If you’re looking for a career in business, we’ve got you covered. Scroll down to learn more about what opportunities are out there, as well as how and when to apply for them.
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What business areas can students work in?
The truth is that business covers pretty much everything. The vast majority of jobs can, in some way, be defined as 'business' jobs. When you think of the world of business, you'd be forgiven for thinking of men and women dressed in smart suits and working in huge glass buildings.
However, the reality is that business is a sector that's split up into many sub-sectors, from advertising and FMCG to public relations and sales. As such, the roles that exist in this industry are extremely diverse.
Top Business Placements, Internships & Insights
What are the benefits to students of doing placements and internships?
Competition for graduate business roles is tough, especially if you leave university with no practical work experience. The benefit of undertaking a placement or internship is that you can gain real-world experience while you're still a student, meaning that when you graduate you'll already have many of the skills that companies are looking for.
"For the first time in eight years, the median graduate starting salary on offer from the UK’s leading employers is expected to rise – to £32,000 in 2022/2023" High Fliers: The Graduate Market
The benefits of a career in business
Transferable skills are often referred to as soft skills, and are relevant to careers in many sectors and job roles. So if you start a career in business, you’ll have the skills to change careers and enter a completely different industry. Most students aren’t entirely sure what career they want to pursue - but getting a job in business after university will help you pick up some valuable skills and experience while you decide what to do long-term.
It’s an exciting career!
The business sector is an incredibly exciting sector to work in. Imagine the thrills of making your first sale, battling your competitors for the upper hand in the market or growing an organisation from a local shop to a global superstore. In addition, you’ll be challenged on a daily basis - companies employ interns and placements students to contribute to the business, not make tea for the poor chap who makes the coffee.
Opportunities to work abroad
A career in business will give you the opportunity to live and work abroad, if you so wish. There isn’t a nation on earth that doesn’t have a business industry. Large companies have offices all over the world, so there is a real chance that you’ll be able to travel to different locations, or move abroad permanently.
What are business internships?
A business internship is a set period of time that you will spend working for a company and taking on real business tasks that any other employee would be expected to undertake. As a result, you'll be expected to hit the ground running and get stuck into important business projects from the very first day.
This may seem like a big ask if you're still a student, but the whole point of work experience like this is to help you develop your business intelligence and learn what you need to do to cope in a professional environment.
Internships tend to take place in the summer months in between your years at university, allowing you to earn while you learn before you go back to academia. Most internships are aimed at second years, but first and third years may also apply to some schemes.
Are business internships only based in London?
While London is considered to be a business hub, because it is the largest city in the UK and where many companies have their headquarters, there are still plenty of other opportunities for students around the country.
For example, previous interns have worked for Centrica in Leicester, PwC in Glasgow and even as far as Enterprise Rent-A-Car in California, US. If you want to get an idea of where you can undertake a student business internship, take a look at our work experience reviews.
These include thousands of authentic, peer-to-peer reviews written by previous business interns, giving you an idea of which companies run the best programmes.
What internships in business are available in 2022?
Students are spoilt for choice when it comes to business internships in 2022. There are dozens of work experience programmes available with a diverse range of companies and within many different business disciplines.
For example, there are paid opportunities available in roles like financial risk management, logistics, investment consultancy, applied intelligence, operational management and purchasing, among many others.
The advantage of undertaking one of these business internships while still a student is that you'll develop your commercial awareness before you've even graduated, while also being able to challenge yourself and show that you are a motivated, ambitious individual. To see what business roles are currently open to students, check out our business internship jobs.
What are business placements?
Business placements are extended periods of time that students spend working for a company, as opposed to business internships which, as described above, generally last for between eight and 12 weeks.
Industrial placements, or placement years, can last for up to nine or 12 months, and generally form part of a four-year university degree course (slotting in between the second and fourth (final) year). The advantage of undertaking one of these longer work experience programmes is that, evidently, you get more time working for a company and therefore more of a chance to work on important projects and develop your skills.
Roles that previous business placement students have worked in include technology marketing, analysis, a commercial department, business restructuring, e-business and management training.
Business management placements: what can you do?
Lots of business management placements will allow you to become involved in important business tasks that will prepare you for a life in a certain industry, if you choose to go into it after you graduate.
For instance, depending on the role you get involved in, you may be asked to gather and analyse data, work as part of the supply chain, meet with clients and report to senior team members, run a branch of the company (mainly in terms of retail), deal with customer issues or work as part of the insolvency and restructuring team. Put simply, you'll have plenty to keep you occupied.
Insight schemes are primarily designed for first years but are available for all university students. They last anywhere between one and ten days, and take place during the Easter break in April.
A business insight will give you a short but valuable peek into a company, their culture and what it’s like to work there. Employers use insight schemes to unearth talent in first and second-year students and find future candidates for their internship, placement and graduate schemes.
Due to the brevity of these programmes, the content of insights is quite different to business placements and internships. On an insight, you might take part in one or two of the following activities:
- Short projects
- Learning how the business operates
- Work shadowing
- Integrations into different teams
Reviews of Business Work Experience
How to find the best business employers?
There are hundreds of companies out there that offer placements and internships for students, so it can be confusing when you're searching and trying to find the best company for you. That's why we exist, to help you find the very best work experience programmes.
There we list thousands of authentic and trustworthy reviews, written by students like YOU, for a huge number of work experience providers across a huge number of business areas, so if you want to know what a particular company is like to work for, you can find out there. To make it even easier, you can also split up your review search by the programme type, industry and location.
HR internships & placements
What is HR?
Human Resources is a term that gets thrown around a lot, often without a lot of explanation about what it actually is. Put simply, HR professionals are needed by every company, from the smallest to the largest, as they look after many essential business tasks. This could involve working with managers to decide on the company's hiring strategy and organising team events, to arranging training and carrying out interviews.
What are HR internships?
Human resources internships are a great way to experience what it's like to work as part of a company's HR department and what's required to be successful in this career. For example, on an HR internship for a large, multinational company, you'll be handed real responsibility in order to add value. This could entail improving the working environment for existing employees and making sure they're motivated, to supporting the recruitment team and bringing in candidates who can help the company grow and thrive.
What are the benefits of doing HR internships?
As a student or HR intern, you'll benefit from developing your managerial skills – not just when it comes to managing your own time and workload, but also when it comes to managing others and getting the best out of them.
What are HR placements?
An HR placement can last for up to 12 months, therefore offering you a very detailed insight into the role and the sector.
Below is an extract from GSK’s guide to their HR placement, explaining what candidates can expect from the scheme:
"You’ll be able to use and develop your business skills in a busy HR environment, while seeing the workings of a diverse global organisation at first hand. You'll be applying the skills you already have and developing ones you don't - such as communication, team-working, organisation and problem solving." GSK
Sales internships & placements
Many companies offer students the chance to get involved in sales placements. A lot of sales roles aren't purely about 'sales' though, as strange as that sounds. In fact, lots of sales placements crossover with other key business areas, like analysis, finance or marketing. On sales work experience, you'll probably be tasked with speaking with the company's existing clients and managing relationships, as well as managing your own sales project and suggesting sales leads (e.g. new business clients).
What is a sales internship like?
If you want to get a taste of what working in a sales environment is like, and therefore find out whether it's the right career for you, it's a good idea to complete a sales internship while you're still a student. You'll also be able to develop important skills, such as communication and the ability to build relationships (which is crucial in sales and business development).
What skills do you need to succeed in sales?
Sales is one of the most competitive career paths you can follow, so there are some skills and traits that you absolutely must have in order to succeed. These include:
- Listening – clients like being offered solutions that match their needs, so you have to be able to listen to what they want before offering a service
- Managing relationships – senior salespeople have to manage countless clients and spend time building and maintaining relationships in order to be successful
- Having the right attitude – in sales you need confidence, without straying into arrogance
- Resilience – this career is all about targets, so if you miss out on something, you have to get back up and try again
- Research – to sell effectively, you have to know what it is you're selling, the market you're selling it in and who you're selling it to. How are you going to know this without researching?
These are only a few of the skills that salespeople need, so make sure you do your research on what's expected.
Project management internships & placements
What is project management?
People who work in project management oversee key projects that are important to the company's success, as well as managing other team members and ensuring that everyone is working towards the same end goal.
What will you learn on project management internships?
The work you'll be doing on a project management internship does largely depend on what the company does and what sector it operates in, but broadly-speaking project managers typically develop and plan strategies, offer reports to stakeholders, attend company-wide strategy meetings, motivate their team members and manage budgets.
Where can you find university work experience?
If you want to open the door to your future business career, a placement or internship will be the greatest way to gain some real business experience. Here at RateMyPlacement.co.uk we advertise hundreds of fantastic work experience opportunities at the best companies, so don't miss out. Take a look now to see what student jobs are available and how to apply for them.
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