I wanted to learn something interesting as well as practical, which ensured that I could relate my knowledge to innovative advancements in the industry. Choosing materials was a natural progression for me after attending Imperial College’s Material Science and Engineering work experience programme during my A levels.
I also wanted to study a degree which had a diverse range of exit opportunities so that my career options were open. The course does this by offering technical engineering modules, as well as modules such as marketing and accounting. These factors, combined with Loughborough’s world-leading sports facilities, resulted in me choosing to come here.
I received some great guidance on finding a placement from the department, which equipped me with the understanding of the expectations which firms have when recruiting students. The Careers Network was incredibly helpful too; I regularly used their services to revise job-specific resumes and cover letters.
I was on placement at Volkswagen Group UK’s head office in Milton Keynes, working within Operations as a Sales Operations Executive. Here, I was able to further develop the skills I picked up at university, such as data analysis, which I utilised to summarise national sales performance statistics to senior management. The information I was able to extract from datasets directly contributed to critical business decisions made by senior management and reflects the level of responsibility I was trusted with.
I also improved my communication skills by liaising with different departments across the business and working on major projects, which also helped to increase my commercial awareness.
A typical day consisted of regular reporting, conversations with key stakeholders in my reports, meetings to discuss how to efficiently achieve both sales and customer satisfaction objectives, and working on project proposals using key business statistics. I also led and delivered the 2020 retailer car requirement strategy, working closely with the sales support department to successfully dictate the number of cars displayed at every dealership in the UK, while adopting a low emissions approach. Furthermore, I owned and created complex business critical sales performance reports, regularly distributing them to all Volkswagen UK retailers using advanced MS Excel VBA, saving my team two hours daily.
I also analysed key retailer performance statistics, updating area managers on dynamic market situations to discuss potential solutions on how to achieve the company’s volume and customer satisfaction objectives.
During my time on placement, I travelled to the Volkswagen production plant in Wolfsburg, Germany where I was able to speak with the designers of the unreleased Golf 8 about production methods and innovative technologies used in the manufacturing of the vehicle, which I had previously learnt about during my course.
I would highly recommend going for a placement year! Although you do have modules at university that require group work, a placement really helps you to further develop key teamwork, interpersonal and communication skills in a professional environment, which contribute to making you a well-rounded individual.