Joshua Burt – BA (Hons) Business Studies graduate

Year of graduation: 2016

Current employer: University of Plymouth

Current job title: International Officer

Current location: Plymouth

“I’ve been able to adapt to a lot of varying situations by being able to draw on the knowledge from a multitude of modules and teachers.”

Tell us about your career path since graduation.

The day after finishing my final exam at university in June I was employed by Plymouth University’s International Office as an International Officer. As my position requires a lot of international travel, I spent some time before my graduation in September overseas and then returned back from my travels the very next day.

How has your degree helped/influenced your career path?

My degree featured a mandatory placement year, which I was able to undertake within the International Office. It was a very influential aspect of my course, allowing me to find a truly enjoyable career path and base for the next stage of my life. I always found marketing to be my strongest and most enjoyable subject over the four years at Plymouth, always seeing myself working for an advertising agency; however, the placement year allowed me to hone my skills and find the perfect job!

What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?

The most difficult thing I’ve faced so far in my career is definitely the independence of such a role; however, studying a business degree does prepare you for such circumstances. By studying such an open course as business, I’ve been able to adapt to a lot of varying situations by being able to draw on the knowledge from a multitude of modules and teachers.

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

My job is constantly adapting and remains constantly exciting; as you can expect, the travel is amazing, allowing me to visit people and locations I’d have only dreamed about, however it is the humbling and enlightening experience I get from meeting such a vast range of peoples that truly appeals to me. I feel like I am an immeasurably more rounded person than I was a few years ago.  

Imagine you were about to start university again – with the benefit of hindsight – what would you now tell yourself to have done differently?

If I could speak to myself four years ago, I’d tell him to be more outgoing during his university life, both on an academic and social spectrum. In class, attend as many lectures as possible and get more involved; ask questions when you aren’t sure on a subject, and don’t be afraid to stick your hand up when you know the answer! Make sure you take advantage of all the facilities that the University has available, not just the Students’ Union!

If you were just about to graduate again, what would you do differently?

I can honestly say that I wouldn’t change anything I’ve done since graduation. So far, this year has played out nigh on perfect, apart from maintaining friendships I’ve made at university.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?

The really big advantage to the line of work that I am in is that very few people know that it exists! I believe that as long as you have a keen interest in working internationally, don’t mind spending a lot of time away from home, and love the city you want to work in (as I felt for Plymouth), you can work in this industry. I’d also advise you to gain as much work experience as possible within the industry, be that in a placement year, voluntary work, or as a Student Ambassador. Every little helps!

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

One of the really strong selling points that Plymouth University has over other universities is the flexibility in the range of modules I could choose from. I really enjoyed modules that focused on marketing and international business, so I was able to tailor my course to fit my desired path.

What lessons/skills did you gain from your course?

One of the biggest skills I learned during my time at university was time-management; you may think you are good at keeping to a scheduled plan at secondary school and college, but when you have to juggle a dissertation, three pieces of coursework, and an exam all due on the same week, you really do learn that it isn’t something that comes naturally to everyone. Studying this course ensured that I kept to a strict timetable, even if it did mean sacrificing some of my social life.

Did you undertake a placement during your degree and if so, how did this benefit you?

I did undertake a placement year as part of my degree. I have recommended completing one to everyone I know at university, if possible; not only did it give me invaluable work experience and preparation for the future, but it also changed my work ethic going into my final year of study, which really paid dividends when I graduated, not only in my final mark, but also as it allowed me to enter a job immediately after finishing my final exam in June.

What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth?

Although, at the time, it felt really tiresome and gruelling, some of my fondest memories of studying at Plymouth come from spending countless hours in the computer suites writing coursework with my housemates; having other people to bounce ideas off, but also general nonsense talking meant that spending time with friends could also be really productive. Plus, having Plymouth Hoe so near to the campus meant that if you needed a few hours to put your mind at rest it was only ever a ten-minute walk away.

Do you stay in touch with other Plymouth University alumni or lecturers?

As I work at the University, a lot of my time is spent liaising with lecturers regarding different projects, so I still keep in contact with a lot of them, even if it can be a bit strange working alongside someone who used to tell you off for missing a lecture!

Would you recommend undertaking a course with Plymouth University, and why?

First and foremost, the main reason I chose to study at Plymouth University was because of the freedom students received with regards to choosing their own path; by having such a wide range of elective modules in a subject such as Business, which is so broad, you have the ability to decide that a certain area doesn’t fit your future. This allows you to fill that space with something a lot more relevant. Not a lot of universities have the availability of Plymouth.

Secondly, I was completely sold on the University when I visited it during an Open Day; being able to see the facilities available was really cool, but I really fell for the place when I saw the location. Being right in the city centre, with local amenities all within walking distance, was a big plus, and having the sea so near was so attractive that I knew that Plymouth University was perfect for me.