How To Get Into Marketing: An Interview With Farrah Ekeroth

Marketing is a tough gig as anyone wanting to get into the industry has probably already realised, so we've enlisted Farrah to give us a break down on how she got on to Centrica's grad scheme!

Name: Farrah Ekeroth 

FarrahAge: 24

Degree: BSc Business and Economics

Job title: Marketing Graduate

Current workplace: Centrica

Long term goal: To be a successful international marketer at a leading global brand.

What made you pick this job?

The prospect of working at a company that has a relationship with half the homes in Great Britain was extremely exciting to me. The role of anyone in Marketing is to connect a brand with as many people as possible and Centrica facilitates this hugely given its already established relationship with millions of people, so it was a perfect opportunity for me!

Centrica is known to be an organisation that truly values its Marketing Department and it offers plenty of opportunities for career progression. Given the competitive nature of the industry I found this very reassuring. There are also lots of areas of marketing you can specialise in and the grad scheme gives you the chance to rotate between teams and so you can gain loads of experience!

How did you get your position?

I joined on the Summer Placement Programme as a Customer Communications Executive at British Gas whilst still at university, this was an excellent opportunity for me to get to know the workings of the company as well as see if it really was for me. Turns out, it was! As a result I decided to apply to the Marketing Graduate Stream and was accepted! 

The application process consisted of an end-of-placement presentation and an interview with two of the company’s Marketing Directors. This seemed quite nerve-wracking at first but it was well worth it in the end! The summer internship was invaluable as it convinced me that a career in marketing was what I wanted to pursue following graduation.

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

The ability to think both creatively and strategically!

Big ideas are important but you must also be able to use data appropriately to strengthen your business case and drive initiatives forward. Good marketers are inquisitive and eager to adopt new ideas and tools. I think it also goes without saying that it’s important to possess strong communication skills and be confident in their ability to drive brands forward.

How is your job developing these skills further?

I’ve been fortunate to have been placed in a fantastic team that’s provided plenty of support along the way. I’m currently working on a variety of projects that span from customer communications to social media. My commercial awareness has certainly improved since joining the company and I’m beginning to feel more confident in my ability to communicate new thoughts and ideas. As part of the graduate programme, Centrica covers the costs of undertaking the CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing) professional diploma and we even have our very own marketing academy at British Gas! - It's fair to say it's doing a lot!

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

The application process for most graduate programmes can be quite daunting at times but it’s important for applicants to remain persistent. I'd recommend taking your time when applying and consider those companies that are most appealing to you. One well-constructed application is likely to be more successful than a dozen hastily written submissions.

The biggest challenge for me personally has been building my confidence in the workplace. Initially, I found it quite intimidating to be working alongside such talented individuals at a top 30 FTSE 100 company but this is something that I’m currently working on with the support of my line manager.

Is your job helping you to achieve your long term goal?

Absolutely, graduates are given plenty of exposure across the business and provided with many learning and development opportunities that would otherwise be difficult to attain. If you are willing to put in the time and effort throughout your rotations, the graduate programme is a fantastic place to network with industry experts and launch your career in the field.

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

Start considering your career options early on – many companies offer summer internships and year-long placements which are a fantastic way to test the waters. As an added bonus, these look fantastic on the CV when applying to jobs after graduation! Be conscious of your personal brand and work at developing this throughout university – write a blog, set up a LinkedIn profile and build your online network. Grab any work experience opportunity that comes your way and stay positive when embarking on the graduate job hunt!

If anyone has any questions about Centrica or marketing in general, I’m always happy to chat! Feel free to contact me on Twitter at @CentricaGrad_FE.

Thanks Farrah!


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