School of Business and Economics


Test-drive a career and stand out to employers

Professional placements

All of our Business courses and  Economics courses have the opportunity to include a professional placement as an integral part of the degree.

Spending up to a year on professional placement enables you to test drive a career, make the most of your final year and stand out to employers.

We work with over 400 companies worldwide, from multinationals to start-ups and social enterprises. You have options too:

  • One year on placement (up to three placements)
  • Six months on placement and six months studying abroad

It’s even possible to do a self-employed placement as part of our ‘Year in Enterprise’ scheme where you start up your own company.

Professional placement experiences that set you apart

All of our undergraduate students have the opportunity to spend a year on a salaried professional placement as part of their degree.

Maddy's placement at Unilever

Maddy describes her incredible achievements on Unilever, how it helped her secure a graduate job with them.

Lucas' placement at Styliff

Lucas describes his incredible experiences and achievements on placement with start-up Styliff.

We were one of the first business schools to include a year-long placement as an integral part of its undergraduate degree courses and they continue to be an integral feature of most of our courses.

We now have one of the best records for placing students in top businesses throughout Britain, regularly placing students in top companies such as 3M, IBM, Lloyds Bank, Microsoft, PwC, Morgan Stanley, Unilever, Waitrose, Rolls-Royce and Walt Disney, to name a few. Most placements are in the UK but it is possible to spend the placement year abroad. Students with appropriate language skills are particularly encouraged to seek placements in other countries.

Our reputation for producing excellent graduates ensures that many companies specifically target us for placement students, and we now have contacts with over 400 employers in over 20 countries. A significant proportion of our students are offered a permanent job with their placement employer after graduation, and some companies sponsor students in their final year of study following a successful placement.

Every year we see the increasing benefits of the placement year, and every year the returning placement students enthuse about the value of their year out. A year-long placement gives you the opportunity to put theory into practice. It gives you the chance to develop valuable work-related skills such as teamwork, leadership and communication, and to take on managerial responsibilities. It will increase your self-confidence and give you a more mature outlook.

Improved job prospects. According to recent research*, almost half of the Top 100 graduate employers would not even consider offering a position on one of their graduate programmes to a graduate without work experience – regardless of their academic achievements and qualifications. Your placement year gives you a cutting edge in an increasingly competitive job market.

  • Test-drive a career. You will develop your understanding of business and be able focus more clearly on fine-tuning your final year module choices to suit your career aspirations.
  • Professional responsibility. A year on placement gives you the opportunity to put theory into practice, develop key skills such as leadership, communication and teamwork, and even take on managerial responsibilities
  • Personal development. Every year our finalists return more confident, mature in outlook and focussed on their career objectives.
  • Potential job offer. Typically around 1/3rd of placement students are offered a job by their placement employer.

Employers see placements as an opportunity to trial good candidates to recruit for graduate jobs and many of our students are offered a graduate job with their placement employer. In fact, recent research* also shows that 32% of entry level positions with the Top 100 graduate employers were filled by graduates who had worked with the organisation already.

Our placement students are paid a salary by their employing organisation during their placement year. Satisfactory completion of the placement results in a Diploma in Professional Studies in addition to your degree on graduation.

*Source: High Fliers Research, ‘The Graduate Market in 2016’, January 2016

My placement experience has helped me to confirm my decision to focus on Human Resource Management, enabling me to select my final year modules with greater confidence that I was making the right choices. The experience has also helped me to approach my final year of study at university in a more mature manner.

Sarah Bodien (Management Sciences graduate)

Although it will be your responsibility to find your own placement, we offer exceptional help and support. We have a Placements Office with a team of placement administrators who are regularly in contact with more than 400 organisations around the globe. Not only will the Placements Office support you throughout the process by alerting you to vacancies through our dedicated Facebook and Twitter pages, but they will also help you prepare for interviews and for the placement itself.

The Placements Office also supports you through the process in the second year by organising:

  •  Employer presentations
  •  Seminars to help you prepare for interviews and the placement itself
  •  Skills sessions
  •  A bespoke resource hub and vacancy database
  •  Dedicated Facebook and Twitter feeds
  •  Drop in sessions

If you’re a student interested in hearing more about our professional placements, or if you’re a company interested in discussing the benefits of placing a student with skills in business and management, please contact us on:

T: +44 (0)1509 223141

Click on the links below to hear from some of our students on their experiences whilst on placements.

For more stories and videos on placement experiences from students and graduates, please visit our student profiles page.

If you are a company and are interested in recruiting our students for professional placements, please visit the information for companies page.