carnegieXchange: School of Sport

Preparing Graduates for Working Life

Rachel Brown - Senior Digital Account Manager at Banana Kick, Carnegie School of Sport Alumni

Back to where it all began

Last week, myself and Oli, two Leeds Beckett University alumni along with Rob, were invited to Headingley Cricket Stadium to share our insight and give advice to students looking to land themselves a job after graduation.

Armed with questions, the students were given an hour to chat to us about everything from what skills and attributes companies look for in graduate applicants to our day to day roles and responsibilities while at work.


Set yourself apart

One of the big questions was around ways to set you apart from other graduates and Rob, our business development and sponsorship manager, was on hand to share some words of advice:

"At Banana Kick, we get a lot of speculative CVs asking for jobs and it might sound fickle, but a lot of those get disregarded simply due to grammatical and spelling errors. If you’re applying to work in a marketing agency, attention to detail is a key skill we look for therefore taking pride in your CV is the first step to demonstrating that skill."

Add value with work experience

As an agency that offers internship programmes and work experience opportunities, we shared our enthusiasm for gaining as much experience as possible.

We discussed the ideal length of placement and came to the conclusion that all work experience is benefical. If lengthy placements seem unrealistic, just 1 or 2 days a week will give unique insight into life as an agency employee and build relationships with industry professionals, providing invaluable contacts. Which leads me to the next big question from the audience…

Is it what you know or who you know?

Oli Mitchell, senior account executive, was able to give great insight on what it takes to get a foot in the door with his own story of how he secured his first job two years ago as a Leeds Beckett Uni graduate:

"I’d sent tonnes of CVs out with not much response and didn’t have any contacts to call on. However, I believed that I had what it took and decided that I’d choose the one agency that I was passionate about working for and put myself out there to meet them. I turned up at the BK offices suited and booted with my CV in hand and requested to speak to a director. Luckily, they agreed to see me. We chatted and I made a unique impression so was offered the job."

Build your contacts

On this occasion, it was all about what Oli knew, he just needed to get in front of the right person and demonstrate it!

Having carried out my own placement at Banana Kick while studying sports marketing at LBU, I argued that the contacts I’d made from that work experience opened the door when I needed a job later on. I was looking to move back to Leeds from Melbourne and had always kept Banana Kick in mind throughout my working life because of their specialism in sport, leisure and retail. After 8 years, Rich, was now general manager and remembered me. He invited me in to meet the digital team and the rest is history!

To travel or not to travel

The age-old question of travel. Should you do it straight away, should you wait? Will travel impact the success you have in a career?

I went straight into work from university, as I didn’t have the money to travel immediately, and in the end I benefited. By the time I left the UK at 25 I had four years work experience under my belt, which opened doors when I arrived in Melbourne, where I worked as a social media manager. There are certain qualities and skills gained while travelling and often employees will hold those in high regard. A confident individual with personable skills makes a great account handler!

It was a pleasure to be invited along and we hope that the students there walked away positive about what’s in store for them following their graduation in 2019. Here are our key recommendations for anyone looking for work experience;

  • Do your homework – have an opinion on what campaigns are out there, what do/don’t you like.
  • Know who you’re meeting – use social media and the website to learn about the team and who you’re speaking to.
  • Be yourself – your personality is key and is what will make clients and colleagues want to work with you

Apply to join the Banana Kick internship programme

If you’re a second year student and looking to enhance your CV with some valuable work experience, we are on the look out for candidates for our 2019 internship programme.

To apply, please send your CV to before 5pm on 23rd November 2018. Selected candidates who are successful in making the shortlist for the Assessment Day will be informed by 30th November 2018 with full details about the day.

This blog was originally posted here -