For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated by adverts. Much to my parents’ despair when I was a child, the ads before a film were always my favourite part of a cinema experience and as a teen I would refuse to let anyone fast forward through ad breaks on TV! This passion for commercials combined with my love of people and interest in digital media and led me to apply for marketing courses at uni when it came to deciding what to do after my A Levels. So, when I stumbled across the Advertising and Marketing course at Lancaster, seemingly the only of its kind, I was thrilled. I had always planned to go into Advertising after university, but the combined course meant I could specialise in my core interest, placing me ahead when it came to job hunting.
Over the last three years at Lancaster I have learnt more than I ever thought I could, like how to write, film and edit radio and TV adverts, using real-life industry software such as ComScore and SPSS and meeting people from agencies and businesses from across the world. The course has allowed me to focus on my core passion of Advertising as well as other interests in the field; such as Consumer Behaviour, Digital Marketing and Brand Strategy. Being taught by a mix of academics and industry leaders has meant my education has been broad, approaching business functions from all angles. This is something I really noticed when I spent 6 weeks in New York working as a Global Marketing Intern in the summer of my 2nd year; the course content seamlessly translated to actual working practices and let me integrate myself into the organisation I was working for easily, despite the big role.
Lancaster also offers lots of opportunities to students to work part-time alongside their studies. For the last two years I have been the marketing assistant for the Student Unions Housing company getting to put into practice all the skills I have learnt about digital marketing and creating online communities as I launched their new ‘LivingVIP Scheme’ which offers rewards to all tenants like free meals, gym-classes and trips to Manchester and Chester.
The main draw of the Advertising and Marketing course at Lancaster is the final year ‘Dissertation Project’. Instead of writing a dissertation, students are tasked with a brief from a real company, given a budget and a time frame and are expected to carry out market research, write a research proposal and then present a new business idea/model/strategy to the company to meet the aims of the brief. For me this included working with a huge London Ad Agency, traveling across the country to conduct research and getting to work with industry experts, all of which was a brilliant learning opportunity.
Aside from the unique teaching and course material I have also had the chance to learn from the wide range of societies and extra-curricular experiences that Lancaster has to offer. There are over 200 societies, ranging from sports, cooking and crafts to dance, wine-tasting and even a ‘tea and cake society’. The ones that have stuck out for me though, have been the academic ones, especially within the Management School. Almost every subject in LUMS has its own student-led society like Consultancy, Finance and Project Management. My particular favourite has been the Marketing society, which I have been on the ‘Exec Board’ of for 2 years, starting as Social Media Officer and later becoming President. The Marketing Society has been invaluable to my uni experience, teaching me about management, leadership and organisation while also introducing me to some of my closest friends. Over the years, we have had guests from Unilever, Twitter, Warner Brothers, Chester Zoo and so many other interesting places. The speakers have not only taught me a lot but become great contacts of mine since visiting.
Graduating from Lancaster is bittersweet for me as I have loved uni and don’t feel quite ready to leave. However, with the amazing support of the dedicated careers team in the Marketing Department I have been able to secure 3 ‘Summer Placements’ at Ad Agencies in London, all of which have mentioned how much of a head-start I will have thanks to 3 years of specialising in Advertising and getting hands on experience.