My Favourite Third Year Module

By Rhiannon Thefaut, BA International Business Management

One of the best things in third year is that you have such an amazing choice of modules that you can take. The wide range of topics and specialisations you can do is really cool – there were so many modules I’d never even considered taking such as ‘Work and Employment in the 21st century’ and ‘Creativity and Innovation’ which honestly were so interesting and developed your business thinking immensely. You can choose modules that are exam based if that’s your strong point, or modules that are more coursework based – whether that coursework is through groupwork or through individual essays.

When I was choosing Universities, I had a taster lecture of Consumer Psychology and I absolutely loved it. It was one of the main reasons I chose Sheffield University – in the hopes of getting to study this module. I cannot remember the woman’s name who took the class, however, she was so enthusiastic about the topic. I had done business at A-level, but had not got to look at it from a psychological aspect before. One of my main memories is that she asked me about my most recent purchase – why I purchased it, how much it cost, what the value it was to me. I was a awkward, unconfident, red faced sixth former and went home and overthought all my answers and how awkward I was when answering the questions. However, the overthinking led me to realising how interested I was in this topic and how much I’d love to study it more.

Fast forward three years and I’m halfway through this module, in my final term at the University of Sheffield. The module has been interesting so far – we’ve learnt about what motivates a person to make a purchase, how companies use psychology to make their adverts appealing and how we make decisions.

With regards to how it’s graded, there is an individual essay and a group work. The individual essay is similar to the taster lecture I had 3 years ago in which we get to analyse how and why we made a purchase for ourselves and for somebody else. There’s also group work which requires you to make an advert and a poster, based on the theories you’ve learnt in class.  Our group is advertising Mac make-up, and we’ve aimed to use repetition and humanistic psychology (which focusses on emphasising an individual’s potential). It’s been really cool to create and edit your own video as it’s allowed me to develop my editing skills, alongside my analytic skills for writing the essay section of the essay!

I do recommend this module if you are interested in understanding why people make purchases and how. I think it’s vital to have this understanding before you work in a business, especially if you want to work in Marketing – as you’ll be trying to sell products to consumers. Knowing how to do that is important.

 

How I fell and how I got back up on my feet, my journey with mental health

By Olivia Chavigny de Lachevrotiere, BA International Business Management

Going to study at the university is an absolute experience. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had moments here that I could never forget.

but…

It might not always be as jolly as I had imagined. I thought these years would be the absolute happiest, I thought that I would meet friends for life and become successful irrespective of what I do with my time. I even though I might find a future husband while at the university! That was my vision, and my plan.

But I felt it already within the first couple of weeks. Moving away from my home country where my friends and family live – to the UK – turned out to have a greater impact on me than I thought. I refused to give up and did all I could to be out there and get the experience. I joined the A Cappella and Beatbox Society, became a committee member for my national society, enrolled on a language course. I also participated in many study workshops at 301, and the Entrepreneurship Skills Autumn programme.  I applied for the Study Abroad programme at an overseas partner university. I refused to lose the experience, with an intent to use the time I had to the maximum.

But even then, I felt lonelier than ever. Never being fully able to express myself, but most of all not being able to find friends that I would feel fully comfortable with. I couldn’t get close with anyone. Every exam session, I started either locking myself down in my room and crying through the evenings, or putting myself out in the library to be able to focus at all. I put on weight, ended up in a bad relationship where I felt suppressed. I felt like I always needed to impress people to be able to fit in, but it only caused me to persistently fail to open up.

I went on my Year Abroad to Amsterdam, met more people, I thought it went away…
And then I got aggressively crushed.
In winter, during my Year Abroad, I got depressed.

 

All of that happened during my “happiest” time, when I should be going out and party, and be all out there with people. But all I could do is stay in bed and sleep through the days, unable to fully focus, constantly catching colds and unable to accept myself, feeling hurt and alone. I felt like I was falling behind socially even more, seeing the new exchange students in my student accommodation in February, after the new semester started, spending time together, or at least knowing each other’s names! I didn’t know their names for months. I coped by binge eating sweets and watching TV shows, to escape my thoughts and get the sugar rush, and keep going. There and then, I knew it’s too much, and I reached out. Here’s what I did, and what ultimately helped me:

  • First, I reached out to the Student Psychologist at my university abroad, then to a private counselling centre (covered by my insurance). Slowly but steadily, I started getting up on my feet;
  • I studied, but allowed myself to let some pressure go, I allowed myself to be me in this foreign environment. I stopped chasing acceptance, but instead, I focused on the people that were there and the goals that I actually wanted to pursue;
  • I allowed myself for a slow summer without working, to recover and actually enjoy my time for a change!
  • As soon as I came back to Sheffield, I went to a doctor and asked for medical evidence for a disability (mental health), in order to receive help from the Disability and Dyslexia Support Service (DDSS). At DDSS, I got a Learning Support Plan written up by a staff member, based on my symptoms and needs;
  • I registered for a triage appointment with the Student Access to Mental Health Support (SAMHS), which eventually allowed me to access online counselling services with the Big White Wall Live Therapy,
  • I focused on physical exercise and eating healthy food – not necessarily limiting myself, but finding strength in overcoming physical limitations at the gym.

Now, it was a long and a very personal battle. It prevented me from having the desired by all “time of my life” while studying abroad, and experiencing the student life in full.

But it also taught me how to cope when I start feeling worse, and how to take care of myself in this fast-paced world. I’m better now, and I am on track to graduating soon with good grades.

Many people will have experienced symptoms of a common mental health disorder in their life. It’s good to know that if you feel this way, you’re not alone. And you should reach out, because there are means to help you. You deserve to be happy, and to enjoy your time at the university. I fought and won the battle, and I’m positive that you can too.

Cultural lessons from my year abroad

By Rhiannon Thefaut, BA International Business Management

I went to Rennes, France for my year abroad. In weather, it is the same as the south of England. However, everything else about it is very much French. As my University had people from over 100 countries and 50 languages, I didn’t just learn about the French culture, I got to learn about many other cultures. This will be some of the most interesting things I experienced and learnt whilst abroad. Hopefully, if you go abroad or work abroad in the future, some of these facts will be helpful for you or just make you laugh.

Firstly, the French have baguette machines. The French value their bread over all else, so for when boulangeries are shut on a Sunday or at 1am after a night out, you can still get your bread. You go to the supermarkets, and they will have a bakery in, constantly with fresh bread. Honestly, the bread is amazing – it tastes so much better than baguettes in England and you can get so many different types of bread, that you never even knew existed. So, if you don’t like bread, maybe don’t go to France!

Not just to mention their love for bread, they also definitely love their cheese. On my first night out in Rennes, we pre’d at one of the French guys homes and he provided us with a baguette and cheese board. I can’t eat cheese but I definitely enjoyed having the bread! To make it better, on a different night out, whilst walking home (French buses stop running at midnight so we had to walk home over an hour most days), we found a slab of camembert cheese on the floor!

I didn’t just learn about the French culture, I learnt about other cultures too. I learnt the super interesting fact that prawn crackers are not Chinese and if you ask a Chinese person about them, they won’t have a clue what they are. Also, Chinese food made my Chinese people is so much better than Chinese from a takeaway in England. My best friend would bring me food to my lecture and it was great.

Thai people are honestly so polite and friendly – they will literally do anything for you. They’re happy people and honestly some of the best friends you can have, as they are so caring and so willing to help you if you have a problem. My Thai friends are constantly messaging me, a year on, asking me how I am and offering me their home to stay at when I come visit. I love them and miss their kind personalities a lot.

German’s value being on time, so if you walk late into class, they will glare at you profusely – which is made worse by the fact there was only around 20 people in my class! The German’s are also a British person’s best friend – honestly, if you’re sarcastic, they’ll match that sarcasm with a stoic face and sarcastic banter back. It’s brilliant and made for some hilarious conversations. However, do be warned that some countries aren’t sarcastic, so you need to be aware of this and gage who it’s okay to be sarcastic with before you bring out the British humour.

If you can, do a year abroad – the cultural lessons and the memories you get are so worth it. I would give anything back to do another year abroad and I’m very jealous of all of you who are about to embark on yours.

My L’Oreal journey so far!

By Sophie Ruston, BA Business Management

My journey started in my second year when I attended an ‘Assertiveness & Self Confidence Skills Session’ on the 14th November ran by L’Oreal at the Student’s Union. It was advertised as an on-campus evening where I was able to get hints and tips on how to tackle their applications. It wasn’t until I turned up that they told us they would be running a mock assessment centre with the chance to be ‘talent spotted’ and fast-tracked to the final stage of their application! 

Around a week later I received an email invitation to their final stage assessment centre in London, exactly a month on from the initial event (14th December). I straight away began researching the company, the brands and preparing for the day. 48 hours before, we received an information deck through with lots of information on potential new Kiehl’s skincare products, our job was to prepare a 20 minute presentation on which product to launch, why, and our omni-channel launch plan. 

Fast-forward through 2 days of intense planning and presentation preparing which included analysing data from a survey of my Facebook friends, I was at the assessment centre and presenting to the Head of Digital for L’Oréal’s skincare division. Following the presentation, we were split into groups to take part in a group task which built on the Kiehl’s project, and then completed a numerical and literacy test. Next was lunch and a chance to chat to the current interns and ask questions about their experience and what a placement at L’Oreal was like first hand. After lunch, there was a daunting ‘cut’ where they sent home applicants who hadn’t progressed to the afternoon which then consisted of an attention to detail test, a virtual reality meeting scenario and an individual interview with a senior member of staff.

After successfully gaining a place on the placement scheme, I started on the 25th June 2018 as an ‘E-Retail Intern’ in the Active Cosmetics Division. My role consisted of:

  • Communicating with online retailers to assist with account management and relationship building.
  • Collating, reporting and analysing sales results, tracking market trends and promotion results
  • Ensuring all product launches were planned and executed across e-retailers accurately from start to finish
  • Creating campaign focused assets for website banners, brand pages and social media posts to encourage uplifts in sales, ‘win on the web’ and increase brand awareness.

As much as I got stuck into my day-to-day role, and after an adjustment period, really enjoyed what the job entailed, it was all the other activities I got involved with whilst on placement which made the year so special! I was part of the intern netball team which played weekly matches against other teams around Hammersmith e.g. against the Disney interns. This was a really great chance to meet up with some of the other interns which I didn’t work with, and find out more about their roles in other parts of the business. With over 100 interns across Marketing, Commercial, Finance, Supply and more from 36 brands and 4 divisions, every intern has a totally different role and experience.

Being part of such a large, international company also meant there were occasions where I was able to get involved with corporate events, such as an event at the house of commons, “for Women in Science”, attended by MP’s, Lords and successful business people. This opportunity to represent L’Oréal at such a significant annual event filled me with pride, and also gave me experience networking with individuals outside of the business. I was also involved with charity and corporate social responsibility initiatives within the Head Office, such as selling raffle tickets, working at product sales and volunteering with disadvantaged children in the community.

All in all, my placement year provided me with such a vast array of experiences, I learnt A LOT, developed massively as an individual, but more than anything had such a fantastic time. I enjoyed it so much, that I even stayed at L’Oréal over the summer and completed another internship in a totally separate role, just so I could gain further insight into the business! I have met friends for life, and am back in London at least once a month, I just can’t wait to be back there full time in January 2021 on their Commercial Management Trainee graduate scheme.

My first semester at NTU Singapore

By Alice Lando, BA International Business Management

Having reached the end of the first semester of my exchange year at the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore, I have found myself looking back at the journey so far. If you intend to do an exchange, and I highly recommend it, you should know that there will definitely be ups and downs, it won’t be all about travelling and meeting new people. 

I was lucky enough to meet a group of friends from all around the world on my third day here that eventually stuck as a group till the end of the semester, when it came the time for very sad goodbyes as most of them were here for only one semester. With this group – we called it “No Spice” because everything in Asia is spicy and we had no tolerance for it – I discovered Singapore, travelled to Bali, went to Halloween at the Universal Studios and many more unforgettable experiences. We are still in touch and planning the next meetups. We even made a t-shirt and a book with all our names, details, fun facts and pictures 🙂 

Given the location of Singapore, there are plenty of opportunities to travel around South East Asia, so far I have been to Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia. 

In regards to my University experience, the Singaporean system comes with an intense workload and it puts students in competition with each other. I was able to keep up with the materials but I had moments where I felt the need to take a step back and focus on myself when the workload was becoming too overwhelming. Business classes are 3 or 4 hours long seminars, there is a lot of preparation work before class and assessments are more frequent compared to what I had in Sheffield in my first year. Moreover, all five modules I took in the first semester had group-project that counted for a major part of my final grade. It was a demanding first semester but I do have to say that the topics discussed were based on real-life situations and therefore overall very useful.  

I have just started the second semester but I already look back with nostalgia at all the beautiful memories I have made. I hope this second semester will be as great as the first one and I am looking forward to being back in Sheffield next September.

 

Applying to University – a horror story?

By Olivia Chavigny De Lachevrotiere, BA International Business Management

Hours, and hours, and hours of research. Documents. Eligibility. Studying. Financial planning. Research. Universities, courses, rankings, research. Studying, and again research. 

Deciding to study in the UK wasn’t the easiest one. Moving abroad, figuring out how to afford the living, how to design my university experience and make the most out of it. Planning for so many details, yet little did I know how different the whole experience would be. 

I was a strong person back in Poland, back home. I would always come up with the initiatives, offer my leadership and organise events. I knew I wanted something more for myself, I wanted to develop on more dimensions than it would ever be possible, had I stayed in the country. The decision wasn’t the easiest, because financially speaking, such a life turn wasn’t really feasible. The entire application process didn’t make it any easier, requiring so much organisation and planning – first, the choice of a course. Then, the universities (research, research, research). Finally, the accommodation, the finance, societies, finding my flatmates, walking through Sheffield on Google Maps so many times, trying to gauge the distance between student halls and my future department. 

I didn’t have the opportunity to come to Sheffield, or any of my chosen universities, before actually moving here; but if you have that opportunity, please take it. For me, choosing the perfect place was like walking in the dark – I could see the general shapes and contours, but never the full detail. The University of Sheffield organises a few Open Days for the applicants throughout the year. The successful ones are also provided with a detailed brochure, which is sent over by post. It walked me through the rather difficult time of trying to understand the city and where everything is, the accommodation and the university facilities. The university offers help in all sorts of issues you might have during the application, but also once you arrive here or later in your studies – be it problems with your landlord, financial issues or job hunt. If you’re still hesitant, let me assure you – the university will welcome you, no matter which country or what family you come from. In the EU and UK in particular, you don’t have to be super wealthy to have access to the top higher education

The whole process of taking exams, getting a language certificate, researching and organising might seem a little daunting, but the reward is worth it more than anything – so don’t give up! There is so much more awaiting you!

 

International Summer Placement

By Jamie Taylor, BA Business Management

Over the summer of 2019, I decided to do something with my time to make a difference! I would be spending 6 weeks out in Indonesia working towards making the world a better place!

My placement was with an organisation called ‘AIESEC’ that focuses on achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), my project was called ‘E-Millennials’ and this targeted ‘SDG 8’- ‘Decent Work and Economic Growth’. The main aim of the project was to promote ‘Entrepreneurship and Eco-tourism’ throughout Indonesia and make a difference to help improve people’s lives.

There were 11 other people in my project team, and this gave our team a real diversity with us all being from different countries from around the world including: China, India, Egypt and Canada just to name a few. There was a belief in what we were all trying to achieve, with us all working together towards the same goal! The project was split up into 3 main components that consisted of ‘School Visits’, ‘Company Visits’ and finally an ‘Eco-Tourism Consultancy Project’ on Tidung island (island off the coast of Jakarta).

School Visits

The School visits were so rewarding as it gave me the opportunity to educate and engage with the Indonesian youth about the SDG’s as well as finding out what their future career ambitions were. Of course, I needed a translator as my Bahasa (Indonesian language) wasn’t the best but ‘Google Translate’ quickly became my new best friend. I had some really positive discussions with the students, and it was great to hear about their different opinions and perspectives!

Company Visits

I had the opportunity to visit a number of companies in Jakarta. This resulted in me waking up at 5am and having to catch a 2-hour train but it allowed me to experience what the Indonesian daily commute was like. To give some context, think of the London Underground at rush hour and times that by five!

Some of the companies that I visited were Nutrifood (Indonesian Healthy Food Manufacturer) as well as Qlausa (Digital marketing agency) these were great learning experiences and gave me the chance to spend time with industry professionals. I found it particularly beneficial to analyse the differences between businesses in the UK and Indonesia.

Visiting Unilever Indonesia was a fantastic experience and it was insightful to learn about all of the Indonesian brands and take part in a brand activation exercise. However, visiting the in-house Magnum Café was definitely a highlight! I highly recommend trying out one of the milkshakes- delicious!

Tourism Consultancy Project

For the final stage of the project I spent a week on Tidung Island. The real value of this trip was to experience the Eco-Tourism opportunities on the island and to give feedback on them to the tourism board. Highlights included, the Coral Reef Restoration Program, the Mangrove Plantation and the Snorkelling trip! At the end of the week I had to give a presentation to the local committee and produce a ‘SWOT analysis’ of tourism on the island!

Overall, this was a fantastic experience and a rewarding way to spend my summer. I would highly recommend AIESEC to anyone as they have programs all around the world and you will be sure to find one that best suits your interest!

‘Go out there and do something that will make your future-self proud’

Why a placement year is so worth it!

By Sophie Ruston, BA Business Management with Employment Experience

I had always had my sights set on doing a placement year (sometimes referred to as year in industry or sandwich year), however, I know some students are often unconvinced. In my opinion the benefits are never ending, therefore, I have compiled below 5 main reasons why, from my experience, a placement year is SO worth it:

Builds Confidence

The responsibility I was given from day 1 was at times challenging, and there were moments when I wondered what I’d signed up for, but there really is no better way to grow your confidence than through diving in at the deep end. Being immersed into a full time role with no (or very little) experience was at first daunting, but it really pushes you to believe in yourself, get stuck into the job at hand and strive to achieve your goals.

Develops Skills

Granted, university helps you on your path to a great career but your own skills and abilities only grow when you actually put them into practice. There is no better way than to start at the very bottom and learn from some of the brightest and most talented individuals out there. I was lucky enough to have such a brilliant and supportive team but wherever you go and whoever you work with, your own skills will only flourish when they are tested. No lecture can really set you up for the workplace

An opportunity to make mistakes

As an intern, you will be the least experienced person in your business and when you’re learning, mistakes are anticipated. You’re not expected to get everything right first time but you are expected to ask questions; a placement year gives you the opportunity to learn from the things you might mess up first time, but build on them next time around.

Improve your employability

A graduate with a placement year (or relevant experience) is far more favourable to any employer than someone who’s never had a job, with some stipulating a certain amount of experience in a professional role. Everyone knows the graduate market is tough, so gaining experience prior to graduating is one of the best ways you can become more employable.

It’s so much fun!

1 year in a fast-paced environment gives you the chance to discover and develop your skills but also to meet amazing people. It’s unlikely you’ll be the only intern, meaning you’ll meet loads of like-minded individuals but you also get to build a great network of colleagues across your business.

After a placement year, it’s difficult to see why anyone wouldn’t try and do one. If you’re a current student and would like more information or one-to-one mentoring, then make sure you drop into the Employability Hub in the Management School.

 

How to sort accommodation for after your year abroad

By Rhiannon Thefaut, BA International Business Management

In first year, my flat decided to live together in second year. However, I was going abroad for my second year and so couldn’t live with them. Instead, I agreed to live with them all in third year and assumed that was that. However, after some disagreements whilst I was away, this was no longer an option. I then had to rethink what I wanted to do.

I am originally from Chesterfield, which is an 11-minute train journey or a 30-minute drive from Sheffield. Therefore, one option for me was to move home and commute to University. Whilst this isn’t an option for everyone, depending how far Sheffield is from your family home, however, it may be something to consider. It’s likely in third year you’ll have less contact hours (and more study hours), so it is an option. Just note if you do commute, your maintenance loan will be significantly less – however, you won’t have the same living costs, so it evens out.

My second option was to live with 2 of my friends from first year. This is the option I took, as I decided that I wanted to have the live-in university experience in Sheffield again, as I enjoyed it so much in first year. However, the main issue for me was that, I had to trust my friends to sort the accommodation. We were on different time zones, and had different free time, meaning that I couldn’t even facetime them to see the places.

The third option is to live with strangers again; this is probably not the most popular idea, however, it can lead to making some really great new friends. There is the facebook page ‘Sheffield student accommodation’ and websites such as ‘Campusboard’ where you can find people who have spare rooms available for the following year.

The last option is to live on your own in a studio or 1 bedroom flat. Honestly, after my year abroad, I felt a strong sense of autonomy and responsibility. I was probably ready to live alone and that may be how some of you feel. A year abroad gives you so much freedom and builds your confidence, meaning that sometimes moving back and living with your friends isn’t the same. Your friends can still visit, but you don’t have the added stress of dealing with their mess or their noise – which is always nice!

My last piece of advice would be, make sure to decide what you want to do early on. As you probably remember from first year, students start deciding who they’re living with and where quite early (October onwards). You need to make sure you look too! It’s quite difficult when you can’t visit the place yourself, so, get them to do a skype call to show you it or get one of your friends to visit for you – it’s vital to make sure the place is legitimate and suits your needs.

 

Zero-waste in Sheffield

By Serena Wong, BA International Business with Study Abroad

For my first blog post, I’ve decided to share with our fellow friends how I do zero-waste in Sheffield!

Back home in Malaysia, the closest zero waste store was an hour drive away with majority of the stores congregated in the Central Business District. This lack of access proved to be an inconvenience when I first started going zero-waste. It was also difficult to implement small, incremental changes in my household, as my parents deemed it easier and cheaper to buy plastic-packaged products. The biggest change I made back home was designating a recycling area at home.  

Six months later- today, my flat mates and I compost, recycle, and we do not use kitchen rolls at all! 

In just about every university building- the Sheffield Students’ Union, Information Commons, the Diamond, we can purchase food and drinks in recyclable packaging and then toss them out at the many and easily-available recycling bins. In addition, our Students’ Union has an outlet- Our Zero Waste Shop- dedicated to plastic-free wholefoods and environmentally friendly household goods.

One of the best aspects of the shop is the refilling station for both food and household liquids. You can refill your shampoo, conditioner, laundry detergent as well as rice and herbs. My personal favourite however, is refilling my empty jars with delicious sweets! 

Its wide array of zero-waste products coupled with the affordable prices, makes Our Zero Waste Shop (https://www.facebook.com/OurZeroWasteShop/) one of its kind in Sheffield. 

I am so proud to share that the store makes ZERO profit from their reusable pads and menstrual cups range. It’s incredibly heartwarming to know that our university prioritise making sanitary products both accessible and affordable for our students. As perfect alternatives to regular sanitary essentials, they make perfect gifts for ladies! Just last month, I bought a set of 6 with 1 wash bag, for just £15.76! If that’s not a bargain, I don’t know what is. 

If you’re looking for an easy way to reduce your plastic consumption, why not ditch the cling film and grab bags, and head down to your local market for some fresh and cheap fruits and vegetables. I particularly enjoy doing my grocery shopping at the Moor Market for plastic-free fresh produce. From a plethora of cheeses, to freshly-baked scones, Moor is my go-to destination for fruits, vegetables, fresh poultry, free-range eggs and buttery scones! You can even find stores that stock oriental spices and sauces. 

My zero-waste lifestyle will always be a work-in-progress, but to know and believe that our university isn’t just a supportive platform but rather the support, I have no doubts I will continuously lead the lifestyle that fills my heart and brings me happiness.