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Case Study: Amrit Thind

Personal details
Degree:International Relations Profile picture
School(s): School of International Relations
Year of Graduation:Jun-2012
LinkedIn:http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=155051491&goback=%2Enmp_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1&trk=spm_pic
National of: United Kingdom
Employment details
Organisation: People Brands
Job title: Executive Assistant
Occupational Sector: Marketing
What has been your route to getting your current position?
Before gaining a job at People Brands, I spent a good part of my final year at the University of St Andrews applying to top advertising agencies. I loved my studies and a lot of the extra curricular activities I picked up, but felt that I belonged in a creative industry. I realised that I wished a career in advertising after securing some advertising internships. However, after numerous failed applications I became frustrated with the time I was investing in completing application forms - so I decided to create something that really stood out and would be useful in applying to all sorts of jobs, not only advertising jobs specifically.

Together with the support of my friends, we made a 12 minute long Ted Talk style video discussing the disconnect between student application processes and employers looking for new graduates. Once the video was complete I uploaded it to YouTube and sent it to potential employers and contacts. This led to interviews and finally, that's how I landed at People Brands. 
What does your job involve ?
People Brands is a small management consultancy. The size of the organisation has the advantage that my responsibilities span the entire company. I work closely with my CEO, senior facilitators and clients. 

When I started with People Brands I was put in charge of a number of research projects and the generation of new marketing concepts. However, as I gained experience and understanding of the company my responsibilities increased rapidly. Now I am in charge of our Social Media Marketing; I contribute to the creation of new services and consultancy workshops that are being put together by myself and our associates; and I get to travel to client destinations outside of the UK, quite frequently representing People Brands in a client-faced environment where I support or execute a service we offer.
What are the best bits of your job ?
I personally have come to love the travelling aspects of my job - who wouldn't? I find client-faced work the most exhilarating and know that I am at my best when faced with real human beings, not a laptop screen. However, I have also learned a huge amount about marketing, the running of a small business and the creation of new services and projects, and it is the continuous learning that I cherish most about my job.
Why were you successful?
There are numerous possible reasons why I was successful in finding this job: 

Firstly, despite my frustrations, ploughing through job applications for advertising agencies certainly helped - though it is a disheartening process, I have now come to realize that it is an experience everyone must go through in order to gain insights not only into what employees are looking for (applications and interviews), but more importantly where your strengths and weaknesses lie. The application process in itself will help you figure out where you want to go in your life.

Secondly, my YouTube video helped. Looking back at it now I would say that the content - the argument I put forward - is not as sound as I used to believe. However, the creation of the video in itself shows initiative (and some other skills), and ultimately these are things that employers value.

Finally, having work experience, extra curricular activities and a well rounded personality are key, as is the ability to network. That being said, there was also a stroke of luck involved in my landing a job.
What skills/ knowledge from your degree have you found particularly helpful in this role?
I have found all aspects of my degree helpful in this role. International Relations is a degree that will be helpful for life. The academic abilities - researching, writing, putting together a cohesive argument - are only the tip of the iceberg. IR will hopefully equip you with a deeper understanding of the world and how things work. I would also say that I have found everything I learned and did outside of my studies at university equally useful.
What advice would you give to students wishing to follow the same path?
If you are unsure what to do after university take the leap and try to find a job - any job. Even if it is not the right thing for you it will give you deeper insight in terms of what you want to do in life. Consultancy is great if you plan on going deeper into the business world and preparing for your own start-up one day. Both small and large companies have their advantages and disadvantages - do not put yourself under pressure to gain entry into a large corporation straight out of university though. You may get an initial higher pay and prestige that comes with the name, but the experience and responsibility one can gain at a smaller company is invaluable.