Creating together

Holly is a final year student in Marketing and Management, who completed a placement year with Disney in 2020/21. If you are interested in completing a placement between Stage 2 and Stage 3, you can find out more in the Business School UG Stage 2 Community 2021-22 on Canvas, or contact the NUBS Student Experience team. 


The whole placement search experience, in all honesty, was a mix of emotions. From rejection, awkward video submissions, an assessment centre day to the happiest high of getting a call saying I’d got the job, showing that it was all worth it! 

Searching and applying to placements 

I knew placement searching was going to be daunting and overwhelming no matter what, as it was my first time applying for a professional role. Before I’d only worked in hospitality and retail roles where the hiring process was very minimal. became my go to when finding roles. Their website is very user friendly and can easily be filtered to find what you’re after. The application process varies a lot from company to company; for some you have to write blogs, for others a video recording, and for some just a CV and Cover Letter.  

My first plan of action was perfecting my CV and creating a good Cover Letter template which I could adjust for each company I was applying to. Throughout this process, I had multiple eyes to check and give feedback, including the University Careers Team, to make sure that it was the best it could be before submitting. I highly underestimated how much time would be needed for each application, so I would strongly recommend starting as early as possible and dedicating a day (or more) each week to focus on it.  

Video interviews/ recordings for applications were hands down the most awkward part, I started losing the ability to pronounce the most basic words. I overcame this by privately vlogging (none of the footage was shown to a single soul!) just to get used to speaking in front of a camera. Believe it or not, it made such a difference, I felt far more relaxed for the real videos. Video interviews/recordings become easier the more you do them – by the end I wasn’t fazed by them at all!  

In total I applied to over 30 different roles and never heard back from some of them. Rejection is tough, especially when so much effort goes into each application and when you start imagining yourself in that role. It’s ok to feel down about it but it’s so important to remember that everyone in this process will be going through rejection at some point, you’ve just got to keep going and applying. It took over 20 rejections from different stages of the process, both at the first round and some after video interviews, before I heard good news from Disney. 

Assessment days  

When it comes to assessment days, I was lucky in the fact I only went to one and thankfully got the job. I was also lucky in that mine was just before Covid struck so I was able to do it in a real office! In all honesty, I was terrified going into the assessment day as I had no idea what to expect and fully anticipated it to be a cut-throat competitive experience. I was very wrong (thankfully). It was a rather enjoyable day so definitely don’t let yourself get too nervous before one. I arrived at the office and was immediately taken up to this meeting room where I met the other 11 applicants, everyone was super friendly, and we spoke amongst ourselves before being introduced to the panel which consisted of two managers and the current interns. The day was split into three main parts: presentations, a group task and interviews. We were given the presentation brief prior to the day so I had time to create and practice it. When it came to the group task, I was paired with two others where we just had a fun time coming up with marketing ideas for one of their upcoming films. We all were relaxed and enjoying ourselves while coming up with some whacky ideas, which went down very well. After lunch were the interviews, which I felt far more relaxed about after spending the whole day with everyone. I had a total of three interviews, all of which were very friendly and non-intimidating, far chattier than I had expected. Altogether, I really enjoyed my assessment day which I think came across to the panel. I think it’s so important to show that you are happy to be there.   


The feedback I received on how I ended up with the role was small talk, making friends with the other applicants and confidence in presenting. You are watched and assessed throughout the whole of the assessment day and not just the tasks you are presented with. During lunch we would sit with the current interns who had a big say in who got the job. During that I would ask the current interns all about how they’ve found it so far and other questions outside the job such as where they went to University etc. My ability to chat to them had an impact on the final decision as at the end of the day they need to see that you’ll be able to fit in, so I’m glad I had the chance to speak to them all.  In terms of confidence, my presentation had some hiccups in the sense that the projector cut out, so I had to adapt and present on a laptop right in-front of the whole panel. Inside I was freaking out, however I tried to come across as calm as possible showing that I could adapt when issues arise. So, even if you feel nervous as long as you come across confident, no one will know.  

During my placement I got to be heavily involved in the recruitment process for my successor. Being on the other side of the process was very eye-opening and the biggest feedback I would give would be to not give heavily pre-planned answers which you clearly don’t mean. It was very obvious when people were saying what they thought we wanted to hear vs when they were themselves. Try your hardest just to be you and not feel the need to give these flashy answers which cover up your personality.  

Final thoughts

Overall, the whole placement searching process can feel very overwhelming and time consuming, however it is 100% worth it. At the end of the day everyone on the other side of the process wants you to succeed, so it’s far less intimidating than we make out in our heads. Try and get as much help as possible throughout the whole journey, there is no such thing as too many eyes to check over your CV and Cover Letter. Additionally, ask for as much feedback as possible from the companies you apply to so that you can fine-tune details to get better each time. 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *