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Ep. 20 – Cunning Plan x Manchester Metropolitan University – Student Live Project

Welcome back to What the Fox, the Cunning Plan Marketing Podcast. We’re following on from our podcast discussing ‘Graduate Jobs: Are Entitled Millennials Ready for the Workplace?’ with Digital Marketing & PR students from Manchester Metropolitan University. Stay tuned to discover the benefits of students working with brands on live projects in order to prepare for the work place…  





Read the full transcript here – Please note that this is a rough transcript!

Interviewer: Hello, welcome to What the Fox, the Cunning Plan podcast. I’m here today with Eva and Maria from the Digital Marketing Communications Course at MMU. We’ve just been doing a serious play this morning so we thought it’d be a great idea to sit down have a chat with you guys about the course or your experience.

We had a chat with David from the course a couple of weeks ago. We thought it would be really nice to get a chat to you about your experience and your also have perception and a bit about what you’re expecting to get out of the course and ultimately when you finish. First of all, just tell us a little bit about the course and what made you sign up for that in the first place.

Eva Leharova: I started thinking about what I’m studying in university very early, maybe when I was 16. I was thinking about maybe PR or journalism and I decided that just PR sounded really, really interesting to me. When I started looking for unis, I saw that that combines PR and marketing and is also approved by the CIPR, which is the Institute of PR in the UK. That impressed me and I applied and I got accepted. [chuckles]

Interviewer: Nice.

Maria del Pilar Ferreira Loray: That’s good.

Interviewer: How about you?

Maria: I didn’t know that PR was a thing until the year that I studied PR in my country. I realized it was a little bit outdated and like we weren’t doing stuff from America but really old and didn’t even have digital at all in the course, had a lot of math in it. That’s when I found out about MMU and about the course they had that was called PR Marketing. Yes, I just was really interested in the image and the perception of a business and I really wanted to get on that and that’s what I did.

Interviewer: That’s quite a big thing, it’s …… that way to study this particular course when you put in that you could have picked through numerous other locations to study that. What do you think of Manchester so far?

Eva: Well, in my first year, I didn’t have that much time to explore. I was focused on the typical student things like going out and making friends. But after that, I just really thought that, “If I’m living here for three years and who knows, maybe more, I could spend my time exploring and knowing more about the city that I live in. The more and more I go around, I love it even more. I think it’s such a lovely place and I get why so many students come here. Yes, I absolutely love it. It’s a great city.

Maria: Yes, Manchester is amazing, I love it. Loved it for the moments. It’s like a city but it’s a town because it’s so small slid right into it. You know everyone in the street and it’s a student city. It’s so refreshing to just see people that are going through the exact same thing you are all the time but Manchester is amazing. People are so welcoming and kind and it’s definitely an international city as well. Yes, you do meet the odd British there [chuckles] but overall, it’s just people from different countries like our team as well so, yes, it’s fantastic.

Interviewer: Yes, tell my voice I know actually from Manchester, but it is lots of people all from different parts of this country and all over the world and it’s a very welcoming place which is pretty nice.

When David was here before, we were talking a lot about a lot of stats that we’d got about universities not really getting students ready for the workplace or employers saying, “We get people come in here, lots of those entitled. Whereas people are not– You used to have work, they expect a lot because they’ve been through their course but yet they’re not actually able to do a job when they get here.” What are your thoughts on some of those things and how is the course you’re doing getting you ready for what you want to do next?

Maria: I think I’d better start with a matter of perception at the end because I think that the university has a lot of– It has so many resources. It’s insane how many opportunities you have to actually get work experience that the university provides and facilitates. I think that people sometimes don’t use those correctly. Like last year, we had a unit that we worked with real life clients. I did an internship for the entire year, and then I got loads of internships from the website from the university and they’re doing stuff, they have the iDEA, which to build up skills.

I think that first is just a matter of where do you look because I don’t think people sometimes look hard enough to be prepared. At the same time, there’s only so much they can do. I think it’s a lot I think at the end of day about what you are willing to give Sometimes people just prefer to do their degree and then maybe go to placement or maybe do something else. I think the degree prepares you as much it can and there’s only so much you can teach someone in a classroom. I think that sometimes you just need to go out there and learn it.

Eva: I actually, now when I look back and from the first year that we all started, I actually think that they are preparing us in a way. Obviously, first year was about starting and theories because you can’t go any further without that but after that, they did try to focus on practical tasks, trying to teach us what it will be like with a real life client and a real job.

I don’t really agree with people criticizing that nothing is being done because for example, what Maria said about our unit last year. They were trying indeed to offer something different but many people were just not attending. It’s very easy to not attend and then criticize what the uni is doing when you don’t fully use that resource. I agree with her as well, that there are so many things, not only library but so many databases that you could use, examples. Also, the award that Maria mentioned as well. We also get weekly emails with internships and jobs. I think that’s more than enough that they can do for us.

Interviewer: Yes, it sounds like one of those where you get what you put in ultimately. You guys can get a lot of that and a lot of what we talked about before, it’s also on the employer to make sure that they provide you with the people on the ground, the level of training and to help you to get to grips with what it is to be in the workplace. I suppose that brings us on to the reason you guys are here today, which is to do with the project that we’re working on together. Tell me a little bit about how that happened, how we ended up working together and the idea behind this project that you’re working on?

Maria: Our project this year for digital for our digital module is to work with a real life client, which is you.

Maria: As a team, once we were grouped together we decided that we were now worked as a team, we had to make a pitch, which was quite exciting. We were thinking that was really cool. Then what we had to do is talk with you, as we already have and set some goals for us to achieve for you throughout the year to prepare our digital skills.

We also have our competition, a SEO competition to show up at their main results of the unit hashtag and then we also have social media competition, which is about following and engagement so we are working on all three parts of this. Even though those are not part of assignments we are giving them equal time, how to win all of them. It’s all of that, yes.

Interviewer: I like it. It’s good ambition. I think that’s one of the things that I thought was really interesting when I first chatted with David about it, is this idea that you’ve got– These are real things. These are real things that if you go off and you decide to do this job at some point in the future, these are the sort of things you will be doing. This is real stuff so you will be able to walk into a job at some point in the future and be able to do that stuff, which I think is really fantastic and is really good.

……we got sent you some through a pitch. We got a couple of different people that sent in their proposals to work with us at our project. Yours was definitely the– it was really super enthusiastic. You can’t underestimate the power of enthusiasm in that sense that you want to do it.

Maria: I think that now we are working so much better together than we worked first year. I mean, we still deliver it correctly. I think we never not gotten at first as a team, but it’s just the facility that we have to get along has grown so much. We’re so efficient in one meeting, we can do so many things. Before maybe we needed one meeting to distribute work and now we do everything together. That’s really good. We’re really happy.

Interviewer: What are your ambitions in the future? You have this project is next year and you are final year now. What’s next for you guys?

Eva: I’m planning studying a Master’s in journalism. I’ve got a list of a few unis that I’m thinking of applying, they’re all in England and maybe try to find an internship in the summertime and this is so far that I haven’t–

Interviewer: No, that’s a pretty good plan. It sounds– yes. How about you Maria?

Maria: I want to get a job, a graduate job before I really– I would like to stay in England but I’m not closed to the idea of going back to my country if I can get a really good job there. I just don’t want to get forced into doing something like that. I don’t want to study. I want to work first just because PR marketing are such broad terms nowadays that-

I want– because you’re doing journalism, which is different, but I want to do a master’s in something that I deeply want to specify on. Therefore, I think it’s best for me to go work for a bit and find out what I like and maybe do it alongside in two years or three years. I don’t want to go and work in PR– do a master’s in PR and then realize they don’t like PR. That’s really scary to me. [laughs] But yes, I just want to get a graduate job, which has been going to some graduate first, getting some work experience. Hopefully soon, I will get an assessment day and everything’s going to be okay. [laughs]

Interviewer: Yes, very good.

Maria: That’s the mentality for the year, everything’s going to be fine.

Interviewer: Yes, that’s good, it’ll all be fine. It’ll be fine. What’s been your favorite with the different parts of– it’s a massive course. Digital marketing is huge broad spectrum. I could say PR and marketing is pretty massive. What have been your favorite things to their element?

Maria: I do love digital. I do love the digital world and so on. I love social media a lot. I like the connections and how people behave the way they behave. However, my favorite part about my course is PR. I love public relations so much. I love– Every time I go to my lectures, I get so inspired and fueled for the full week. I love how it goes so back and it’s part– It’s in embedded in our life and we just don’t see it sometimes, how different companies influences constantly. I love that and I love learning about that. Hopefully, one day I will be working on that and influencing people myself. Sorry, that’s my favorite part, 100%.

Eva: When we’ve been managing our social media for the project, I found that I really enjoyed doing that. The whole process that goes of thinking what you are going to pose, how are you going to style if it’s a photo or a video or a text, the status or anything, how to appear more friendly to your audience and how to just get their attention. It’s just really interesting for me. I know that managing social media is just one aspect of doing all that but it’s just something that I found out that I really enjoy doing.

I don’t think it should be only about maybe trying to sell something or not. It’s a way of communicating with people and clients. I think actually can be quite enjoyable to communicate that way with your audience because you know that there is– You post something and there is someone that is actually reacting to this. You could influence their day in a way that you might never even know and that’s great.

Interviewer: Well thank you so much for coming on. Thanks for coming in today. Thanks for coming on the podcast. Where can people find you on the social medias when you win your social media challenge?

Maria: We are @4NTWRKS. It’s the number four and then it’s N-T-W-R-K-S without–

Maria: That’s 4NTWRKS Manchester, so MCR, that’s on all of social media, so Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Interviewer: So follow you?

Eva: Yes, follow us, please.

Interviewer: Of course, that is like a lot of …… today and that sort of thing. Thank you very much. Thank you for watching or listening, however, you have consumed us today. We’ll see you next time. Until then, feel free to subscribe to our channels as well. That’s a nice thing to do. Give us a review on iTunes. That would be nice because we could do with some reviews on iTunes. We’d really appreciate that. Until next time and we’ll see you then. Goodbye.