Why I chose BA Economics and Politics at Leeds
I have always been interested in current affairs and the way in which our society functions. Having studied Maths, History, Politics and Business at A-Level, this reflected my interest in social studies. I looked at a number of courses in Politics, Economics and Philosophy, and decided on Economics and Politics at Leeds. The two subjects really compliment each other and bring perspective to my studies.
I decided to study at Leeds because of the course as well as the city. Leeds ranks highly for the course and both the School of Politics and International Studies (POLIS) and the Business School offered great support. The city of Leeds really attracted me; it's a brilliant city with a huge student population. I've met some great friends and also explored a new city in a new part of the country, which is what University is all about!
My year in industry
I undertook a 12-month work placement with Microsoft. Deciding to try for a work placement was the best decision I have made whilst at University. The opportunity to work within a global corporation, learning how the business functions and how Microsoft interacts with its largest enterprise customers was amazing. I worked within the Enterprise and Partner Group, selling the value of Office 365 to enterprise customers. This allowed me the opportunity to present to boards at some of the UK's largest businesses, improving my public speaking and presentation skills.
As part of my placement, I was given a "Personal Development Award", alongside another two interns. We were all sent to Brussels for three days to spend some time in another Microsoft office, understanding how the company operates in another market. This was also an opportunity to expand our networks and was something which I really enjoyed.
At the end of the year, I was awarded the "Business Impact Award", for the intern who had had the overall largest impact on the business. I was also lucky enough to receive the "Intern of the Year" prize. Considering there are 120 interns a year at Microsoft, I was extremely proud and honored to have received such an award.
A work placement also fundamentally helps you to develop your working skills: time management, organisation and relationship management. Having returned to University for my final year, I have a greater awareness of what is to come after I graduate and how I can prepare for that. I also have the experience of working 9 to 6 five days a week and the work ethic that comes with this. Having done a work placement, I believe that I will be able to really make the most out of my final year at taking advantage of the opportunity to manage my own time before I enter the workplace again (hopefully)!
Support from the university
I was in email contact with University throughout the year, receiving updates on what was happening in Leeds but also speaking with my placement tutor, who wanted to know that I was happy at work. Luckily I was having a great time but it was nice to know that the University was there to support me if necessary.