Alumni Profile of the Month - December 2016
Alumni Profile - Jessica Homewood
Direct Marketing Manager for OVO Energy
BSc Business Management, 2013
What attracted you to choose the University of Surrey and to study your course here?
I loved the feeling that I got from walking around on the open days on campus, it has a real sense of community. The Management School had a great reputation and a high employment rate for graduates, both aspects that were important to me. The course offered an optional placement year, a term or year to study abroad and really wide range of modules. I was interested in some of the retail modules and I was able to mix up my module choices. I was also able to add a language course to my degree which I was accredited for.
What were the best things about your course?
Having a placement year in the middle of my studies. The whole process from start to finish was a great learning experience. Right from researching where I wanted to apply, applications, interviews and assessment centres, through to the practical work experience and the final written report. I would definitely recommend taking up this opportunity.
The practical elements to my degree have also proved so useful. Modules such as Business Skills taught me the basics about a professional environment and how to do simple tasks on a computer, which are a necessity but are often overlooked. I learnt many transferable skills too, that I can now adapt to different work environments.
How did you change as a person during your time as a Surrey student?
I noticed a difference in myself between 2nd year, before I went on placement, and my final year, after returning from placement. I had matured a lot during that year and got into a routine of working more "normal" hours such as 9-5pm in the library and then making the most of my weekends. Before my placement year, I'd be waking up whenever to cram in some studying! I was really open to trying new things and meeting new people throughout my 4 years, and I think this helped me grow in confidence. Group work also enabled me to understand how other people work, their motivations, skills and attitudes. Something which, before University, I hadn't considered.
What do you do now and what do you find most enjoyable about your line of work?
I'm now a Direct Marketing Manager for OVO Energy, an independent gas and electricity supplier based in Bristol. I joined the Graduate Development Scheme a year after graduating and rotated around different marketing teams before accepting my current role. I like that my role combines creativity, data and consumer insight to make informed decisions. It's a fast-paced environment here and our marketing plans can change week on week, nothing stays the same for long. My day doesn't have a set structure and OVO and my team welcome new challenges and the willingness to learn more, which keeps things exciting.
For more information on Ovo Energy see https://www.ovoenergy.com/
How did your time at Surrey influence your career?
My course gave me a good grounding and extensive general business knowledge that I can apply to different situations. From getting involved with societies, sports and various jobs, I was able to find out what I liked doing and what motivated me.
How can students hoping to work in your profession make the most of their time at Surrey?
Get involved in lots of things! Take a placement year and make the most of it. Pick modules that you will enjoy studying and that intrigue you, this way you're more likely to want to do the extra reading. If you're genuinely interested in it, you're more likely to remember it and can talk about it at interviews.
What aspects of being connected with the alumni network are most important to you/of most interest to you?
Keeping connected to fellow Surrey graduates out of intrigue and curiosity, also for networking opportunities. I'd also like to be able to give back to Surrey Uni and be able to pass on learnings from my experience to hopefully help others throughout their degree.
What is your happiest memory of your time at Surrey?
Leading a team in the Entrepreneurs Society challenge to make and sell smoothies on campus. A long and tough day but I had so much fun, it was an amazing success, and I made some great friends! Plus, I met my fiancé!