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A Student's View

BA Business and Management

Laura-Jane Ellard

2017 Graduate Commercial Marketing Manager, Microsoft


How did you come to choose this course, and why did you decide to study at Henley Business School?

‘I’d always been interested in business so I went through the usual process of looking at prospectuses and rankings, and saw how highly Reading was rated. And I was especially keen to do a course that included an internship.

‘So I came to an Open Day, and just loved it! The lecturers and staff, the people, the whole place just felt right for me; I could see myself there. Lots of people said that I shouldn’t pick the first one I visited, so I went through the motions of going to other campuses, but Reading was always going to be the one.’

And did the course live up to expectations?

‘Yes, I was really happy with the course. The compulsory modules give you a great foundation, and you have the freedom to choose your own specialised modules to tailor the programme to your own ambitions. The level of teaching was excellent, and there was a good balance in the way you’re assessed throughout the course. I really couldn’t fault it.’

"The level of teaching was excellent, and there was a good balance in the way you’re assessed throughout the course. I really couldn’t fault it."

Looking back, what was the highlight of the course?

‘I particularly enjoyed the internship, which came about from one of the careers fairs organised by the Henley Careers Team. I saw that Microsoft had a stand, but never imagined that I’d be able to get a placement there. However, I was encouraged to apply and eventually they offered me a role in education marketing, and it proved to be a fantastic 13 months. So much so, that I was reluctant to go back to university, but once I’d settled back into my final year, I could really appreciate how my time at Microsoft had given me a structured work mentality and the drive to succeed so I could return.

‘The structured approach to my final year learning also enabled me to balance my studies with a part-time marketing job and enjoying the more social aspects of university life. I loved the opportunity to mix with likeminded people from different backgrounds. We all knew when to get our heads down and when we could relax and enjoy our time together before we dove into the real world of work.’

So describe your current role

‘I’m now back at Microsoft full-time, working as a Commercial Marketing Manager for modern workplaces, marketing Microsoft 365 and Surface, amongst other products and solutions. The experience of developing and executing strategic campaign plans and seeing them through to results is exactly the kind of thing I always wanted to do, and I’m loving every minute!’

And finally, what would you say to anyone wanting to follow a similar path?

‘If you want to get a good degree and meet great people, go to Reading. It was certainly the best choice I could have made. The knowledge and experience I gained from this course really shaped me and my career. I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved, and couldn’t be happier with where I am now.’

"The knowledge and experience I gained from this course really shaped me and my career."
Published 23rd August 2019
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