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Lauren Baxendale

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Gaining international experience for future success

Lauren Baxendale, BSc (Hons) Fashion Buying, Manchester Metropolitan University

Lauren Baxendale

University can be a bit like a roller-coaster ride, you start off low and then it takes you higher to where you hope to get to.  I really wanted to get my placement and so to apply for and then get it was really exciting.

University can be a bit like a roller-coaster ride, you start off low and then it takes you higher to where you hope to get to.

Quite a few placements are international; they do push for that because you learn more.  It is especially true in Asia because you are at the forefront of production, so you have to understand how it all works.  Abroad I think you get a lot more opportunity and a lot more responsibility.  I applied to do an international placement in Bangladesh with Tesco as I really liked the company and wanted to do something with big business.

When we first arrived in Bangladesh the others were a bit taken aback and overwhelmed – it is quite chaotic really.  I found it interesting and exciting. I just wanted to see more of it.  You see it on the television but you don’t think it is real do you, until you are there?  It is such a fascinating country and it is good to see it while it is still like that because in years to come it is going to develop and people won’t be able to have that experience anymore.

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I think the best thing about the placement was going to the factories and seeing how things are made on the production line.  The factories were all a lot nicer than I expected as Tesco works with really good ones.  There are a lot of suppliers in Bangladesh, because it is an up and coming market, but they don’t have great deal of knowledge of the UK market so we had to provide trend reports and analysis.  Meeting Tesco’s Directors and Head of Buying was particularly inspiring because you could think about following in their footsteps.

The placement puts everything you’ve learned in the first two years at university into perspective.  The final year then makes so much more sense.

The placement puts everything you’ve learned in the first two years at university into perspective.  The final year then makes so much more sense.  A lot of our lecturers come from the industry which is very beneficial because they have done the job so they are actually teaching from experience.  They are all different and have all worked for different companies.  Because they all got quite far up in their companies it gives you something to aspire to.

My communication skills have really improved, especially being able to present and talk to people professionally.  To start with, when you are not used to it, it can feel overwhelming but the more you do it the better it gets.

It all gets you ready for the real world.  Everything is aimed at what you will be doing when you finish.  It makes you a better candidate for a job – you need to know about business if that is what you want to go into.

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