Friday, 22 July 2016

In praise of Campus Brand Managers

I recently had the pleasure of attending the inaugural Campus Brand Manager of the Year competition at Enterprise Rent A Car's European HQ. The event was a celebration of the great work undertaken by Campus Brand Managers across the UK, promoting internships, placements and graduate opportunities, to their fellow students. Four regional finalists delivered outstanding presentations highlighting their achievements, successful referrals to Enterprise recruitment programmes and pitched for why they deserved to be named Campus Brand Manager of the Year. Chelsea Gannon from Liverpool John Moores University was undoubtedly a worthy winner.

The four finalists of #CBMOTY 2016, with winner Chelsea Gannon pictured on the far left
There were a number of things that stood out to me from this event. Firstly, the finalists themselves. The quality of their presentations was superb and I was rather blown away at the level of responsibility they had taken on to promote Enterprise on campus. My recollection of being a brand ambassador many moons ago to a long since disbanded online book retailer was of occasional flyering of libraries and computer labs. These guys mean serious business. The Ambassadors very much provide the eyes and ears on campus for talent acquisition, meeting prospective candidates, holding advice sessions, networking events and even running their own assessment centres. And what made them so effective in their role is having already undertaken a placement or internship with Enterprise, so they could talk first hand about the management schemes, responsibilities and opportunities for career progression. I've long been an advocate of peer mentoring, inviting final year students to speak with second years about their experience. Enterprise ambassadors take things to a whole new level, and I was highly impressed at their commitment to the company and success in sourcing new hires.

Of course there is no point having outstanding Campus Brand Managers if there is not a quality brand to promote. For most of my decade of working in placements, I've had to follow the work of Enterprise from a distance, as the students I was working with required roles in line with their course criteria. However, there is much to admire, not least the quality and quantity of accolades picked up in recent years. There is clearly a positive ethos and strong set of values ingrained into company which was evident not just in the ambassadors but also with the members of the talent acquisition team who were present. Many of the recruiters have been working in the company for quite some time, which has allowed them to build sustained relationships with placement and careers teams across their regions. As somebody who has recently starting working with Business students, I am already developing strong links with Enterprise for both Management Trainee and Corporate HQ opportunities which should bear fruit in the next placement cycle.

Interior design at Enterprise HQ - all about Careers
It is not just the people at Enterprise that impresses me, but also their digital profile. The Enterprise Alive website is a textbook example of getting things right. Content is rich, including blog articles, video profiles, details of the recruitment process and most importantly for me, access to the recruitment team. On many careers websites, you are lucky to find a generic email address, let alone a named contact. Enterprise recruiters are among the most accessible in student recruitment, with contact details and social media accounts listed to encourage engagement; something I would like to see as standard across the industry.

Back to Campus Brand Managers, and having seen for myself just how effective they can be for Enterprise, I won't be at all surprised to see more companies adopt similar schemes to promote their brand. Sure, you sometimes get one off events where free cups of coffee are given out adorned with a company logo, but for a truly effective sustained campaign, the model of employing former placement students to provide a regular campus presence, working in tandem with talent acquisition specialists to identify future hires, present a powerful option for employers seeking emerging talent in the crowded market of graduate recruitment.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

The Will to Succeed

If you're a student who has not yet managed to secure a placement, the chances are by now you are starting to feel a little despondent. You may have friends who are starting work next week or perhaps have already had their placements commence, and yet you find yourself still making applications, still hoping for that positive email to come through after an interview. It has been a long slog since the Autumn and you've not yet been rewarded for your efforts.

While there are still placements to apply for, never give up. You've come this far and it would be a shame for all those painstaking hours making applications and preparing for interviews to go to waste. I'm working with many students like you right now and their shared attribute is resilience; the will to succeed and achieve their goal. Between now and September many of them will get the placement offers their dedication deserves.

It doesn't matter when you secure your placement, it is seeing through the task and getting to the finish line line which is most important. It takes guts and determination to keep going when others have already finished The Great Placement Race but keep going and your Placement Officers will be cheering you from the sidelines.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

PlaceNet: Thanks for the memories

Next month I will be standing down from my role as Trustee for PlaceNet. It isn’t as a result of a messy divorce or disagreement with my colleagues, who I have thoroughly enjoyed working with over the course of the last three years. It is more a question of family commitments taking priority and not being able to give the same amount of time that I have volunteered after joining in 2013.

Since I first had contact with PlaceNet, after meeting the Chair at the National Placement and Internship Awards, I’ve had a great time attending conferences, both as a delegate and presenter. I gained experience in handling communications for an organisation, and helped with promoting Master Class events. Most importantly, I have had the pleasure of meeting a large number of extremely diligent placement professionals, who share my passion for helping students with their fledgling careers and promoting the virtues of work-based learning.

When Graham met Matthias

A big thank you to Matthias, Ginny, Mike, Sarah, Alex, Christine, Vanetta and Jan for letting me be part of the gang over the past three years. I wish you all well and am sure the upcoming #PlaceNet16 Conference in Birmingham will be a roaring success. 

Monday, 1 February 2016

Transfer Deadline Day - Time for a New Challenge

It seems somewhat appropriate that on Transfer Deadline Day, I can announce that I am on the move. After ten years at Brunel University London, during which time I've supported students from Computer Science, Mathematics, Digital Media, Biomedical Science, Politics and History I am making a giant leap to take up a new challenge.

Confirmed signing!

Well, when I say giant leap, I am probably moving no more than six feet away, as I'm swapping one desk for another within the Professional Development Centre. From the end of this week, I will be Placement and Internship Adviser for students in Brunel Business School, supporting undergraduates from Business and Management courses to secure yearlong sandwich placements. I can't wait to get started!

If you are an employer looking to recruit students for roles such business, management, human resources, marketing or accounting, please drop me a message on LinkedIn to discuss your requirements and how I can help you access emerging talent from Brunel.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Introducing The Ascent Placement Programme

I'm a big fan of peer mentoring. When it comes to spreading the message about placements, in my experience students are most receptive when hearing it directly from their fellow students, rather than from a guy in a suit. This is a theme that a number of employers have picked up on and involve their current interns when promoting their schemes. Here is a great example of this, with a guest blog from Will, promoting the Ascent Placement Programme. If this sounds good, get applying as the deadline is this weekend!

Hi, I'm Will and I'm currently working as the Advertising & Communications Marketing Intern at Amaya Gaming as part of the Ascent Placement Programme.

I would hope by now that you are aware that the Ascent Placement gives you the opportunity to take a fully paid internship at PokerStars and have either finished or are making the finishing touches to your application. I thought I’d take this opportunity to tell you a little bit more about the market-leading poker brand, what we actually do here and what you could be doing next year. Sound OK?

PokerStars, along with its sister site Full Tilt, are Amaya Inc. brands which collectively form the largest poker business in the world, comprising online poker games and tournaments, live poker competitions, branded live poker rooms and poker programming created for television and online audiences.

If you don’t know much about poker don’t worry, you’ll pick up everything you need to know quickly. Just be sure to do a bit of research into us before you write that cover letter.

You may be thinking, what would I actually be doing? Well, we have six fantastic roles that you can apply for. There are opportunities to work in in Brand, Advertising & Campaign Marketing, Social Media, SEO/Content Marketing, Digital Marketing, TV & Online Programming, and Corporate Communications. For full information about the programme, the roles and the application process, please head over to our dedicated website (designed by us, ‘The Ascenders’) 

‘The Ascent Placement’ brand presentation – selling it into the business
All departments within PokerStars work very closely together so no matter which you find yourself in you’ll all be working together on world-class advertising and marketing campaigns that bring the fun and excitement of poker (and sometimes other verticals) to players around the world. That’s what I find most exciting about working here: introducing people who don’t play poker to such an amazing game. Just to put the scale of the business into perspective, we have a combined total of over 97 million registered players and it’s continuing to rise. I’m hoping we hit 100 million before I go back to uni.

Since I’ve been here I’ve worked on global ad campaigns featuring some of the world’s best footballers, developed a sub-brand of PokerStars, managed social media campaigns and proactively building a business case for some ideas of my own. 

Ad shoot in Madrid
Day-to-day it’s pretty great here I must admit. The office is right next to Piccadilly Circus station and it boasts free fruit, vending machines, table football, a pool table, a chill out room and there’s even a Dalek downstairs (cheers Twitter). There have been tons of social events which all of us here have taken full advantage of. Check out our social pages (links below) for the full run down on these, but highlights include the summer and Christmas parties, poker tourneys and recently a talk by NASA’s chief scientist about the mission to Mars.

The Ascenders class of 2015

I had better go now as I need to prepare for my trip to Dublin in a few weeks for the EuropeanPoker Tour (a huge live poker festival) where I will be gathering as much content as I can get my hands on. Just before I go I’d like to remind you all that the deadline for applications in 23:59 on the 31st January 2016 so get to it! 

Thanks for reading and good luck with your placement search! Why not connect with us on the following platforms

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By the way, if you’re a grad and fancy seeing where in PokerStars you could fit be sure to visit our opportunities page here: