My name is Libby Deakin and I am currently studying an undergraduate Marketing course at Oxford Brookes University.
“I had now discovered the subject of marketing, where I can conceptualise and create events (as well as products and services) that make people happy, which was much more ... me”
Why did you choose to study a marketing degree? Was there anything particular that stood out to you when researching for the right course?
When I first began researching different degree courses I was originally interested in Hospitality Management. The thought of brightening people's days was exactly what I'd always wanted to do. When I arrived at the Oxford Brookes University Open Day and looked through the subject handbook I found out that marketing wasn't just about advertising after all. Marketing encompasses all stages of a product/event/company's lifecycle, from conception to customer retention and beyond. After attending the marketing subject area talk on the Open Day, I knew with 100% certainty that marketing was what I wanted to do.
I had now discovered the subject of marketing, where I can conceptualise and create events (as well as products and services) that make people happy, which was much more...me.
Keeping my options open throughout the research process made all the difference to me, had I confined myself to one subject area from the get go I would never have found my passion.
What attracted you to study at Oxford Brookes University?
When visiting universities I was not solely looking at which institution offered 'the best course'. In reality you will need to learn the same theories and concepts wherever you study marketing. The factors important to me when choosing between Oxford Brookes University and other universities were:
- Facilities - Oxford Brookes University is a modern campus with modern facilities. It feels like it is actually made for students in the 21st Century. The Business School has three floors with large study areas, with a nice mix of social, study and silent areas, with everything from long tables for group work to secluded booths for private study. The facilities are also equipped with strong wi-fi, a cafe with plenty of coffee, and many charging points.
- Student experience - Oxford Brookes University has a good study/life balance with plenty of societies and events to get involved in. For the marketing courses, the balance of classes to independent study is really good, with there being an average of three days a week on campus for my course. However irrelevant it may seem to some people, the location was important to me too. The city of Oxford is made for students, with plenty of cafes to study in, bars and clubs to party in, and the university being only 5-10 mins from the city centre on a free bus.
- How the course is taught - Though the content may be similar at various universities, how the content is delivered is not. I am the first person to admit that academic writing is not my strength, I excel more in practical, hands-on learning and assignments and the marketing subject area at Oxford Brookes University provides that.
I have had the opportunity to take part in online marketing simulations where the class is divided into teams to represent different companies and analysing real-world data through live client briefs and then presenting our ideas to companies who might use them in a live campaign. Assessed presentations in front of the class may not be for everyone, but for me it gave me the chance to shine as I am much better at speaking than writing and the pitches allow you to utilise your personality to hook the audience in, and not rely just on words on a piece of paper. On the flip side, if presentations scare you, you will likely have to use them in a real marketing job, so what better way to practise than with other people in the same boat, in a safe environment with help from teachers?
What has been your favourite module to study on the course and why?
A few modules come to mind when asked this question, and all for different reasons.
‘Creativity for Marketing’ gave me the opportunity to actually create an advert for the first time, playing around with what is possible, what is realistic and how far you can push 'the norm'.
‘PR and Branded Content in the Social Media Age’ allowed me to learn about the complex world of public relations and why it is becoming increasingly important with the evolution of social media and user generated content (e.g. reviews and viral opinions). But the one module that comes out on top for me has to be ‘Campaign Management and Development’. This module had five guest speakers throughout the semester, all of which being industry professionals with different specialities. The assignments included five presentations with different teams every week and one written assignment. Each presentation corresponded with the speciality from the previous guest speaker. At the end of this module everybody involved not only had more in depth knowledge of marketing in the real world, but also strong confidence in presentation skills and teamwork. The teaching on this module was fantastic with incredibly supportive lecturers that helped make this module as enjoyable as possible.
What skills have you developed while studying on the course? Please talk about specific knowledge and skills related to the subject and any other skills such as communication, networking, teamwork etc.
- Teamwork - Working as part of a team is unavoidable in marketing and though it may be difficult sometimes, it is an incredibly important skill to have and many of my modules have helped me develop this.
- Confidence - Not only have presentations helped my confidence in public speaking, but seminars have helped boost confidence in my ideas and skills, through developing them in a non-judgemental environment.
- Time management - This is an obvious skill that is needed when studying a degree, but time management is important for the workplace too.
- Creativity - Getting real-time feedback on designs and ideas has helped me think out of the box and boost creativity.
- Digital proficiencies - From Excel to Canva and Powerpoint, a focus on digital marketing has taught me how to use these programmes and carry them into my future career.
- Networking - Oxford Brookes Business School emphasises the importance of networking in the business world. With the growth of social media, this is becoming not only easier, but also more important to master. Multiple modules have taught me how to create, use and refine my LinkedIn profile which has come in handy when applying for jobs.
How have you found the experience studying on the course and the balance between any live project work and study?
My experience studying a marketing course has been positive. As previously discussed, the balance of practical vs theoretical teaching on my course has been perfect for me. I have never been particularly numerical or analytical so the focus on creativity, ideas and pitches has suited me perfectly. Additionally, where academic writing and analysis is necessary, the lecturers are incredibly helpful and supportive, helping me to refine these skills.
Describe your experience working alongside fellow students. What have you learnt from them?
Teamwork has its ups and downs. Having the opportunity to practise working with random teams multiple times, you learn what to do and what not to do. You learn what generally works and doesn't and you learn how to handle conflict. Working with other people has taught me that no two people are the same. Everybody tends to fall into a different role within a group, whether that is leadership, numerically focused or creative, you need a balance in every team. It also taught me to recognise when to stand up for yourself and when to compromise, as well as how your personal time management affects others. Teamwork is possibly the most important soft skill I have learnt at university, and knowing this will be key in the professional world of marketing.
What has the standard of teaching been like on the course? Are there any memorable lectures or seminars you attended?
The teaching on the course has been really good. Every student is different and will 'click' with different teachers and their teaching styles. I particularly enjoyed the teaching on my ‘Campaign Management and Development’, ‘Digital Marketing’ and ‘PR & Branded Content’ modules. It is important to note that you will only get out of the classes what you put in. I found that the more engaged I was in a module and the teaching material, the more passionate the teachers would be, which is understandable as nobody wants to talk at people, they want to talk with you. The more questions you ask, no matter how silly they may seem, the more help you will receive. In my experience, all of the lecturers are extremely supportive and will help you as much as possible.
To what extent has the course helped you set goals for your future career and what are your plans after graduation?
Studying a marketing course has helped me find my passion which is Entertainment Marketing. The modules on this course have given me an overview of all the marketing functions, as well as the variety of routes I can take after graduation. Personally, I am planning to find a marketing or communications graduate internship within the entertainment industry to give me my first step into the industry.
Have you been involved in any work placements or real-world projects set by employers? If so, please describe your experience.
I decided against doing a work placement in the middle of my studies as it wasn't right for me. However, I do recommend working alongside your studies and trying to get some marketing experience. In my second year I became a Sales Assistant in a shop, but made my passion for marketing clear so I was put in charge of the social media pages for the store. I created a TikTok account for the store and after one year we had gained 10k followers. A few months later I was promoted to the management team in the store. Both this and the social media experience have helped to enhance my CV so that I am ready for my career in marketing after I graduate from university.
Anything else you'd like to add about your experience on the course or at Brookes?
You will get out as much as you put in. If you make the effort you will see the results and enjoy your studies at the same time.