The great thing about university is that many courses offer the opportunity to go on industry placements, which are a great boost up the employability ladder. As part of the BSc Business and Management course, student Katie Wood is currently taking a year on placement and working for Nissan. Katie was kind enough to sit down with interviewer Pamela and discuss her experience on placement so far.

So Katie, what does your job involve?

A lot of what I do is data analysis. I’m trying to push my team to change the systems that they’re using. I’ve created a new Excel spreadsheet – all it’s done is take out the manual input, use pivot tables and do look ups, it’s made a huge difference. To me it’s very straightforward. Nissan was set up in 1986, so the majority of the people that work on my team started on the shop floor. A lot of them don’t have a degree, and I have found my theoretical background has benefited me greatly.

Photography – Nick Harrison

How have you found working with people from different backgrounds?

I have found that finding something to talk about aside from work related topics has been a great way to get to know everyone. Having positive relationships with my colleagues is beneficial when presenting new ideas and implementing changes. Because of the variety of ages within the department, I have worked closely with colleagues who aren’t as digitally skilled – I have developed my own methods to help them learn and navigate spreadsheets.

Photography – Nick Harrison

Have you found Nissan to be supportive, and what support have you had from the Business school?

Both Nissan and the Business school have been great, there’s loads of students on placement here. Nissan organised a presentation from the managers explaining what each of our sections do – they’re very good at explaining how the company runs as a whole and not just your own specific sector. Although i’m not physically at the uni, if ever I need help I can send work over to my tutor for help.

Image: Charles Coh on Unsplash

What advice would you give to someone thinking  about  going on  placement?

If you’re going to work for a big company you’ve got to make sure that you make yourself heard. When you’re in an open plan office, you have to make yourself known to everyone and not just your own section. 

You have to know where you’re going; even if you don’t. Make the most out of the placement. It is going to set you up for a reference, you’ve got a year’s experience out of the university so make the most of it. Make sure you do everything you can while you’re there – this applies not just in work but outside of work as well.

Interested in studying business with us? Check out Salford Business School.

If you find yourself with any placement related questions – please don’t hesitate to ask in the comment section below!