Rebecca Whawell - Marketing Research Assistant, JC Decaux

BSc (Hons) Mathematics with Education graduate

When I applied for university, I knew that I wanted to become a maths teacher. I looked for universities that offered maths degrees with optional modules to study education as well. 

The University of Plymouth offered me the type of course I was looking for, whilst studying in a lovely area where I felt I could enjoy three years of my life. I loved the fact that the campus was so central and everything was within walking distance, compared to other universities where I would have had to travel into university every day. 

Throughout the first year and a half of my degree I was heading towards becoming a teacher. However, in my second year, we studied a module where we did a group project into a topic of our choice - this helped us think more about the careers available for a maths graduate and I began to consider other options. My group decided to look at statistics in the media. We looked into how valid the statistics where and whether they portrayed the real meaning. I researched statistics in women’s magazines and got in touch with Glamour magazine to ask about how they carried out their research. The lady I was put in touch with was extremely helpful and I found the whole project really interesting. I decided to ask if they offered work experience in their media research department.

During the summer at the end of my second year of University, I worked at Condé Nast Publications, a luxury magazine publishing company, in London for four weeks, unpaid. This work experience was invaluable, and I am really pleased I did this as it helped me make the decision that this was the industry that I wanted to work in. When I left, the company asked me to keep in touch and said they would let me know about upcoming jobs in their department. 

The final year of university was extremely busy with so many deadlines and I was also trying to apply for jobs in my spare time. I was lucky enough to find a job vacancy with Condé Nast Publications in the media research department as an intern, which I applied for straight away. The people I had worked with over the summer break got in touch with me and asked if I could have a telephone interview. By the Easter holidays, I had been offered the job and accepted to start pretty much as soon as I had finished university. 

After the six-month internship, I applied for the position of Marketing Research Assistant at JCDecaux, an outdoor advertising agency (they sell outdoor advertising space). My role is based in the marketing department and includes researching the audience of our advertising sites in the airports and pulling together compelling statements which will help the sales team sell the space. 

My day to day tasks include using large surveys carried out by other companies to pull together statistics, using different software and to put these into a presentation format. I have recently worked on a large presentation into Luxury brands, and why they should advertise in the airport which I really enjoyed as I was able to pull in my knowledge gained from working at Condé Nast.

I believe having a maths degree helped me get this job because I am numerate, with a broad understanding of manipulating figures and general statistics, which results in me getting basic tasks completed quickly.