Leah Phillips, BU alumna

A placement year with Renault UK has led to the start of a career in marketing and communications for BU alumna, Leah Phillips.

BA (Hons) Business Studies is now called BA (Hons) Business and Management.

Leah chose the BA (Hons) Business Studies at BU because of the degree’s focus on work experience and practical projects. She said: “I started university just as the student tuition fees increased, and so it felt even more important to me that my degree would lead to employment as seamlessly as possible.”

Like many students, Leah lacked a clear idea of what her future career would look like, and so used the degree to explore pathways in areas such as contract law, small business management and finance. The placement year with Renault proved pivotal in shaping her first steps into graduate employment. She said: “The placement was fantastic. You hear horror stories that all students do on placements is make the coffee and help with the filing. That wasn’t the case at all and I was able to get involved with a wide range of the business’ operations. The teams, both at Renault and at BU, were very supportive and ensured that I got what I needed out of the experience.”

The placement, within Renault’s Network Engagement Team, included working on customer experience metrics, visiting dealerships and liaising with partner agencies. As it came to an end, not only did the company provide Leah with the basis for her final year dissertation, but it also invited her to apply for their graduate scheme. Having successfully secured a place, she has since gone on to complete a series of rotations and is about to take up a permanent position in branding and communications.

Leah said: “I spent time in marketing during the graduate scheme, and when a permanent position came up I decided to apply, even though it meant coming off the grad scheme early. As a Brand Communications Executive, I will be looking after Renault’s brand assets and creative campaigns. Before starting my degree I wouldn’t have known that this was an area I wanted to work in, but I am really excited to start. It goes to show that you can apply skills from a course such as business studies in a whole host of job roles.”

Having originally wanted to ensure that her degree increased her employment prospects, Leah is delighted to be where she is today. She said: “Looking back, I can see that BU has given me the confidence to go after what I wanted. The degree and university experience is about so much more than just completing unit after unit to gain a qualification. It is about developing knowledge and practical skills so that you can go out there and be successful. Although it has been hard work, I feel very lucky to have been able to find my first job as a direct result of my degree and placement.”