By Ashley Stout, PR and Media Relations Advisor (Digital), Southampton Solent University
It’s been over a year now, but I can still vividly remember the first day of my master’s programme at the University of Southampton. It was the first day I met our course leader, Lisa Harris, and the first day I learned about the DigiChamps. Lisa piqued our interest by live streaming part of the lecture on Periscope- explaining that this is the type of thing we would be involved in by joining the DigiChamps. I was one of the large group of students to speak with Lisa afterwards to express interest in the group and, at the risk of sounding cliché, the rest is history.
My year as a DigiChamp encompassed a wide range of jobs and experiences. I helped cover guest lectures with world-renowned academics, I interviewed fellow students from courses completely opposite to my own, I helped facilitate MOOCs joined by thousands of people across the world, and even joined my fellow DigiChamps for a private tour of the BBC studios in London.
But out of all the cool experiences I had while working as a DigiChamp, the most beneficial was having the opportunity to work in the marketing field before graduating. I had come into the MSc Digital Marketing course with zero prior experience. As a DigiChamp, I had the chance to liaise with marketing departments across the university. I produced multiple analytics reports and helped strategise ways in which the marketing managers could improve their events in the future. This gave me the chance to put the skills I was learning in my MSc into practise. As amazing as the course itself was, I firmly believe it was my time as a DigiChamp that helped me secure my first role after finishing my degree.
I now work in a PR position with a heavy emphasis on social media management. When interviewing for the role, I was able to consistently refer to my time as a DigiChamp as proof of tangible experience. I also felt an increased sense of confidence while speaking with people in the field, because I had already been doing so for the past year. I had gained industry insight that I would not have had otherwise, and I truly doubt that I would have secured the role without it. For that, I am extremely grateful to Lisa and the DigiChamps, and cannot recommend them enough. For current DigiChamps- enjoy your time there and take as many opportunities as you can find! You never know where they might lead.