“I am convinced I wouldn’t have been able to get this job, or even have known about the sector, if it wasn’t for my placement year.”

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Jessica Barber, Disney

BA Management with Marketing with Industrial Experience

Undertaking an industry placement can give you invaluable experience to enhance your CV. In some cases, it can also take your career in an entirely new direction – as Jessica Barber discovered.

“I switched from a degree in Business Management to a degree in Management with Marketing in my first year after I realised I was a lot more interested in marketing subjects than numerical-based ones like accounting or economics. I also knew from the outset that I wanted to go on a placement year, as I’d read that job prospects were a lot higher when leaving university with some experience.

I applied for placements with about six companies altogether, and Disney was one of the two I heard back from. After going to their assessment centre, along with 19 other people who were all competing for three jobs, I was ecstatic when I found out I’d been accepted. I have loved Disney from a very young age so it was my dream to be able to work for them.

I was taken on to work with their franchise team, which is the team that helps to implement the franchise strategies for different Disney characters, such as Mickey & Friends, Winnie the Pooh, Disney Fairies and Disney Baby. For instance, our aim for Mickey Mouse was to create content that would appeal to boys aged six and over, and our work on this led to the launch of the Mickey Shorts cartoons, which have been incredibly popular.

It was a challenging role at times as I had a lot of different tasks to juggle, from sending emails across the company, to creating presentations for key partners, to helping out at events. I also had a particularly demanding manager, which made the placement more challenging – but it also developed my resilience and strength, and I learnt a lot about working with different people in a professional environment.

One of the other things I got involved in during my placement was Disney’s recruitment process for new interns. They asked if anyone was interested in helping out with this, and I put myself forward. I helped with everything from reading applications, to ringing applicants, organising and planning the assessment day, observing the students, and asking questions in interviews. I really enjoyed the whole process and it led to me thinking about recruitment as a possible career. I have since accepted a job with a top recruiter, PageGroup – and I am convinced I wouldn’t have been able to get this job, or even have known about the sector, if it wasn’t for my placement year.

The best thing about the year was that I got to work with a multi-national company – and had the opportunity to take my career in an interesting new direction. I also got to go to premiers, pre-screenings and Disneyland, as well as meet some amazing people and have the chance to live in London – so it was a lot of fun as well.”