Chloe Chaplin (BA 2009) recalls her time at university and describes her work in sports marketing.
Looking back to my first day at Leeds Met, it feels like only yesterday, so you can imagine my surprise when I stop and think about it for a moment and realise it’s actually been six years since I first stepped foot into a lecture theatre. How time flies.
I remember the first day of entering university territory so well – so daunting, yet super exciting. The buzz of the newfound independence and a whole new adventure in an unknown city, combined with the anticipation of who you might meet and what you might come across along the way was a heady mixture.
The PR course made the experience what it was. Even from the first day, right through to the day of our final exam, there was always a new challenge, a new face, or a new opportunity and those that make the most of that will go a long way.
I really found my feet in first and second year, and developed a genuine passion for PR. Whilst often quite stressful, I loved the fact that the course modules were so closely linked to the ‘real world’.
Gathering items for my portfolio often left me feeling hot under the pressure, but even today, bringing it to the table certainly makes a big impression on other professionals out there and I’m so thankful for it now.
In third year, I decided to do a placement year to really help me really grasp the world of PR. I took on a 15 month placement at East Midlands Tourism where a big focus of my job was around increasing the region’s appeal to overseas markets by planning and hosting press trips. This role really helped me to put everything that I had learned on the course into perspective, and confirmed my thoughts that a career in PR was the right path for me.
I went back to final year feeling refreshed and raring to go. My placement taught me a lot and gave me the opportunity to really develop the skills that I’d learned on the PR course. Better still, I linked the work that I’d done in my year out to the ever-dreaded dissertation. I found that it wasn’t so daunting after all, and ended up achieving a First – both in my dissertation and overall. This definitely came as a very pleasant surprise!
After graduating, I was offered a few jobs, but I decided to take up the offer from Perfect Motion, as it seemed like it would be the one to push me the most. The Nottingham-based sports marketing and PR agency offered me an Account Manager role and I was really chuffed as I’d been up against some tough competition at interview stage.
I knew the role would be challenging and how right I was, as after being here for two years, I’ve had the chance to work with some amazing companies, small and large, including big corporates such as Boots and SEEDA, and charities including Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research and Breast Cancer Campaign. Earlier this year, I even got the chance to spend the day looking after Fearne Cotton at the Bath Half Marathon.
As an avid fan of food and fashion, I never thought I’d see the day where I said that sport is hugely rewarding, but it is – whether it’s doing your first 5k or winning an Olympic medal, everyone can lead a healthier, happier life by being physically active, fit and striving to achieve goals. A lot of my work is about convincing people of this. Working for the company has definitely inspired me, as I’m challenging myself to run my first half marathon this autumn for charity. Previously, I’d have shuddered at the thought.
If I could do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. The highlights for me were meeting so many amazing people, learning a lot about myself as an individual and of course, achieving a First Class degree is definitely up there!
My advice to all you budding PR pros out there would be to get as much experience as you can during your free time, grasp every opportunity thrown at you with both hands, do a year placement and last but not least, make sure you keep in touch with all the contacts you make along the way as they’ll definitely come in handy, not only as you start out in the world of PR, but every step of the way!