Ian discusses the skills developed at university that helped him achieve his successes in an ever changing digital landscape.
Music & Live Events Management
2009 – 2012
Who do you work for, and what is your role?
I work for the Co-op as a Community Manager in the Social Media team. I manage the communities which our members, colleagues and customers are engaged in. I also help create social media campaigns for Co-op Group as well as our Funeralcare, Food, Electrical, Insurance & Legal businesses.
Our #ReverseAdvent campaign earned 77 million Twitter impressions during December.
What is involved in your day-to-day work?
Part of each day always involves being responsible for all the social media messages received by the Co-op Group, in 2016 we received over 280,000. I work with different parts of the business on how to bring their campaigns and ideas to life on social media, and we’re a popular team as we know the channels and the community, and how and where to reach our members, customers and colleagues. The team is responsible for finding, nurturing and listening to the online communities that are speaking about Co-op products, services and the ways we work.
By asking the right questions, listening to and collating community feedback we inform business decisions.
What have been your main career achievements to date?
The moment I accepted the position at the Co-op, was the first time I felt like it wasn’t just a job, but a career – this was a big achievement for me as I’d worked hard and worked for some not-so-great people to get to where I am now.
How has your qualification from Bucks helped your career?
Whenever I say ‘Music Business and Event Management’, the reaction is always the same: surprised and curious. Despite not going into the music or events industry, my degree covered social media and marketing in various modules and furthered my interest in the subject.
Upon reflection, what skills did your qualification give you that help in your job?
The things that people don’t always think about first, such as working in a team, working to deadlines, planning and organisation – these skills are fundamental.
What advice would you give to a student who is about to graduate into your role/industry?
A degree in one field doesn’t limit you to working in that field, at all. It shows an employer that you’re committed and you can work hard. It’s about your experience, so hustle, get noticed, send a cheeky email, ask questions. You have nothing to lose.
Are there any misconceptions about your role/industry that you would like to address?
A lot of people put ‘social media’ on their CV, but because you can post a photo with some hashtags it doesn’t mean you can ‘do’ social media. It’s a competitive and very fast moving industry. It’s so much more than Facebook likes and trending on Twitter. There is a science and deep thought process behind each post which you perhaps wouldn’t expect.
What advice would you pass on to your first year self?
I wasn’t into drinking a lot and what some might consider a typical student life. I rarely missed a class and I tried my hardest in first year despite ‘only needing 40% to pass’. I would go out at times when I didn’t really want to, and with the benefit of hindsight I wish I hadn’t – nothing good came of it.
What other memories from your time at Bucks would you like to share?
I was lucky enough to be chosen for an exchange programme whilst at Bucks. I spent the Spring Semester in 2011 at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and one that shaped my life in the years following.
Do you work in a role that would not have existed only a few years ago? How did your time at university help prepare you for seizing opportunities in an ever changing digital world?
Please share your story and pass on advice; Bucks Alumni Testimonial Form