By Nitish Sharma (lllume Fellow)
Imagine giving utmost importance to academic qualifications and grades for multiple years but still not be able to land a job, despite strenuous efforts. Difficult to understand, isn’t it? I was in this boat not long ago. Despite graduating from one of the most reputed Universities, I found it difficult to land up a job, especially as an international student. I attended several interviews but none of them converted into a job.
I went through Illume Startup Fellowship towards the end of my degree. Through Illume I was able to meet other students and felt instantly connected. They were international students like me and all navigating their career journey. I had the opportunity to intern at Boobobutt, a Melbourne-based startup revolutionising parenting for new parents. My role as a marketing intern was to understand the startups’ customers, come up with marketing plans, content writing and social media strategies. This role helped me take my theoretical marketing skills from university to apply directly to a startup environment. I had to learn a few new tools like Mailchimp, understand Google SEO and content writing and social media strategies. One thing that struck me was that having a degree is not so much more important than what you can actually contribute to a startup. Through my university course, I had a high level strategic understanding but I was lacking a practical skill set. I had to learn these new skills and tools if I were to add value to a company. I found startup experience as a great way to do that.
In addition, the guest speakers at Illume sessions brought fresh perspectives to look at my career. I could feel that I was no longer in my own bubble but that the guest speakers started somewhere too. I could now relate to them and to my cohort members. During the program, we had to come up with a startup idea of our own and I loved collaborating with my cohort members to come up with the idea and to pitch it at the end of the program, developing my communication skills which is a must for a Marketing person.
My 1:1 interaction with Laxmi helped me refine my career strategies as well as the opportunity to interview with a couple of companies. I just landed up a role in Marketing now and I credit this to my experience at Illume. I do encourage any students or graduates to gain work experience before graduating like I did and esp to marketing students- it’s a competitive field and the only way to stand out is to have skills and know your tools to add value to a company.
By Nitish Sharma (Illume Fellow)