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Sze Mei Jamie
Engagement Analyst
About the placement/internship

Why did you decide to do a placement/internship?

I have always been interested in working in a higher education environment. I was excited about the opportunity to work for Residence Life, where I could put my knowledge of research, my experience of teamwork and my strength in understanding service users' needs into services for university events and activities. When I first came to Sheffield to start my degree, I was amazed by the Residence Life support, appreciating how organised, creative and connected it was. Participating in some vegetarian, sports and art activities, I had been inspired by the diversity in activities and the sensitive thoughts behind them. I personally enjoyed participating in lots of university events and activities and found them very useful in helping me adjust to student life. Therefore, I wanted to learn and contribute to the behind-the-scenes work of these events and activities. I believed the internship would provide me with an invaluable opportunity to develop my research analysis and presentation skills further and to understand the work of student support. I was confident that the placement would make me more confident in facing future roles where I may work in a research support role in a university environment and with different stakeholders in that environment.

How did you find your placement/internship?

Career Connect

Main responsibilities

I review the content and promotion of the programmes provided by the Residence Life team, research on ways to tailor them to the students born in generation Z and present the findings to senior management. I look into worldwide university websites and statistics in market reports for my research. My job duties also include conducting a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis of the Residence Life team at the University of Sheffield and consulting international students at the university on their demand for services provided by Residence Life.

Typical day

The placement started in April 2020 when the nation faced the threat of a pandemic. All work in the placement was done at home during the lockdown. The work of the placement was therefore usually spread over the week. A typical week would start with my meeting with the line manager, reviewing the work done last week and discussing the duties of the coming week. My independent work usually involved online research, organisation of ideas and presentation of findings in PowerPoint slides or Excel spreadsheets. Occasionally, I would talk to staff members of Residence Life and students at the University of Sheffield to collect ideas for the project I was working on, such as a SWOT analysis of the Residence Life team and a design of engagement strategies targeting on international students at the university. Before each week's meeting, I would reflect on what I have learnt that week. I would then report that to the line manager and would receive their feedback on my work and personal development.

What did I enjoy about my placement/internship?

I took the initiative to present my findings of the research on Generation Z in PowerPoint slides. It was really fun exploring the way to communicate ideas and findings in a visual way in slides. I had a chance to temporarily escape from the usual way of presenting findings in academic papers and to experiment with all the features and graphics that I am sure has played a big part in engaging readers and making ideas much easier to understand. I also enjoyed reflecting on the marketing strategies that are employed by different organisations/ universities. My interest in non-profit making marketing and student engagement has grown.

Challenging aspects

Occasionally, there were some obstacles to accessing the information I need when conducting research. I had to think of alternative ways to fulfil the research objectives. For example, I would alter my methodology slightly, look at different databases or suggest new research to complement the inadequate findings.

Did you use any skills learned from your course?

I have used information retrieval skills and research skills learnt in my Librarianship course in my placement. When suggesting how Residence Life could better promote their services to students, I have also applied some knowledge of non-profit making marketing learnt from a module on Management for Library and Information Services.

Has your time on placement influenced your future career choice?

I have confirmed my interest in student support and tailoring services to users' needs. I also became interested in the marketing perspective of student services. In the future, I would like to look for student support or academic librarian roles in which I could be involved in student engagement and marketing of events and activities.

Form completed: 26 Jun 2020

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