Amy Wood graduated from Exeter in 2013 with a BA in French and Italian. She’s currently a Client Strategist at digital advertising agency Captify – voted Number 1 UK Start-up 2014 – in their New York office. Amy talked to us about her time at Exeter, what it’s like to work in a fast-growing start-up, and how to stand out in the graduate job market.
Why did you choose Exeter?
Exeter has a reputation as a good university, which was why it made it onto my initial application. It’d been rising through the league tables for a while based on high student satisfaction, and was well-known for having a strong languages department; however, all the universities I applied for had similar reputations. It wasn’t until I came to an open day that I decided Exeter was the place for me. All the current students I met were raving about how great the university was, and it didn’t hurt either that it was a sunny day and the campus looked gorgeous.
“At start-ups, every move you make matters, even if you’re intern; they’re looking for individuals who’ll take the initiative and be creative from the word go.”
What did you enjoy most about your course?
By far the best part was having the opportunity to study abroad. I worked as a teaching assistant in Liguria, Italy. The year was such an amazing experience, as I not only improved my language skills, but I learnt many invaluable life lessons. My year abroad helped prepare me for the working world by forcing me to take initiative and be independent. I would recommend anyone attending university to study abroad if they can, even if they’re not studying languages.
How much of a factor was your degree in helping you get your break in the start-up world?
Exeter’s excellent reputation was definitely influential in helping me start my career. The transferable skills I got from my year abroad were also instrumental. I work in advertising, so the actual content of my languages degree wasn’t strictly speaking relevant. However, the fact that I had a degree from Exeter definitely gave me an edge.
What’s a typical day like at Captify?
I’m responsible for making sure campaigns rebook and increasing the revenue generated, which means my time is split between working with other departments internally to ensure that processes are as efficient as they can be, and communicating with our clients at advertising agencies. Relationships are key to my role; both internally and externally. Building strong relationships with clients will help generate extra revenue, whereas strong internal relationships will ensure efficient running of campaigns.
There’s a great culture of collaboration at Captify; everyone’s opinion is considered, regardless of seniority, and everyone’s welcome to share their ideas with senior management. The Captify team is very close, and loyalty is key. Everyone’s passionate about the company and wants to see it continue on an upward trajectory.
“To be a part of something like this from the very start gives me a great sense of achievement, as all my decisions are directly influencing the direction the company is heading in.”
Tell us a bit about your New York adventure so far.
I’ve been working over here for three months now, and even though Captify now has over 120 employees, it’s almost like working at a new start-up. We’re a team of 6 and I’m heading-up my department here. At times this can be scary, but for the most part it’s incredibly rewarding. We’ve already built some strong relationships with big advertisers such as BMW and Volkswagen, and we’re growing at a rapid rate. To be a part of something like this from the very start gives me a great sense of achievement, as all my decisions are directly influencing the direction the company is heading in. I’m learning so much about the market every day, and also have the benefit of living in the best city in the world.
What’s your one tip for grads looking to get noticed by start-ups?
At start-ups, every move you make matters, even if you’re intern. This means that they’re looking for individuals who’ll take the initiative and be creative from the word go. The best tip is to do your research before the interview. Make sure you know as much about the company as possible; from news articles and awards, to the ins and outs of their industry as a whole. Take the time to know what you’re going in for, and have questions ready about the company that show you’ve been doing your research. And above all, be confident in yourself.
BrighterBox helps ambitious graduates kick-start their careers at exciting start-ups like Captify