We are so pleased that Andrew volunteering to be a Mentee has led to a three month paid placement within his Mentor’s company. Read more from both parties here.
Name: Andrew Thomson
Studying: BA (Hons) Marketing
Year: Going into 2nd, graduating in 2018
Mentee: to Mentor Kelly Allison, founder and Managing Director of KVA Digital, a digital communications agency.
What have you learnt through having a mentor?
The biggest thing I’ve taken away is the realisation of what skills I need to use in an agency setting. I was fortunate enough for Kelly to take me on for the summer as a Digital Account Executive. I’ve been putting together communications plans for both the business and clients, running social media accounts and writing copy for websites and blogs.
What struck me was the amount of thought that needs to go into every decision and every action. In my experience, students can occasionally skimp on some of the detail and hard work that should be going into assignments – I know I’ve been guilty of that in the past. That can’t be stood for at work because you’re producing this work for clients whose business you rely on stay afloat and keep your job. Everyone says that second year is a big step up from the first in workload, the experience I’ve gained from having a mentor and using that contact to my advantage has (hopefully) prepared me really well for continuing my studies.
I’ve also become a much better writer. One of my biggest passions is writing for my personal blog, and I’ve been able to blog for Kelly over the summer. She and her team have showed me how to relate that sort of writing back to business and use it to the company’s benefit. That can only spell good things for the quality of my assignments next year!
Would you recommend other students join the programme?
Absolutely, as long as you make the most of it. One of the most important factors in succeeding in any industry is the ability to network. The mentoring scheme is an amazing opportunity to do that. It’s wonderful to have someone so experienced in my profession to fall back on with any sort of questions about my course, about work or just my own development.
What I’d suggest is having a thorough conversation about what you can get out of the programme with the Careers team. There genuinely are so many different ways you can use it, even if it’s just to get a grip on the coursework. Robert Coldwell was magic in setting me up with a mentor after meeting him at an uni Student Enterprise event.
What career opportunities are you seeking?
At the moment, further experience in an agency setting would be excellent. It’s normally a lot more vibrant and diverse than working in-house in Marketing, because you get to work on several projects at once and in lots of different sectors. Anywhere I can continue writing content and comms plans would be excellent, because I’ve loved every minute doing it so far.
Do you have a message for your Mentor?
Kelly is an absolute star. She juggles running a business, keeping staff happy and raising a family like it’s nothing. Her experience has been an invaluable tool for me, and she’s made me a much better and more rounded marketer in the time she’s had me at KVA. She’s even taken time out to sit down and start to teach me to code, which I’m very grateful for.
I cannot thank her enough for everything she’s gone out of her way to do for me, hopefully I’ve added some value to her in reciprocation.
And Kelly Allison’s response:
It just goes to show how worthwhile Bucks Mentoring is for students to take part in, as they have the potential to work with local employers and gain some great industry insight. We’re very happy to be supporting Andrew in this way.
We have employed Andrew throughout the summer months as Digital Account Executive at KVA Digital. Having mentored Andrew I thought it would be great work experience for him and also an opportunity for me to give something back as an employer.
It’s notoriously hard to get a foot in the door within comms agencies without experience and I wanted to give Andrew a good amount of industry insight so he can make an informed career choice at the end of his studies.
I’ve been continuously impressed with his day-to-day attitude; he tackles projects showing enthusiasm and dives in at the deep end to learn new skills. Andrew has written some brilliant thought-provoking blog posts for us and we have been impressed with his level of content writing ability. Although having a mammoth journey to work each day, he has always been punctual and a valid asset to the team over the last months. I hope to continue to offer employment, advice and guidance to Andrew going forward alongside his studies and have no doubt he has a very successful future ahead.
You can read more about Kelly Allison via Andrew’s personal blog: Interview
Or on the KVA Digital ‘meet the team’ page: Profile
Of course we can’t thank Kelly enough for volunteering her time and expertise to Bucks Mentoring, and we are so happy that the relationship resulted in a job for Andrew between his 1st and 2nd years.