What is networking? Why is it so important?
I remember the first day we started the MAIFB courses, our programme director, Professor Will Higbee, stressed the importance of networking to us. I had no idea what networking was at that time.
According to Google, networking is the exchange of information and ideas among people with a common professional or special interest, usually in an informal social setting. Well, in film business, you will often come across networking in film screenings, festivals, film markets, and after-parties as well. On these occasions, the room is always filled with cinephiles, filmmakers or people working in other areas of the industry. If you’re interested in someone’s work or knowledge, it’s the chance for you to talk to them under these circumstances. Most of them would like to have this informal talk with you or exchange the information you want.
Networking is the common way people meet each other and expand their personal networks in film business. As a producer, that could be the way for you to find your investor and fund provider. Or as a film sales person, that could also be the way to find your next buyer. So as a film business student ourselves, it’s extremely important for us to know how to network with people. It’s the thing we need to face every day in our future professional career.
Where should I start?
So basically, networking is talking to a stranger in a certain environment. Sounds very scary, right? Although I love to talk to people, talking to strangers freaks me out. Especially when having English as my second language, it makes networking an even bigger challenge.
Luckily, the MAIFB programme arranges a series of courses and networking events for us to get used to this process. We had a networking dinner with MA Creativity students and some tutors during the induction, pushing us into this networking thing at the very beginning. To be honest, I was terrified confronting these many strangers at a dinner, since it was my first week in the UK and I was still getting used to the English-speaking environment. Although I’ve only met my classmates for two days, we just stuck with each other as they were the only people I was familiar with at that time. However, that was not what we were here for. We were forced to be separated and talk to the people we didn’t know. It was kind of uncomfortable for me from the beginning, but as soon as I started talking, I found it was not that hard. Everyone came from different cultural backgrounds, and some of them came from the countries I knew very little of. It was fun getting to know their stories. And it was good to know what other programmes are doing in order to have future cooperation. As for the language part, English is not the first language for most people in the room, so we were all listening to each other patiently. The native speakers also showed great support, which I really appreciated.
Later during the courses, we had industry tutors came in and taught us some useful skills in networking. Those were very practical courses to learn from. I’m glad that we have something like these to help us get the hang of networking.
Some tips for networking
As a beginner in networking, I’m going to share some personal tips that help me doing networking:
Yes, it’s scary. And it makes me nervous. But as long as you’re mentally ready to talk, you’ll tell yourself to do it. You can start with complimenting others, which will easily move onto a conversation. Don’t have too much pressure on yourself. It’s just talking, what’s the worst thing that could happen?
I had my business card ready before coming to the UK. As a student, I simply put in my course name and studying level (MA). I also included my LinkedIn and Instagram account, which display my past works.
It proves to be a useful conversation starter. I met one of my favorite directors Anthony Chen, who won Caméra d’Or with his debut feature Ilo Ilo, at a screening in London. He happened to be sitting right next to me and I decided to say hi and introduce myself. When I gave him my card, he was quite interested in my courses and asked me for some details. I met him again the other week after the screening of his new feature Wet Season. That time I was able to have a further discussion with him about his films.
Being polite to everyone is the most important thing. Good manner is always welcome and people like a good listener. It will help you give a good impression.
As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. That’s true. The more networking you do, the more experienced you will become. Do the research and find out who will be attending the same event as you do, then try to grab them and have this casual conversation. You’ll find yourself gradually getting it as you go.
I’m totally new and was bad at networking before coming to the UK. But with the help and support from MAIFB courses, I feel like I’m not that stressed doing networking anymore. So, I hope these tips could give you some help. Good luck with your next networking event!
SSLCs – I’ve got a hunch that most students at Exeter wouldn’t be able to tell you what the acronym stands for, let alone what the bodies are actually responsible for. Yet, Student-Staff Liaison Committees are one of the cornerstones to ensuring that the student experience at Exeter is continuously enhanced and improved wherever necessary.
So, who are they, and what do they actually do? Student-Staff Liaison Committees are made up of a handful of student Academic Representatives, a Subject Chair, and a discipline’s Director of Education. Meeting at least once a term, Academic Representatives are charged with putting forward praise and/or concerns from their peers about their academic experiences. The aim is simple: to reach a positive outcome for all students. Admittedly, whilst that may sound a little opaque, SSLCs work tirelessly to ensure that students’ concerns are addressed and remedied wherever possible; often by seeking clarifications on methods of assessment, suggesting improvements to specific modules, or highlighting areas in which a department could improve in its engagement with students.
To delve a little deeper, I recently sat down with Filipa Torres, a third-year International Relations student who currently serves as Subject Chair to the Politics SSLC. Initially answering “what don’t we do?!” in response to a question about what the role entails, she provided the following summary of a Subject Chair’s responsibilities.
“A Subject Chair is the contact point between the student reps, the student population as a whole, and the department. I attend meetings, write agendas, keep up with the feedback that student reps are reporting, and engage with lecturers.”
Filipa’s duties are primarily carried out during meetings of the SSLC. From my experience as an Academic Representative, these meetings are thoroughly productive and worthwhile. On chatting to Max Jablonowski, a second-year International Relations Representative, he too described the meetings in a similar fashion.
“The meetings are very chilled. We discuss any questions, the Director of Education comes along, and there’s no pressure whatsoever; you can speak whenever you like, and you won’t be limited in what you do say.”
It’s important to remember that these meetings aren’t a forum for simply expressing negativity, but instead, they provide a unique opportunity to propose creative and innovative solutions to the issues that are raised.
One example of this is the recent creation of a Peer to Peer Mentoring Scheme within the Politics Department. Having received feedback from first-year students that they feel ill-prepared for January exams, the SSLC, in conjunction with the Politics Society and various members of staff, set about recruiting volunteer second and third years to lead workshops on exam technique. The scheme will begin piloting two sessions this December. This is just one case that highlights the positive change that can arise as a result of SSLC action.
So, if you’re not convinced of the good that SSLCs do on your behalf; get involved and stand for election to one when the next cohort is recruited. Or, take it from Max, who reflects that being on an SSLC has provided him with opportunities to “meet plenty of new people, allowing you to build greater relationships with staff and students”, Filipa, who stated that a lot of the satisfaction she draws from being in her position is that “you’re representing a lot of students, and that keeps you going”, or me, in that I wholeheartedly believe that they’re the best way to go about affecting academic change at Exeter.
In the meantime, be sure to reach out to one of your Academic Representatives if you have any concerns about your academic experiences at Exeter; we’re always willing to listen.
It is that time of the year again – assignment deadlines are stacking up and exams are just around the corner…There is a lot to do, you have got essays to write, exams to revise for and it feels like you’re always busy. However, this blog post is here to tell you that your work and revision can wait, but your health, especially your mental health, should be your top priority.
It is normal to feel stressed, that just means you care about what you do and that is a great thing. Just remember you need breaks and a clear mindset in order to work well, so you need to allow yourself to take breaks. Here are some of my personal tips on what to do when you are starting to feel overwhelmed by everything in life.
Jasmine May 13th, 2019 Exams and Assessment, International, Lectures and Seminars, Life in the South West, Life on Campus, Preparing for University, Studying Anxiety, depression, mental health, wellbeing
One of the really cool things about studying BSc Business at the Penryn Campus is the field trips!
I am currently in my third year, and have just come back from an incredible field trip to NYC for my BEP3090 Research Module. The premise of the module was to perform a mainly ethnographic study on an independently proposed research topic.
The idea was to give students the opportunity to observe business operation and internal dynamics in real life, in a national or an international context. On the trip, we were given access to international organisations and institutions through visits, guided tours, networking and informal interactions.
For my topic, I chose to observe the ways in which different organisations brand themselves to be ‘sustainable’ and whether or not these brand images held true in reality.
Read below to see a bit more of what we got up to throughout the week. (more…)
One of my favourite things about being on BSc Business is the wealth of fun field trips we get to go on throughout the three years.
To give you a better picture of some of the cool places you could be visiting if you go on the course, I’ve decided to compile a list of my highlights from the past three years so far. (more…)
Coming to Exeter, for me, not only meant studying something that I’m truly passionate about, but also it meant moving away from home for the first time. During my undergraduate degree, logistically and practically it was better if I stayed at home. My university was just fifteen minutes away (when the traffic was not a nightmare) and it really did not make any sense for me to move away and add an extra cost to things. So even though I managed my on schedule and my own things, we all know what living with your parents is like. You can only manage so much.
Clearly my routine and the way I handle things needed to change when I moved here, and to be honest with you I was looking forward to it. So I’m taking this time to reflect how my day to day is and hopefully give you an idea of how life can go by in Exeter as a MA student. Just bear in mind that this is how I chose to organize my time and it doesn’t mean that you should do it exactly like this. (more…)
Whenever I meet someone new here from the UK, the first five minutes of conversation inevitably involves the question: “Why did you come to Exeter?” To be frank, I always need a moment to pause and think back to the time when I sat in front of my laptop making my UCAS choices.
Through the midst of Christmas and New Year celebrations, perhaps some of you try to avoid the question “how is revision going?” Yet, exams are right around the corner, so I hope to help at least some of you out there who are struggling to revise and probably googling the least amount of marks you have to attain to pass the year.
Before I came to University of Exeter, I personally took a long time to figure out what revision techniques suited me best. In school, my teachers would always say “revise how you study best.” Some of my friends would study in groups, use flash cards or even say their thoughts out loud. It took me a while ’till I figured what revision methods work best for me. Below is some advice I hope you can implement to your revision. (more…)
I worked at several education fairs last summer on behalf of the University of Exeter and there were a few questions that were popular from prospective students and their parents. I have compiled a list of questions and answered them here, hopefully it is helpful to all international students who may be wondering some of the same things.
Jasmine December 18th, 2018 Clearing, Exams and Assessment, Food and eating, Freshers Week, International, Lectures and Seminars, Life in the South West, Life on Campus, Preparing for University, Studying, The city of Exeter, Undergraduate
This year is my last year at the university. Dissertation, consultancy project, graduate job, assignments, part-time work and personal life – sounds like it is going to be the busiest year. Here I’m going to explain how my day usually looks like.
Let’s start! (more…)
“So what do you study?”
“Oh cool… but what IS Liberal Arts?”
This is the conversation I have with everyone I meet at university and is why I am dedicating this blog post to explain what Liberal Arts really is and why I enjoy my degree so much.
My degree has officially been over for a few weeks now, and in between reading of anything I can get my hands on, seeing friends and returning overdue books to the library – I have been thinking about the partial list I made in my head during peak dissertation stress regarding reasons why my degree has been worth it, no matter the outcome. So this afternoon armed with a coffee, my typewriter and a huge heap of nostalgia I wrote them up and now it’s time to give them a home.
As an international offer-holder without any experience in British higher education, I’m sure you have been wondering what classes are like at universities in the UK. Keep reading if you’d like to find out more about the different types of teaching you might be involved during your undergraduate course. This blog post is a follow-up to my ‘5 things you need to know exams in the UK’ article – be sure to check it out if you haven’t done so already! (more…)
When I was researching the different universities in the UK, I was certain I wanted to choose a campus based university. If you’re unsure whether you would like a campus based university or not, hopefully this blog post will help you understand what it’s like to study here at Exeter’s Streatham Campus!
More than two years ago, I had to make one of the most important decisions in my life – choosing a university.
I was not familiar with the whole English system, how it works, what UCAS is and what factors to look at while choosing universities – I didn’t know where to start.
As I was looking at Business or Economics degrees, I found out that the University of Exeter Business School was one of the Top 10 Business schools in the UK. I also noticed that the BSc Business programme requires students to do a work placement every year while doing the degree, which I thought was a great opportunity to enhance my employability.
Olga May 22nd, 2018 Cornwall, International, Lectures and Seminars, Life in the South West, Life on Campus, Penryn Campus, Preparing for University, Studying, Undergraduate applying to university, exeter, first year, international, life in the south west, life on campus, penryn campus, preparing for university, second year, undergraduate, university