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Student Profile

Lucy Bowden

Lucy Bowden, BSc Retailing, Marketing and Management

What first inspired you to come to Loughborough University?

Before coming to Loughborough, I knew that I wanted to work within the retail sector at head office level. I started to research business related degrees and came across Loughborough’s retailing, Marketing and Management Course. At the open days and visit days I absolutely loved the campus, the inclusive nature of the School and how engaging the staff were. When deciding on a University, student satisfaction was top of my priorities list and Loughborough ticked this box too!

What has been your favourite memory from your time at Loughborough so far?

I have absolutely loved my time at Loughborough, I’m so sad that it’s nearly over! The all-round student experience stands out to me as a highlight. It honestly feels as if Loughborough have thought of everything from first years through to final years need whilst at a University. Loughborough feels like home to me and that is my favourite thing about it.

What did you do for your placement?

For my placement I worked at Waitrose Head Office within their Food buying team. I had the most amazing experience and was given responsibility far above my expectations. I loved the fast-paced nature of the retail market and the constant changes in consumer trends and needs. Working at Waitrose had so many perks too! 99% of my meetings involved tasting food and I got to go to some amazing food festivals and events.

What was the highlight of your time at Waitrose?

My working highlight would be when I was given a category to manage myself for the last 6 months of my placement. I singlehandedly launched new brands and products into Waitrose, tracking their sales and profits post launch. Walking into a Waitrose branch and seeing products I had chosen on the shelves felt so rewarding.

A personal highlight, was having afternoon tea with Mary Berry whilst discussing new product ideas!

Did you get support from the University throughout the application process to Waitrose and your time there?

The application process for placements can be lengthy and challenging, but I felt a lot of support from the school’s placements team who helped me restructure my CV, edited cover letters and advised on Interview techniques. Before I went to my assessment centre, I went to a mock assessment centre run by the careers network. This was so helpful as it took some of the pressure off while at the real event.

What are your next steps?

I’ve been offered a place on the Tesco Graduate Buying Scheme starting in September. Within the scheme I’ll be working within the Food Buying team, rotating around different buying areas. I’m excited to be starting my buying career in such a great organisation and I feel like my course and placement year have put me in a great position to make the most of this brilliant opportunity.

Would you recommend doing a placement?

I would 100% recommend doing a placement. I’ve been applying for Graduate roles over the past 5 months and  my placement has given me so much to talk about throughout the application process. Employers have been really impressed with how much responsibility I took on over the year and it has helped me secure my graduate role at Tesco. I also feel I have matured a lot throughout the year, you are pushed outside your comfort zone and are able to experience so many new things.

Did your degree help you throughout your placement? If so, how?

My degree certainly helped throughout my placement, it gave me a great understanding of areas that I worked in. For example, in during the weekly business progress meetings, I was able to fully understand the rational behind the decisions the senior leaders were making. When starting my placement there was so much to learn, however what I had learnt in the first two years at Loughborough gave me a head start!