BBC Networking, Schmoozing and the Like.

Why hello there, less than 72 hours after my last blog post! You’d think that not much has really happened in my life since then. I’ve read more of the ‘A Game of Thrones’ novels (which is a challenging read bearing in mind I’ve not watched the well-accoladed TV series) and I’ve done some more preliminary reading for my second year modules to get ahead of the game. Who knew Polish history could be so interesting? I’ve realised why Poland is such a strong Catholic nation, it’s because of the Soviet… No, I’m not telling. It’ll spoil all the fun for my peers who’ll be studying it next year alongside me!

But, enough about that. I’m writing this the day after a wonderful event that I was fortunate enough to attend. Thanks to the ‘gothinkbig’ scheme once again, I found an advertisement that the BBC were hosting a networking event for people who are looking to work in the Communications department for the corporation. Whether that it be in Talent (yes, I could one day work on Strictly managing the celebrities and professionals!!), Factual documentaries that some of my lecturers have been lucky enough to host their own based on their historical interests, the press offices, PR departments or taking care of digital media, there are (without sounding cliché) so many wonderful opportunities and positions available for me in the not-too-distant future that I would love to take up. For a long time now, working for the BBC has been my ‘career goal’, so as soon as I saw the event, I signed up. After it had been postponed due to the delightful tube strike, Wednesday 15th July saw me make my way down to Broadcasting House, just off Oxford Street (maybe a tiny shopping trip happened before hand), make some fellow BBC keen friends, and discuss what working at the BBC is actually like.

If there’s one thing that my university does, it is shoving the business/entrepreneur, banking side of life down our throats. However, I know that I do not want to work in this sector, even with the serious financial benefits it would provide me. I know that I want to work in the media industry, so discussing with people who could one day in the future be my employer was marvellous. As soon as I saw Broadcasting House for the first time, I was in awe and had to capture the moment with a selfie. I’m not that serious just yet…

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I can also highly recommend the Strawberries and Cream frappuccino from Starbucks.

I stepped inside after getting panicked that I’d get stuck in the revolving doors, picked up my name badge and sat inside waiting to be called up. Immediately, I got talking to a couple of wonderful people. It was great doing this, as when we were in the networking session itself, we all checked up on each other and couldn’t quite believe what a remarkable opportunity we had been given. I appreciate the time that the BBC employees took out of their day in order to talk to us.

The session started with Chris Shields, Head of Communications. He welcomed us into the event, and I couldn’t help but feel in awe of him and everyone who was there that was talking to us. For example, one lady called Lala who works within the BBC World Services department discussed her experiences within the job and it just sounded like she was ‘living the dream’. Similarly, Kiran who works within the Talent department was name-dropping celebrities that she has worked with which got all the prospective BBC employees oohing and aahing as if we were in a pantomime. I can’t think of another job that allows you to be one-on-one with Ed Sheeran as if this is a ‘day-to-day’ thing. From this, it cemented my thoughts that I wanted to work at the BBC, and the initial talks got me very excited to got mingling.

The time for mingling had come. I put my game face on, serious brain ticked into ignition, I was ready. And boy, was it a mad time. Once the event had finished, my brain hurt as I couldn’t quite comprehend just how much knowledge and advice I had been given. It was also extremely helpful discussing the BBC Trainee programmes with ex-trainees who have just gone through the system and landed permanent jobs. I got great insight into the job roles, particularly within the Digital Media department. Prior to the event, I had never thought of a potential career in communicating with Digital Media. However, with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and this blog, I already have the social-networking communicative skills that would assist me into getting a job at the BBC once I have completed my degree. But, if I was to state the main piece of advice that was given to me from the collective cohort talking to us, it would be this. It helps to have a degree, and it can put you higher up on the career ladder when you initially make your step into the BBC. However, it’s the experience that you build up whilst at university that will make you attractive to the world. It’s because of this that I’m motivated to get involved in lots more during second year.

A promise to myself here: I will get involved in writing for the Warwick Student Union newspaper, I will attend a debating session through societies at university in order to improve my skills of how to present ideas in the most concise format, something which people who write information for TV guides have to be skilled in. Lastly, I will become involved in Warwick Radio, just to try something different. Being a presenter on something such as Blue Peter is a dream job, so if I can get experience at university, it will definitely put me in good stead.

On the whole, the event was wonderful in reinforcing that the BBC is the employer for me. Everyone was great, and the whole atmosphere was chilled. No conversation felt awkward and each person I talked to was genuinely interested in what I’ve done and what I see myself doing in the future. I’m even more determined to work for the BBC now, so let’s hope one day I get there! For the song to accompany this post, I’m choosing the song that was playing in the lift as we left the room and went back outside onto Oxford Street. It seems a bit of an odd choice but this song will forever associate itself with the day. And do you know what? There was no sunshine because the weather wasn’t great. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIdIqbv7SPo

Enjoy,

Sophie x

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