After graduating Bournemouth University a year ago, Ana Blloshmi is now International Client Executive at the consumer insight agency Europanel. In this interview, Ana shares her experiences of marketing and advice for anyone looking to break into the industry.
How did your career begin, tell us about your education and the first job you ever landed?
I knew I wanted to pursue a career in media and so I chose a degree in advertising and marketing. As an industry, it is so vast and dynamic, presenting numerous opportunities. I carried out a year long placement at a consumer insight agency as part of my degree which I returned to as a graduate upon completing graduating a year ago.
What made you want to work in marketing?
For me it's very much the power of marketing which drew me to this industry. From a young age I was very aware of marketing messages and the way they affected every aspect of our lives. Despite my awareness I am a marketers dream – I fall for every advert and promotion I see. All it takes is an an actor in a lab coat to tell me that the latest potion will miraculously give me the glowing complexion I need to be happy and I find myself spending half my wages on cosmetics which, surprise surprise, make absolutely no difference.
It was this curiosity into my own behaviour which led me to study Media Production and Communication at college. This gave me a glimpse into how these marketing messages were created, the process by which they come to market and how they are designed to influence and reflect society – something I found absolutely fascinating and I wanted to be a part of.
How did you clinch your first job in marketing?
My first real job within the marketing industry was during my placement as part of my degree – I worked for a consumer insight agency. It was completely by chance and certainly not somewhere I aspired to work. As most of you who have studied advertising or marketing at university will know, research is not the most glamorous or desirable industry. However as a desperate student I applied to every placement advert that came my way (over 60 in total!). But when I attended the assessment day I learned a bit more about the role and the company, and I really liked it. Not only was the position a client facing role working with big international FMCG [Fast Moving Consumer Good] brands, but the company appeared to provide its placement employees responsibility and freedom to develop and learn – something which I felt was really important.
What’s been your most memorable moment or piece of work so far?
My most memorable piece of work is one which went very wrong. Upon delivery of a presentation to a client on a brief which I had misunderstood, said client was not shy to tell me precisely how "uninspiring" my presentation was. There's nothing like negative feedback to make you more determined to deliver.
What’s your role and how might your typical day pan out?
As an international client executive my day begins with a long and claustrophobic journey on the underground to work where I spend most of my day replying to emails, attending meetings, taking on new briefs, running data and putting together new presentations.
How would you suggest a student or grad goes about landing a placement/work experience?
Put the time in to search for and apply to different roles. There is a lot to be gained from being well prepared ahead of interviews and know as much as possible about the company (i.e. being familiar with their work and industry). Although from my experience I've found it's more beneficial to know yourself. Understand what your skills are and play to them. If like me you're crap on paper but much more confident face to face – find a way to get in front of potential employers whether this is through career fairs, FutureRising events or anything else.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find people's stories and thoughts particularly interesting. I read a lot of blogs on a variety of topics as a great way to explore new territories and understand others' perspectives. But ultimately nothing compares to getting out there and experiencing things yourself.
If you could share a desk with anyone, who would it be?
I would hate to share my desk – I make such a mess with notes and papers scattered everywhere that sharing a desk would drive me mad. I would, however, make an exception for WPP Strategic Planner Jon Steel who's career I have followed for many years.
In your spare time, what do you get up to?
As most of my friends work in the city there are a lot of after work drinks, dinners and shows during the week. I seem to spend a lot of my weekends catching up on much needed sleep and life admin, venturing out only on those rare sunny days in London.
What wisdom would you pass onto others looking to break into marketing?
Don't turn your nose up at anything. Apply to everything and say yes to every opportunity which comes your way, because even if it's not exactly what you want to do you may discover something which you love, a new opportunity, or at the very least you are bound to learn something new.
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