|Graduate Business Executive|
|Digital and IT services|
|Small business (0-49 employees)|
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A day in the life of a Graduate Business Executive in the United Kingdom
Because I work for a startup that is in a relatively early phase, one hour I'll be doing marketing stuff, the next hour I'll be sitting in meetings with relevant stakeholders (merchants, BID's etc), the next hour I'll be doing research.
Briefly describe the organisation you work for
ProxiSmart is a tech startup in Newcastle. The flagship solution is ParkingPerx. You might have heard/seen this if you are a Dragons Den fan. ParkingPerx is a loyalty solution that rewards you with free parking when you spend on your local high street. The app simplifies the parking experience and aims to help regenerate Britain's high streets by encouraging greater footfall and spending in town centres and high streets.
What do you do?
The simplest answer to this is whatever needs doing. Because I work for a startup that is in a relatively early phase, one hour I'll be doing marketing stuff, the next hour I'll be sitting in meetings with relevant stakeholders (merchants, BID's etc), the next hour I'll be doing research. It is really varied and really good exposure to different areas of the business.
Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?
A bit of background, I did a history degree as an undergrad at York before my Masters. I found that there was limited career paths were history and getting into Grad schemes was difficult even with a good cv, 2:1 etc. I really enjoyed business and marketing and ended up doing a masters at York. After I graduated, it was again difficult to find something that I knew that I would like and also that I knew I would learn lots from. I took a few months to do several online courses to build up my CV whilst applying for jobs, then stumbled on ProxiSmart and immediately liked it and applied and was fortunate enough to get it. N.B you're going to get rejected from jobs and its going to be difficult to get one so its really important to do that online course or whatever to enhance your cv. LinkedIn Learning/ HubSpot Academy are both really good.
Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?
Yes it is different to what I thought I'd do after my history degree but less so after my masters in Global Marketing.
Describe your most memorable day at work
Simply put, you don't forget your first day. I remember my first day at ProxiSmart. The office was amazing and really high tech. I spent a few hours learning about the business then went for a long 3hr lunch with the other two graduates that were hired, the founder and his two colleagues, and the recruitment team he used. It was relaxing, enjoyable and really welcoming. I knew at that point I'd joined a company that looked after their employees.
Are there any challenges associated with your job?
There are constant challenges when working for a startup. Sometimes i'll have tasks to do which I don't know how to do or don't have a lot of experience in doing. You have to be able to think quickly and work independently. On a bigger scale a lot of start ups don't succeed so making it work is a big challenge in itself.
What’s your work environment and culture like?
Normally I work in an office(pre Covid). My colleagues are amazing. It's a tight knit group. There's six of us so you get to know each other well. That is what I like most compared to getting a big grad scheme job at a huge company. It is easier to learn from a small group of people and you work with the founder on different things which you don't get the chance to do at a bigger company.
What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?
I played Cricket throughout my four years at Uni. I captained teams in my 2nd and 3rd year as well as being on the committee. The main part of your extracurricular activities is to enjoy them, I don't really buy into the transferrable skills you get from them too much. Fundamentally you work with people in sports, you learn how to work as a team or lead a team which is useful for your employability. Being on a committee is a must in my opinion. You'll work on delivering different projects or raising funding, negotiating with businesses for sponsorships etc. You will learn a lot from doing this and its handy for your cv
What would you like to do next with your career?
Run my own business.
What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?
Don't stop learning! It's easy to think I've done my degree, I've worked hard I should be able to get on a grad scheme and get a job. The reality is, it is a lot harder than that. Especially during Covid with their being less jobs going around you need to be proactive. Do some online courses, learn some new skills. This will develop your skill set and show employers that you are keen to work. My second tip would be to widen your scope, think about opportunities you might have not thought of. E.g not a lot of uni grads think about working for start ups. N.b there will be quite a few starting as we try come out of the recession and it is a really good fast learning curve. Maybe even start your own if you think you've got the skills and a good idea.
What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?
Anything to do with finding employment after a history or marketing degree. Questions on working for start ups or starting your own business.
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