Roisin Byrne, The Walt Disney Company

BA (Hons) Business Management and Economics with Employment Experience, 2015

Why did you choose to study your degree with a placement year?

Photo of undergraduate student Roisin ByrneI first considered doing a placement when the careers service delivered a presentation in one of our lectures where I thought it would be a great way to improve my employability after university. Then I attended employer presentations and it really motivated me to apply to the various companies. I decided to do a degree with employment experience as I felt it would help me direct my career path and improve my job prospects.

What would you say to someone thinking of studying an economics degree with employment experience at the University of Sheffield?

It really helped improve my confidence in the workplace and I gained many skills. In particular I gained presentation, time-management and communication skills that I would not have gained had I not done a placement year.

These skills become very useful when you return for your final year as you are better at organising your deadlines and maximising your time. Finally, it improves your employment opportunities after university when applying for jobs and many students secure jobs returning to their company after university.

What was your placement year and why did you choose that organisation?

I worked at the The Walt Disney Company EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) office which is based in Hammersmith in London. I worked as the Retail Supply Chain intern. As a student of Business Management and Economics, and a keen film fan, I was very drawn to working at Disney as they are the world’s leading mass media organisation.

Disney is best known as a film distribution company. However, it has many more business units including television broadcasting, theme parks, web portals, retail and merchandise. I personally found it very exciting to work for a company that had such wide expansion and success in so many industries.

This position I applied for enabled me to utilise the skills that I have learnt through my studies, in particular analysis and interpretation of data, and put them into practice in a business setting.

What important skills did you learn from your placement year?

Communication: Through working in a large team, I experienced working with a wide range of people and my communication skills were particularly important when organising department-wide retail forums and assisting on front-of-house at licensee events.

Organisation and Time Management: I had many experiences managing complexity and have developed strong organisational skills, in particular, when working on releases of titles.

Analytical Skills: From my internship I gained strong commercial awareness and I am particularly gained confidence in interpretation and analysis of data.

What are your plans after graduation? How has your course or placement year helped increase your employability?

After graduation I will be returning to The Walt Disney Company in the Retail Supply Chain team. My role will be a Customer Supply Planner. My placement helped improve my employability opportunities as I gained many contacts in the media industry. Through networking with my contacts during my final year I managed to secure a job following graduation.

A placement year improved my employability as I have many skills and experience in the industry that I would not have gained if I had not done a placement year.