#PlacementProfile: Chloe Magill | Sales Ops Data Analyst, Barcelona

chloe magill

Hello. Welcome to my newest blog series, documenting the thoughts of placement students as far and wide as I can. Each week (hopefully) I will have a profile of a current placement student giving their thoughts on searching for placements, the competitiveness, how they found the process and what they think of their placement they are currently undertaking. And most importantly, they will give their verdict on whether they think a year in industry is worthwhile.

This week’s interview is with Chloe Magill who works as a Sales Ops Data Analyst in Barcelona, Spain – I told you I’d be going far and wide!

Chloe attends Queens University, Belfast, where she studies on the BA (Hons) Business with Spanish course and is currently 11 months into her placement position. I’m so excited to have Chloe on my blog as when we were in the process of choosing our potential university courses during A Level year, I remember the compulsory placement year on the Spanish course was something that really put her off choosing it. But Chloe was way too good at Spanish to pass up such an opportunity! Below are her thoughts on placement life so far:

The application process

OC: Is a year-long placement compulsory on your course?

CM: Yes it was compulsory that we do a minimum 9 month placement in a Spanish speaking country.

How did you find the competition with other students on your course? Did you find you were all applying for the same jobs? Was there a team at your university to help with placement searching?

Yes, I suppose it was competitive enough given that the placement office weren’t putting many jobs online – so basically, once one went up, nearly everyone was applying for it. I ended up just looking for jobs myself and applied, which is actually the job I’m currently in. There was a placement team at uni who helped us prepare for interviews etc. but I feel like in terms of help we received with job openings – it wasn’t great. Whether or not that was due to our placements being in a different country, I’m not sure but I ended up just actively looking for positions myself.

My friends had all landed placements before me so I did feel a bit pressured that I was still looking, especially when moving to a different country and not knowing what part I was going to end up in – but it all worked out really well in the end and I’m grateful I’ve ended up where I am now.

What would be your advice to students who are looking for placements themselves?

I would say just keep looking and don’t get too disheartened if you aren’t successful in your first attempt. There are so many opportunities for students nowadays and everything always works out in the end.

Is there anything you would advise them not to do?

Don’t leave it until the last minute; it will just put unnecessary pressure on yourself. Some recruitment processes can be quite extensive too and many companies will start looking for students early as a result of this.

Chloe Magill

How do you think completing a year in industry will give you an advantage when applying to jobs over those that haven’t? (If you think this is the case)

The company I’m at now actually use a recruitment agency for the primary stages of the process – so I had my first interview with the recruitment agency and then another follow-up interview with them. I then got told I was through to the next stage and had an interview with my current manager.

In preparation for this I had 24 hours to complete a case study and then had to present it in my interview with him. I actually really liked doing the case study; it was a bit challenging and at first I wondered what the point of it was, but now I completely see the purpose of it. It’s definitely something worthwhile including in recruitment processes.

How do you think completing a year in industry will give you an advantage when applying to jobs over those that haven’t? (If you think this is the case)

It will definitely give you an advantage – you learn so much on placement and gain so much experience of the business world that is impossible to get in university. I personally feel like my experience this year will stand by me when looking for a job in the future.

I have a different outlook on things now and a different way of thinking as a result of working in a multinational company.

On the job

How did you feel when you first started your placement year? Were you nervous/excited?

I was a bit nervous about starting the job but honestly was 10x more nervous about moving country, so I think that kind of eased any nervousness I had about starting a new job. At the beginning, I didn’t really know what to expect or what types of tasks I would be doing. I knew it would be along the lines of reports and analysis etc. so I suppose it was quite nerving but exciting at the same time.

Compare your feelings of how you started with how you feel now. Do you feel like your job is second-nature? Or do you feel like you are still learning?

Obviously at the start there was so much to take on board but we had a training plan set up and everyone was so helpful with ensuring I settled in and was comfortable with what I was doing.

Nowadays I am comfortable in my job and feel like I’m not just learning things and doing things for the company but also giving back to them through new ideas and ways of doing things etc. In saying that, even being confident in the job, I am still learning new things every day.

Have you been able to experience other roles within the company?

I haven’t necessarily tried other roles but I have worked with different areas of the business. Some of the tasks vary a lot and can be quite different, so this has led to working with different teams around the world, in different markets and using different tools and software.

As with every company, it is divided into different sections but each of them and the work involved ends up interlinking.

What’s been the highlight of your placement year?

The sun. No, in all honesty I don’t have a moment that really stands out, it’s more a collection of things. For example, completing a project that you’ve been working on for a while and are in charge of.

I worked on a project that involved creating a tool on Excel to measure requirements. It was challenging enough as it was quite complex, but getting it finished was quite satisfying. Now that the project is finished, the tool is now going to be used operationally in the company, which I suppose is a bit of an achievement. *Always too modest!

A different type of highlight would be in the office – our offices are in the WTC down by the sea. The views from any of the floors are amazing, watching the cruise ships dock and we even have a terrace we can go up to on the roof – great for topping up the tan!

What’s been the biggest learning curve?

The biggest learning curve I have had is related to my accent. I wasn’t actually aware of how strong my accent was until I came over here. A lot of people didn’t understand me and I had to take this on board as it was obviously a communication barrier. I am now much more conscious of this and feel like I have improved upon it from when I first started.

Chloe Magill

Placements – are they worth it?

Since you’ve been putting your degree into practice, do you think you’ve made the right decision with the course you’ve chosen? Could you see yourself in a similar job once you graduate?

I can definitely see myself in this type of job/environment but not so sure about using Spanish in my career. I think the course was the right decision for me, the advantages that learning a language and working in a foreign country for a year are incomparable. I have learnt and grown so much and whether or not I use Spanish in my career, I have definitely benefited from the experience.

I was so skeptical when choosing courses about doing Spanish with the business and I was so close to just picking straight Business but I’m so glad I made the decision I did. I honestly think it’s one of the best things I could have done and I’m so glad I went ahead with it.

Now that you’ve almost finished your placement year, if you could go back to second year when you were in the application process, would you still choose the same company and role?

100%. I’m so happy with how things turned out – the location, the company I’m in, the job I do, the people I work with and the people I live with. If I was to go back, I would still do the same thing all over again.

Last question – Do you feel more motivated to go into final year or are you feeling apprehensive?

I haven’t really thought much about it yet. I think it will be very different going back to studying etc. after having worked full-time for a year but I don’t expect it to be that bad. Obviously the workload in final year is going to be much heavier than previous years but everyone expects it anyway.

Gracias Chloe!


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