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From MSc to the world of work: a pandemic path

By Nicholas Barclay - Posted on 19 May 2022

Nicholas Barclay graduated with a MSc in Digital Marketing Management at Strathclyde University in August 2021. Currently Search Executive at digital transformation agency, Equator, Nicholas tells us how his studies prepared him for the world of work, in the midst of a pandemic.

Having freshly graduated from my MSc in Digital Marketing Management at Strathclyde Business School, I found myself entering a job market in August 2021 which was extremely uncertain. Due to the pandemic, there weren’t many jobs available for graduates and as a result, competition was extremely high.

Thankfully, Strathclyde University’s careers service had been enormously supportive and had given us classes on how to perform well at interviews and tips and tricks on how to create a brilliant CV. In addition, they offered a wealth of resources to help me on my journey to securing a job, such as the CV builder which provided useful feedback on how my CV could be improved. The same support was provided with any job applications I was writing.

After graduating, I secured a few interviews for digital marketing positions. When I wasn’t successful, the feedback I received was that I did not have enough practical experience. Whilst my Masters course was great at applying digital marketing theory to the practical, and gave us a ‘real life’ digital transformation project scenario in which we had to create a website and apply all the theory we had learned to drive traffic to the website, a key piece of advice I would give to students is to look for ways in which you can secure practical work experience in your area of study in addition to that on your course. This really will give you the edge over other candidates applying for the same jobs, and will look great on your CV. It’s so important that your CV ‘sells’ you as much as possible, and Strathclyde University’s careers service were so helpful in this regard.

It was a challenging environment to try and secure employment, but I was determined to remain positive and made a point of offering my marketing skills in a voluntary capacity to my church, so I was at least building up practical experience in the meantime.

Happily, I secured a position with one of the UK’s leading digital transformation agencies, Equator, in November 2021. The team at Equator have been great at providing the training I required to get up to speed quickly for my role as Search Executive; however, the knowledge and skills I gained on my Masters course has been fundamental, for example, learning about search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC). As part of the Search team, both are a major focus and crucial to my role. In addition, being able to understand and appreciate the broader marketing picture means that I can work with others in the company effectively and collaboratively, being able to provide integration between channels.

Working in an agency means no two days are the same. At Equator we work on a wide variety of clients within the tourism, insurance, finance, healthcare sectors, to name a few. It’s this diversity that I really enjoy. In addition, I really appreciate all the training that I receive at Equator and my focus for now is learning as much as I can, taking on more responsibility, and seeing how far I can go!

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