For many students, summer is a time to recover from lectures, studying and exams.
For a group of 3rd year School of Business students, this idea of relaxation couldn’t be further from the truth as they embark on a summer of working hard and developing their skills on placement.
From Dundee to Florida, students from the School of Business have been broadening their horizons around the world, and developing their business skills over the summer months.
“At Jabil, we empower the brands who empower the world – it’s our reason for being and the guiding force that’s driving us to become the most technologically advanced manufacturing solutions provider on the planet. Whether we’re serving one of the world’s biggest and best known brands or the coolest tech startups, our resolve never wavers.”
Kieran McIntosh is spending his summer working in Florida on a Corporate Treasury placement with a company called Jabil Circuit. This is one of a number of placement opportunities that students can apply to through the Saltire Foundation.
“I came across this opportunity through the Saltire Foundation which is actively promoted throughout the University of Dundee. A previous Saltire Scholar had given a speech on my first day of university and since then I have said to myself that it is something I have to do, “ said Kieran.
“I will be interning in Corporate Treasury with Jabil Circuit, one of the world’s largest electronic manufacturing companies. Specifically, I will be working within cash management, credit, and financial risk management. This involves work surrounding FX markets and minimising the risk of currency fluctuations, whilst also providing global oversight on cash positions and ensuring our exposure to our customers from a credit pov is minimised.”
“On a professional note, I will learn skills, I will learn the importance and need for treasury departments within Fortune 500 companies. Specifically, I will learn how cash and working capital is managed from a global perspective. Secondly, I will gain exposure to areas of finance that are not theoretical in nature and will learn on a practical level how Jabil manages their financial position. Culturally, I will learn how to adapt. Having had lunch with the CFO and CEO I have learned already that different conversations require different approaches. A skill I can take with me anywhere I go and is a valuable life skill not available from the textbook.”
And when asked about his return to University in September, to complete his degree, Kieran indicated he was looking forward to it! “The thought of returning to Dundee from Florida where there are clear skies every day and crystal clear beaches is not exactly appealing haha! However, I am looking forward to catching up with friends and finishing what has been an unforgettable 4 years at the University of Dundee.”
Kieran in Florida
Remy working at GSK
Another of our Business Management students, who also benefitted through the Saltire Foundation is Remy Appere. Remy is undertaking his placement with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), based in Ulverston, and classes himself as extremely fortunate to receive a placement through the Saltire Foundation – but we say his hard work and enthusiasm in applying has given him the reward he deserves.
Remy said, “GSK Ulverston is a primary site – the raw materials come in and we make a bulk powder from it – this bulk powder is then shipped to Italy as to be packed in such a way that the patient can use it. However, this process is definitely not as straightforward as it may appear. That’s where I come in; I have been assigned to work on their batch release process. Within the pharmaceutical industry having the finished product sitting on a shelf ready to go is far from meaning that in reality, the product is ready to be shipped. A plethora of chemical tests have to be undertaken and the relevant paperwork must also be accumulated if the product wants to ever move off the shelves. Here in lies the problem, with added complexity comes the opportunity for error and therefore delays. I have been tasked with helping the supply and logistics department work in unison with all other departments on site as to gradually and steadily improve this process as to get that product out the door as quickly as possible!”
“For me there are three main benefits that I will take away from my time here at GSK:
- Practical Experience – Not only has this allowed me to improve my knowledge of the business world but it has most importantly let me witness first-hand the daily goings on within a multinational pharmaceutical company.
- Networking – I can truly say that during my time here in Ulverston I have begun to “Use my network” and have built “professional contacts”. I’ve learned that the soft skills are just as important as being able to complete your work effectively and that if you just put the time in to get to know somebody the chances are they’ll help you out if you ever need to ask something of them in the future.
- Vision for the Future – I don’t think I truly understood what working in the pharmaceutical industry would look like before starting my internship. Now though I feel that I have a genuine insight into the industry and not just the pretty stuff, I’ve seen plenty of the ugly sides too. All in all though it’s not deterred me, if anything having spoken to those on the graduate scheme has made it clear to me that this is the career I want to peruse in the future.
“We want to help people do more, feel better, live longer. Today there are still millions of people without access to basic healthcare, thousands of diseases without adequate treatments and millions more people who suffer from everyday ailments. At GSK we want to change this.”
Moving to a completely different sector is student Carla Nearchou, who spent her summer placement working for a fashion company that has showrooms in London, Paris and New York.
Carla explained, “I assisted in a fashion showroom, so my tasks ranged from setting up the showroom with the designer pieces, to translating for negotiation with buyers that attended the showroom. Those buyers represented stores such as Harrods and Selfridges.
“It was a good way for me to network as well as to learn the basics of negotiation when it comes to wholesaling especially in regards to big brand names within the fashion industry such as Net-A-Porter and Splash. Moreover, it gave me an insight to the responsibilities of an account manager such as those that I got to work with, as well as of a “buyer” such as those that visited the showroom.
Carla had an interest in working in this sector and had worked hard to find an opportunity that suited her. It is a different sector but an excellent one to learn key business skills such as negotiation, time management and branding.
Carla in Paris
Michael at Verdant
Moving closer to home, Michael McKaig had undertaken work placements before, so this time around he wanted to try something different. “I decided to read through the Dundee & Angus Chamber of Commerce website as this has a list of Dundee-based SME’s. I decided to email companies that I felt would be relevant to my degree and previous experience. Verdant Spirits seemed like a great opportunity as I have loads of experience in the drink trade; they were one of the companies that got back to me and here I am. “
Verdant Spirits in Dundee is one of the many innovative craft distillers in Scotland that are part of the fast growing food and drink industry. These types of smaller companies offer students a terrific insight into creativity, innovation and entrepreneurialism.
“I’m doing a lot of marketing and communications which I really enjoy! I do a lot of work on the company’s social media in trying to attract people to like the pages and drive traffic to the website. I also create marketing materials such as photographs, leaflets, press releases etc. My main responsibility is the designing and building of a crowdfunding campaign to restore the Jute Mill building where we operate I am solely in charge of this project so it is a big responsibility and a lot of planning goes into it.”
“I think the great thing about a small business is that you get to know the people you work with really well and you develop a great personal network. The other great thing about small organisations is that you make a bigger impact; the fewer people there are then the greater the responsibility that falls upon you. The last thing I like about working in a small firm is that you get to see a lot more than in a large corporation. Because there aren’t ‘departments’ everyone does their bit and you get to learn about a lot of different aspects of organisational life.”
“We have tried to build on that old spirit of the city’s industrial and entrepreneurial past and are proud to fill the gap in founding Verdant Spirits and producing the first and only gin that is distilled here in Dundee.”
So after a busy and productive year for all the students out on placement, they all show an excitement and hunger to get back to Uni in September, complete their Business Management degree and then move onto their careers. Michael summed up the view of them all when he said, “I cannot wait to get back to Uni! I absolutely loved 3rd Year and I’m hoping that 4th Year will be just as exciting.”
Employability related services in the School of Business are developing fast. The key focus for the School is to offer students a variety of opportunities to work and engage with industry, identify their strengths and interests and support them on their journey.