Sam Gane: staying ahead of the game

Sam tells us about her experience in an ever changing industry

"It’s hard to say I would do anything differently as everything happens for a reason and every path leads you somewhere. In marketing, I don’t think it’s very easy to plan out your career as it is constantly changing and you never know where you may end up. That’s the exciting part."

Sam Gane graduated from BA (Hons) Marketing in 2010 and now works as Marketing Manager for The Hummingbird Bakery in London.

This is Sam's story

"After finishing my degree I spent the summer working at the University Widening Participation summer schools as a Lead Student Ambassador; following this I moved home to work and save money for a trip abroad. I then took a year out travelling through South East Asia, finishing in Australia where I worked and travelled further. Upon my return to the UK I moved to London and got my first 'proper' job after university working for Groupon as a Partner Manager. 

Following Groupon I moved into my first marketing role as Acquisition Marketing Executive for Milkround, a graduate recruitment website. From here I moved to the Guardian newspaper where I held two roles within the subscriptions marketing team before landing my current role as the Marketing Manager of The Hummingbird Bakery. I have been in London for over six years now and spend my holidays travelling around the world.

Last summer I worked on the marketing campaign to launch our Guildford bakery. This was our first branch outside of London so we could not be complacent with it. We hosted a VIP launch party as well as a huge public opening event. During our first week of trading we exceeded the forecasted sales by 114 per cent and cemented our place in the heart of Surrey.

My career plans and aspirations have changed a lot over time. Whilst at university I was very keen to work in publishing and did my dissertation on women’s magazines however this industry has changed a lot since my graduation. This is also very true of the marketing and advertising industry with huge technological advances and new tools being developed all the time. This is something our lecturers were always telling us, that we needed to stay ahead of the game.

Getting your first job after university is extremely hard and I would imagine now, with more people than ever before going to university, it is increasingly harder. Going through a placement year gives you the edge on students who have only academic experience. It also helps you to identify areas you enjoy about work. It prepared me for the world of work in a way that my studies did not.

My first two jobs after university were both referrals through friends and ex-colleagues and it certainly puts you on the top of the application pile. I would definitely recommend networking to my younger self and any recent graduates. Though I don’t wholly stand by the 'it’s not what you know, it’s who you know', it is definitely a combination of both. The more people you meet and stay in touch with the more options you give yourself down the line."

<p>Working as a student ambassador rock pooling in Wembury<br></p>
Working as a student ambassador: rock pooling in Wembury
<p>Sam Gane with marketing course graduates on the day of their final ever exam <br></p>
With marketing coursemates on the day of their final exam
<p>Sam Gane at graduation</p>
Graduation at Plymouth Hoe: Sam at her graduation in 2010

Choosing Plymouth

"In all honesty, I fell in love with Plymouth from my very first visit. It was pouring with rain but the whole open day was simple. Being able to walk from the campus to halls to the train station to the sea was a huge draw. The staff were all welcoming and I didn’t find the other students/lecturers to be pretentious. This is one of the nicest things about the University, it is very laid back and inclusive. I think it’s the sea air.

Unlike other universities where the halls/student accommodation may be off campus Plymouth has practically everything you will need within a ten-minute walking radius. This really facilitates learning, from popping to the library to meeting with your lecturers; it takes the hassle out of study. 

I practically lived in the library in my final year, I loved it. My lecturers were also extremely helpful during my final year, often meeting with me outside of lectures to go over my coursework plugging any gaps and helping me achieve the best possible grades.

I wouldn’t change a thing. I worked hard, played hard and came out with the grade I wanted, friends for life and many happy memories. No regrets!

The most obvious things I picked up whilst at Plymouth were time management and working as part of a team. I had a lot of free time during my degree but also a lot of work that required serious self-motivation. I learned quickly that spending 9am-5pm in the library wasn’t a bad idea at all as it meant I could usually keep my evenings and weekends. 

My course required a lot of team work which at the time I often found frustrating, I later found this was far more true to working life than anything else. Learning the best way to communicate with different people, managing your own workload to fit around others’ schedules and piecing together group work are skills used pretty much every day in all my roles.

The clubs and societies are numerous with pretty much anything you can think of on offer. And last but not least, there is nothing quite like a sunny evening on the gorgeous Plymouth Hoe after a day of hard studying.

As a progressive and inclusive university I am proud to say that I studied at Plymouth. There are so many fantastic lecturers and much fascinating research happening on our campus – I would implore any students considering it, to apply to become a Student Ambassador where you get to see all that it offers and more!

Favourite memory

As part of an advertising module we had to create ads for a generic lager. Our campaign featured some friends dressed up as cave people. We shot this in the middle of winter down at the waters edge of the hoe. Definitely attracted some funny looks."

Follow in Sam's footsteps

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