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My Placement Year at the Business School as the External Relations Intern

Hello! My name is Jordan Slack and I am currently closing in on the end date of what has been an incredibly interesting year working as the External Relations Intern at Newcastle University Business School. Keep reading to find out how I have developed and boosted my employability throughout my 11-month stint in the team.

What is External Relations?

External Relations is not a particularly specific term, both the team and I are part of and responsible for a lot of the activities and goings on within the Business School. I have had some fantastic exposure to various companies and individuals aiding me to both practice networking and allow me to grow my own.

One of the major parts of my role involves aiding with and providing students opportunities to make the most of our Global Experience Opportunity (GEO) Programme exclusive to the Business School, this falls under the bracket of delivering on the School’s employability programme. We currently have around 35 students from both here and NUL undertaking a global internship with high profile organisations such as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the National Institute of Securities Markets (NISM).

More recently, I have been involved with arranging and designing a project for Regional Internships with a Business Director of a global organisation based here in the North East. Students from Groningen University and Newcastle University Business School are currently working together as two teams across a 10-week period to devise and implement a holistic digital marketing plan for Thomas Swan, an organisation whose turnover last year reached over £33m.

As mentioned above, our Global Experience Opportunity (GEO) programme has made up the bulk of my work and part of this was monitoring the GEO mailbox. Therefore, if you emailed the GEO mailbox this year and were not happy with the reply, it is most likely me that will have responded and I hope you do not hold it against me.

The case studies we ran also fell under the bracket of our GEO programme and with the likes of Virgin Money and RAMarketing involved, they have gathered a lot of student attention – as you would expect, our student teams claimed first and second position in the aforementioned Case Studies. The Virgin Money Case Study was part of an annual challenge that this year was based in Newcastle (each year the chosen university picks a company to collaborate with) as part of the ACN programme we are involved in, a network host to World-class universities from China, Japan, Netherlands, South Africa, America and Australia.

The most enjoyable days I have had here have also been some of the most stressful, being able to succeed with a task or objective under pressure is always very rewarding – similar to achieving a 2:1 in an essay you forgot was due until the night before. For example, whilst being given the opportunity to provide the opening speech to introduce our keynote speaker, Sameena Bashey, for our Gain a Global Advantage (GaGA) event, I developed hives in the lift on the way up to the Partners’ Room and forgot my speech. However, I went on to successfully(ish) introduce our Keynote speaker and get a half decent LinkedIn profile picture whilst I was at it! Granted it is not my best.

Highlights of my Placement

Working in this professional environment has been a fantastic opportunity, helping me develop skills and boost my employability along the way. Being exposed to and partaking in International Advisory Boards has provided a real insight into corporate working life and strategy and has proven to be transferable and beneficial in meetings I have organised with stakeholders and potential partners of the university.

The transfer from student to staff was seamless and (despite what you might think) the staff here have made my placement a thoroughly enjoyable and beneficial experience! This is something I know will set me in good stead for the job-hunt we will all inevitably embark upon come final year.

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