A placement at Disney Destinations International gave BU student Emilia-Jade Gibson the opportunity to apply her skills to more than just Mickey Mouse marketing.

Emilia was a Digital Partnerships/Marketing Coordinator at Disney’s Hammersmith offices where she could apply what she’d learned from the BA (Hons) Marketing Communications course. 

In fact, the placement opportunities at BU were one of the deciding factors in choosing where to study. She explained her decision-making: “After attending one of the Open Days back in Summer 2011 and looking at the wide variety of units available in Marketing Communications, there was no doubt in my mind about attending BU.”

“Ever since I was young I used to come to Bournemouth in the summer with my family. I got to know Bournemouth really well and it was a bonus when I knew that BU offered a compulsory year in industry, as this was something that I always wanted to do.”

Emilia was in luck when she landed a placement with Disney Destinations International. 

“Having the chance to work for a well-known worldwide company was amazing. There was such a positive atmosphere across the whole department and I loved having the chance to build really strong working relationships.

“Aside from the Disney teddies all over my desk, Disney music in the office, Disney-themed meeting rooms and not forgetting the overall Disney positive vibe, I loved having the opportunity to take on a lot of responsibilities.”

Working with the big Disney brands – Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris and Disney Cruise Line – Emilia was able to get involved in many exciting opportunities. She also found that the knowledge and skills she had developed at BU were indispensable in her role. She said: “When I first started university, I thought that the units I was taking were not relevant to what I wanted to go into.

“I thought I was studying units for the sake of it, however it turns out I was completely wrong and everything you do, even the units you don’t like, are all relevant and shape your placement year in some way or another.”

In particular, she applied what she learned on the Digital Communication Strategies unit. She explained: “The tools and skills that I learnt during this unit specifically and throughout my whole course helped me in my placement selection, performance and overall learning experience.

“I was able to put exactly what I had learnt into practice in the real-life working world. The united contributed significantly towards my basic knowledge on how a digital campaign works, which was further improved by being on placement.”

It was those skills that helped her launch the Disney Irish Affiliate Program, develop a new partnership with US travel company Homeaway, launch new social media channels and set up a brand new blogger programme for Walt Disney World.

Rachael Fletcher, Marketing Manager at Disney Destinations International, was suitably impressed with Emilia’s performance. She commented: “The foundations, processes and relationships that Emilia developed will be a lasting legacy of her time working in the Disney Destination team.”

Rachael added: “Should a vacancy be available when Emilia finishes her degree, we would welcome her back with open arms.”

Now back at BU for her final year, Emilia said she learned a great deal from her placement year which she’s since applied back at BU. She said: “The main skills from my placement year that I have brought back to my final year were communication skills, and I utilised these skills with my fellow students and lecturers.”

“Another skill that I learnt and applied in my final year was prioritising tasks. My role at Disney was 80% Digital Marketing and 20% Partnerships and it was necessary for me to prioritise tasks for both roles.”

While studying, Emilia made the most of the BU experience. She’s been representing BU at schools and colleges as an Outreach Ambassador, helping to raise expectations in school pupils and also helping to recruit new BU students at events. As a Placement Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) Leader she’s been leading seminars and sharing her placement experience with BU’s second year students – answering their questions and allaying any fears they have about working in industry. She said: “I found this very useful and interesting and I loved sharing my experience with students and helping them to gain a placement.”

When pressed on her favourite thing about BU, Emilia enthused: “The fact that my course is situated in the only Centre for Excellence in Media Practice makes me extremely proud to be a BU student. I always wanted to study at a University that offered a sandwich degree, requiring me to take a year out of my studies to work in industry; which was probably the best thing about me coming to BU.”

She went on to say: “If it weren’t for Bournemouth University being so highly recognised by employees, I would never have learnt the knowledge and skills that I did, or build up my own network of people from a variety of professions.”

Building that network has certainly helped her; it’s even secured her a two-year graduate contract with a large marketing agency in London – a company she worked with whilst at Disney.

She’s planning on moving back to London and taking up a role with Blue 449 as an Audio Visual Investment Buyer. And she can’t wait!

“Coming to BU has definitely helped me strive towards my goal of working within the marketing world and I am excited to see what the future holds.”