How To Get Into Marketing: An Interview With Ellie Ross

Name: Ellie Ross

Age: 24

University: University of Birmingham

Degree: Bsc Business Management with Communications

Current job title: Sales & Marketing Graduate

Current workplace: Bentley Motors Ltd

Career/long term goal: To progress to management level and then start up my own business

What made you pick this job?

I decided not to apply for any jobs whilst I was in my final year at Uni. All my friends were spending hours on application forms and online tests and I just wanted to concentrate on my final year projects and exams. When I graduated I didn’t have anything lined up so I applied for some work experience at Bentley as they offer a 2 month summer placement programme. It was the perfect amount of time for me to gain some corporate experience over the summer whilst also getting paid! That was the summer of 2011 and I’m still here! I have always wanted to work in the Luxury sector so this was the perfect opportunity for me to get a foot in the door.

How did you get your position?

When I first started I was placed in the Human Resources department which is not where I initially wanted to be. In hindsight it was the best thing for me as I got to know so many people around the business and worked on some really interesting projects. I was working with the HR manager for Sales & Marketing and after a brief conversation about what I was up to she came in the next day and told me she had found an opening within the Sales & Marketing department for me! 

I was a contractor within the Live Events team and then with the Branded Goods team for a total of 18 months. I then applied for the 2013 Graduate Programme and was successful in gaining a place. It’s always a balance between working hard and making sure you’re networking with the right people who can help you get where you want to go!

What skills do you feel are the most important in your chosen line of work?

Organisation is absolutely key for the kind of work I’m involved with. I’m currently managing the Seasonal Shopping Programme which involves working with our external partners such as Harrods, Breitling and Christie’s. If you are organised and communicate clearly and precisely this really helps with maintaining working relationships as colleagues can depend on you to get things done. Once you’ve built up this kind of credibility it will open so many doors for you as people around the business trust you can do a good job.

How is your job developing these skills further?

The Bentley graduate programme involves doing various placements within different teams in Sales & Marketing. So far I’ve worked within Aftersales, Sales Planning, Regional Marketing and CRM. Next year I will be doing an international placement at our VW Headquarters in Germany and also a Dealer placement in Spain. The programme is so varied which is really helping me to develop transferable skills that I can use in any role I end up in. To have the opportunity to travel as part of the programme is a great added bonus. Considering Bentley is a global brand the marketing department is still relatively small which means that the work I’m involved with really adds value to the business.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far in your working life, including the application process, and how did you overcome it?

It is always nerve racking going through an assessment for a job but to have confidence in your ability is one of the key things I’ve learnt. If you have self-belief that you are the right person for the job , that will come across clearly to any assessor, (but don’t be too over confident!) There are challenges every day in my role but I try not to get too emotional about problems as this can make things worse! Mistakes can happen but it’s how you go about fixing them and making sure they don’t happen again that is the most important thing.

Is your job helping you to achieve your long term goal?
I would like to progress to management level within the next 5 years and the types of projects and roles I have been involved with so far have really developed my management  skills. I have learnt how to manage large budgets, assess people for jobs, design websites and enhance relationships with our luxury partners. These are just some of the skills that I would need to start up my own business in the future.

And finally, do you have any advice for students and graduates reading this article?

You have to be proactive! No one will call you offering you a job out of the blue. The more work experience you do the better you will understand what you like or don’t like and where your strengths lie. Make sure you tailor your CV to each job you apply for, it’s time consuming but sending a generic CV to every company will get you nowhere! Don’t get disheartened if you get rejected - everything happens for a reason.

Good Luck!

Check out the Bentley Motors careers page for details on the trainee programmes on offer.


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