Ben, how was your time studying on the Business and Management degree programme at Henley Business School and where has your experience taken you since graduating?
I graduated in 2018, having completed a four-year degree course which included a year as an intern at Intel. After graduating I joined Samsung, where I’m just about to finish a two-year graduate scheme.
The graduate scheme has been really good and I’ve been involved with the launch of some of their flagship products. By the time I finish, I will have spent six months in each of their four European marketing departments, including market insight, CRM marketing, website and e-store operations, and the brand and product marketing team. This has given me so much knowledge and real work experience.
So why did you choose the Henley Business and Management degree programme initially?
I always wanted to go into marketing and I was sold by the way I could tailor my degree in any way I wanted. Although I opted for the marketing modules, I could just as easily have specialised in HR, finance or international business; it seemed like a smart, flexible option. Plus, the Henley Business School facilities are lovely and the Henley brand has such a great reputation, which I only fully appreciated once I’d been there for a while.
What were the biggest challenges and surprises of the programme?
I’ve never been keen on exams, so the academic assessments were a challenge for me, but I was pleasantly surprised by the considerable proportion of assessment through group work. It was definitely a step up from schoolwork – we were expected to go away and find out things for ourselves and that emphasis on independent learning takes a bit of getting used to!
Tell us about your work placement and the impact that had on your progress
I think the work placement is the single most beneficial thing about the degree course. The academic, theoretical side is fine, but when you go on your work placement, you’re thrown into the real world. I found it the best and quickest way to learn first-hand from real experts in marketing.
The Henley Careers and Professional Development team supported us in securing internships and I really benefited from the CV reviews, interview workshops and one-to-one mentoring; it really helped to prepare me for what was to come.
The work placement itself was incredibly exciting! I had real responsibility for some major events as part of Intel’s UK marketing team and I got to travel frequently to attend and run events. I was part of a team communicating Intel’s work in AI, VR, autonomous driving and esports, and got to work alongside their partners (for example, the Royal Shakespeare Company and ESL – an esports organiser and production company), in addition to retail partners such as Currys PC World, Argos and Very.
The culture amongst the interns and graduates at Intel was fantastic. When I came back to Henley there was a huge shift – I was much more disciplined and I had acquired lots of interpersonal skills. Everyone was suddenly very focused on finishing the final year, but we were also acutely aware that this was our final year in education and we were determined to make the most of it, so we worked hard and played hard!
What advice would you offer to anyone considering the Business and Management degree at Henley?
Make the most of it. The course is really flexible, and Henley’s location and reputation makes it a magnet for recruiters. I would 100% recommend the placement year – it’s such a valuable experience.