holiday. “Living and studying somewhere is very different to holidaying there though,” she admits, “and I’d never been to the university before – so I decided to attend a BU Open Day. It was absolutely amazing – I completely fell in love with the place. I’d been to other universities with good reputations too, but the combination of the facilities, the ambience and the academics at BU meant I immediately felt at home here, and I knew it was the right choice for me.”
Anushka initially applied to two courses with us, BA (Hons) Multimedia Journalism and BA (Hons) Communication & Media, but eventually decided to concentrate on her application for the latter. “I felt as though BA (Hons) Communication & Media would give me a slightly broader skillset and leave my options open when it came to a career choice after uni,” she explains. “I just wasn’t entirely surely I was ready to commit completely to a career in journalism and wanted to be a little more agile when it came to my future plans. I was ecstatic when I received an unconditional offer, and couldn’t wait to get started after my gap year.”
Upon arriving at BU in 2011, Anushka found that not only did her course meet her high expectations, it exceeded them. “All the elements of the course combined to give me the kind of skillset I was looking for,” she says. “The lecturers in particular were second to-none. They were leading experts and brilliant researchers, but they were also incredibly engaging and helpful. I really felt as though I got superb value for money, and I quickly realised that I had made the perfect choice for me.”
Anushka’s determination to start a career in the media meant that she was as eager to seek experience in her own time as she was during her lectures and seminars. “As soon as I arrived, I signed up to Nerve Radio because I wanted to get more radio experience under my belt,” she recalls. “I was initially given a daytime show to present, and in my second term I joined the news team. At the time, it consisted of four or five journalists, and I really enjoyed the experience I gained as a newsreader.”
As March approached, however, Anushka was offered the chance to take a step up within the Nerve hierarchy. “Nerve Radio broadcasts live for a fortnight during March, and I was offered a promotion to News Editor to see us through that challenging (but fun!) spell,” she says. “Afterward, a few people suggested I apply to be Head of News, so I did – and I got it!”
Over the course of her second and third years at BU, Anushka built the news team into a force to be reckoned with. “By the end of my third year, we had 15 journalists in the newsroom, and they came from all over the university,” she says. “Previously it was largely the domain of Journalism students but I worked really hard to broaden the appeal so we had students from English, Economics, Psychology, Public Relations and more!”
That hard work did not go unnoticed, with a decision eventually taken to move the news department out of Nerve Radio and make Nerve News a fully fledged brand in its own right. “We joined Nerve Radio, Nerve Magazine and Nerve Online as full brands, providing a multi-platform news solution from talented journalists and editors,” says Anushka. “I’m really proud of that achievement, and the way we grew so quickly while still increasing the quality of what we did – but I couldn’t have done it without such an awesome team!”
With her success at Nerve News under her belt and her dissertation handed in, Anushka then secured an internship with the Corporate Communications team at BU. “I worked in the department for two months, gaining loads of useful experience and working on a wide variety of communications-related tasks,” says Anushka.
One such task was promoting the work of the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, which BU is heavily involved in. It was set up to invest in different industry sectors across the county to create more new highly skilled jobs and ensure Dorset is in a strong position for economic growth, and it wasn’t long before a job opportunity came Anushka’s way.
“Through my work with BU, I became aware that Dorset LEP had a vacancy – a two-year contract as a Communications Assistant,” says Anushka. “ I applied for the role and was successful, and I’ve been doing it ever since. It’s a great job and the ideal next step for me as it is so varied. I look after social media, corporate relationships, organise and host meetings, deal with government communications, draft press releases and much more. It means I am able to do something I enjoy and explore lots of different areas of communications, and I still have lots of flexibility and control over my next career move. I could specialise in PR, move into government communications, or go back to journalism – it’s really up to me where I go next!”
With such a bright future ahead of her, Anushka is quick to recognise that the foundations that her time at BU gave her have been invaluable. “Without studying at BU, none of what I’ve achieved would have been possible,” she says. “Studying at BU was an incredible experience and has set me up perfectly for the future I’ve always wanted. I’d recommend a BU degree to anyone!”