Demet’s story: “Because my tutors believed in me, I believed in myself.”

Demet Kuşman is a Marketing and Management BSc student, Digital Activation Intern at Armani Beauty, L’Oréal, and food blogger at @turkishgirlinthekitchen. She shares how the support she received from the Business School’s Placements team and her tutors gave her the confidence to apply for – and secure – a role at her number one organisation.

I’m originally from Turkey, and my plan was always to stay there. But a lot of my friends came to the UK to study, so I visited often. I decided to see just one university – it was Sussex – and I loved it so much I told my parents I was going to move over right away!

I feel like part of a community here. There are a lot of international students at Sussex which makes it easier to adapt, as we’ve all moved to another country and are having the same experiences. My social life is important, and I’ve met so many friends for life here.

I always knew I wanted to be a businesswoman – to lead people and to have my own say in things. My father has his own computer programming company, and I know he sometimes regrets that he didn’t study for a business degree. It can be difficult to run your own venture without that background. That’s why I chose to study business and management in my first year, at the International Study Centre. Then I discovered international marketing, and really wanted to learn more, so I decided to transfer to a Marketing and Management BSc.

I decided to do a placement year because I wanted to prove to myself that I could. I didn’t want to wait until after graduation to secure a role, as I know how stressful job-hunting can be. But I felt there weren’t many platforms out there to help me in my placement search. Rate My Placement was a useful website and I submitted some applications, but I was competing with everyone else using it. My advice would be to search for “long term internship” instead of “placement year”, which will help you reach more available roles.

I got so much support from the Placements team, especially on an emotional level. They understood it could be a tough process, and when I talked to them I realised that everyone was going through the same thing as me. There were times that I thought about giving up, but then I realised that it was a process and I needed to be patient. Even if I didn’t secure my first choice, there were so many other options to explore.

L’Oréal was the first company I applied to – it was my dream organisation. I’m so interested in the beauty industry because it features in all our lives. We all use these products, even down to things like deodorant, shampoo, and fragrance. I had to confirm my placement in July, and I secured the role the same month!

I refused to let language be a barrier. I had started at Sussex in International Year 1, which is like a foundation year, so my English wasn’t the best. But I decided to just dive right in and not let it hold me back. I found the more I talked to people, the easier it became. The main thing was that we could communicate and understand each other, so my advice to anyone in the same position is to not be scared and do what you can.

My role falls within brand activation at Armani Beauty, L’Oréal, and I support all digital marketing activities. I’ve been really proud to see the end product of my work live on the internet, like this page I recently created for the brand. My role is very varied; I support marketing activity by leading on webpage design and collating assets and product information, designing banners, sending product copies, and raising purchase orders. It gives me an insight into every aspect of digital marketing.

There are more than a hundred interns in the L’Oréal building, and it gives me the chance to observe all these other areas. I work with the finance, PR, visual merchandising, and logistics teams, and I talk with all of them. They’ve been very welcoming when I’ve asked to join their meetings, so I can get a flavour of what they do and see if it’s something I’d like to do in the future.

My experience of moving countries has really benefitted me. Because I haven’t had my family here, I learnt to adapt to a different culture. This made it easy to adjust to the UK workplace, especially as it was my first formal work experience. It’s been two months since I started my placement, and I’m progressing my skills and learning every day. It’s never too late to start something new.

If you’re unsure about doing a placement, I’d ask you what you want to do in the future? If you don’t know, then I really encourage you to just go for it! A placement job helps you learn what you like and what you are good at – and if you’re good at something you can take steps to progress it.

I have so many dreams for the future. In my first year, it was to own and manage my own luxury restaurant. But since I’ve started my role at Armani, I would love to stay here and progress, working my way to a higher position. My studies have contributed to shaping these dreams. My tutors have been so helpful, and I still talk to some of them and tell them what I’m doing now. Because my tutors believed in me, I believed in myself. It’s been amazing to have that support.

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Welcome to the University of Sussex Business School blog. Our blog includes content from our students, staff and visitors. If you would like to submit a blog post, please contact us at business-communications@sussex.ac.uk

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