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Alumni Profile: John Rhodes (LLB Law Degree)

Name: John Rhodes

Nationality: British and German

What did you study at the University of Exeter? LLB Law

What year did you graduate? 1973

What country are you currently working in? Switzerland

Tell us a a bit about your time at Exeter, why did you choose to study here?

I chose Exeter for several reasons: mainly because the course involved foreign and European laws. Exeter was at the forefront of teaching European law and at that time also taught French law. Very few Universities were as forward thinking. I knew I would be using my languages in my career. Secondly, Exeter’s surrounding area is one of the most beautiful in the country and I did not fancy being in an urban sprawl, having been brought up in London. Thirdly, it’s a long way from anywhere!

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

The friendliness of the teaching staff (although Professor Parker was a bit scary) and the size of the University, in those days only 4.000 students!

Did you use the Careers Service while you were at Exeter? If so, how did they help you?

No, I didn’t need to, I made my own enquiries.

Your career,  what have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?

I became a Solicitor and found a firm in London which needed German speakers. (That was not so easy as most just wanted French speakers for their Paris and/or Brussels offices). The two firms I found both made me offers of articles and I accepted one. I became a Partner in that firm, and eventually Head of the German Department (we had offices in Hamburg and Frankfurt). I ran the Frankfurt Office for a while. I was with that firm for 32 years and then, when the firm’s fortunes waned, decided to look outside the box and joined a commercial and international firm in Zurich. Now I know why I studied trusts at Exeter!

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I advise on English law in a Swiss law firm. The Swiss lawyers come to for advice on their English law/English language cases, litigation, arbitration, contracts and I advise clients who may have business or assets in Switzerland who require assistance -company/commercial or tax/trusts.

How have your University of Exeter studies helped in your career?

Everything one learns at University has some relevance at some point. I never thought trusts law would come to so important for me. Of course company law and commercial law were the backbone of my career. Criminal law was fascinating in the first year but of little practical use as it turned out.

Do you have any advice for current students wishing to pursue your career?

If you are a German speaker, do get in touch with the British-German Jurists Association who will guide you towards those firms, all round the country, and abroad, who will be most interested in giving you articles, or a summer placement.

What are your plans for the future?

I am nearing retirement age. Luckily, or unluckily, I can work as long as I wish…..

Do you have any tips or advice on being employable?

I used to interview prospective trainees. Ensure your CV has no spelling errors and that your referees know they are your referees (I once received a very poor reference from an academic – he said he neither liked nor trusted the applicant!). Make sure the CV includes all hobbies and extracurricular interests. If you speak a language, say so and mention how fluent you are. Particularly if your grades are mediocre, you have to sell yourself in some other way.

Student Case Study: Saudi British Joint Business Council

Name of Student:  Sophie Wormley

Degree Subject:  BSc Politics and International Relations

Job Title: Membership and Marketing Assistant

Company Name:  Saudi British Joint Business Council

Description of Company: We are an independent and private sector-led body, which aims to develop and enhance business relations between Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom. Through both its British and Saudi members and its Secretariat in London and Riyadh, the council offers a range of services and provides access to high-level governmental and private sector networks in Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom.

Type of Internship:  Student Business Partnerships (SBPs) 

What were your key duties and responsibilities during your internship?

Throughout this internship I have had many responsibilities including marketing events, recruiting new members, drafting the monthly newsletter and helped organise our big event.

What outputs and outcomes did you deliver for your employer?  

One output I produced was the monthly newsletter which I drafted each month, this would inform the members of any updates to our organisation as well as some news updates in Saudi Arabia. We would encourage members to take part in our upcoming events and it certainly increased the engagement. Another output I produced was marketing our organisation’s events on LinkedIn to increase awareness of not only our events but also our organisation to encourage new members to join. Through several posts, the organisation’s LinkedIn gained many followers.

What was your biggest achievement on your internship?

My biggest achievement was my input in ensuring the smoothness of the big event we ran. SBJBC hosted the ‘UK/Saudi Sustainable Investment Forum’ in mid July and it required a lot of effort in all areas. My role was to market the event as well as complete a lot of admin tasks including creating spreadsheets of the attendees and ensuring they had the relevant documents (ie. approval and Covid restrictions). As a result of my work, the event ran very smoothly and was well organised across all areas.

What did not go so well on your internship? How did you overcome any challenges?

I certainly felt shy at some points in the internship and lacked the confidence to talk on group calls. However, throughout the course of my internship I have made a considerable effort to improve on this. Through researching the events and asking questions, I now feel a lot more confident speaking on calls.

Skills Learnt: 

  • Ability to Work Under Pressure
  • Organisation
  • Leadership
  • Strategic Planning
  • Decision Making

Attributes Developed:

  • Logical thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Independence
  • Work Ethic
  • Professionalism

Your message to other students considering a similar job role, organisation or sector?

“I have loved completing my internship this summer. Not only has it massively improved my confidence, it has given me many employability skills which will certainly help in the future. I have learned the importance of team work, especially working within such a small team as I have had constant communication with my colleagues. Although I may have felt shy at some points, I overcame this by asking questions and carrying out lots of research to ensure I felt confident speaking on calls.”

 

Student Case Study : Caxton FX

Name of Student:  Olive Stansfield

Degree Subject: BSc Economics

Job Title: Corporate Intern

Company Name:  Caxton FX

Description of Company: Caxton FX is a UK-based foreign exchange, international payments and prepaid card provider based at Portland House in Westminster, London, England. It is a registered money service business with HM Revenue and Customs and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Type of Internship:   Access to Internships (A2I)

What were your key duties and responsibilities during your internship?

Competitor analysis, analysis of low-profit customers and administrative tasks.

What outputs and outcomes did you deliver for your employer?  

Outputs: two competitor research reports for the two main products offered by my employer. Outcomes: a resource for all staff members to use e.g. when on sales calls to assist in promoting Caxton above its competitors. My research were also used by marketing to assist in development of new social media campaign.


What did not go so well on your internship? How did you overcome any challenges?

I struggled with ensuring I was still included in team meetings as this internship was remote. I feel that if this internship was not remote I would have gained more experience and been involved in more tasks.

Skills Learnt: 

  • Teamwork and Collaboration
  • Customer Service
  • Researching
  • Organisation

Attributes Developed:

  • Commercial Awareness
  • Independence
  • Work Ethic
  • Professionalism

Your message to other students considering a similar job role, organisation or sector?

“I really enjoyed this opportunity and I am very grateful to the University for enabling the internship. I’ve gained some very important employability skills and am now interviewing for a full-time role within the company!”

Student Case Study: SwapNation

Name of Student:  Mel Watt

Degree Subject: BA History with Study Abroad

Job Title: Sustainability Manager

Company Name:  SwapNation (formerly known as The Dress Change)

Description of Company: We are the UK’s first Peer to Peer Exchange Platform! We make sustainable fashion affordable for women in the UK, by creating an online space to exchange clothing, shoes and accessories with each other. We provide rewards for our members in the form of events, discounts and goodies from local small sustainable companies. Exchanging fashion means we are both saving money and helping the environment, by reducing the amount that ends up in landfill.

Type of Internship:   Access to Internships (A2I) 

What were your key duties and responsibilities during your internship?

My overall role was to enhance SwapNation’s sustainability policies and messaging by: 1) Producing creative outputs including website copy, blog posts, Instagram posts, TikTok videos, and co-ordinating social media campaigns 2) Reviewing SwapNation’s sustainability policies and making recommendations for improvement 3) Sending out a press release and securing press coverage 4) Helping co-organise and host the SwapNation studio – the UK’s first permanent swap shop – and launch event with influencers and journalists 5) Conducting research on the circular fashion industry and our main competitors

What outputs and outcomes did you deliver for your employer?  

I delivered many outputs including:

1) Writing a website page on sustainability so SwapNation can enhance its USP

2) Creating multiple blog posts and social media content to enhance awareness and click-throughs to our service

3) Planning #Swaptober, a social media campaign and pledge that will heighten public awareness and willingness to swap

4) Successfully distributing a press release which has garnered press interest and secured coverage in an online newsletter and publication

5) Networking with influencers, journalists and businesses to secure future collaboration and coverage

6) Creating an industry research report to help us better understand how to target our chosen demographic

What was your biggest achievement on your internship?

I was tasked with boosting the visibility of SwapNation which I achieved through a range of social media outputs, press coverage and our launch event. I curated the guest list for our opening event which included high-profile fashion and sustainability influencers and journalists. The event was a huge success, generating both press and influencer coverage and greatly bolstering our traffic. It was a worthwhile networking event and one that has seen a rise of visitors to our studio.

What did not go so well on your internship? How did you overcome any challenges?

Myself and the SwapNation team were interviewed for a BBC News segment which showcased the opening of the UK’s first swap studio. However, I was really unhappy with the way it was edited because it made me appear somewhat inarticulate and unable to calculate numbers in my head. I felt embarrassed that I had been misrepresented on national television, but showed resilience in making light of the situation and appreciating that the feature had greatly boosted SwapNation’s traffic regardless.

Skills Learnt: 

  • Organisation
  • Customer Service
  • Teamwork and Collaboration
  • Leadership
  • Strategic Planning

Attributes Developed:

  • Logical thinking
  • Initiative
  • Commercial Awareness
  • Creative thinking
  • Work Ethic

Your message to other students considering a similar job role, organisation or sector?

“As Sustainability Manager at SwapNation – the UK’s first peer-to-peer exchange platform and swap studio – I enhanced the company’s sustainability policies and messaging. I achieved this by researching and creating a variety of outputs including social media content, website copy and blog posts, as well as co-organising an influencer event and securing press coverage. Combined, my work demonstrated the sustainable benefits of clothes swapping, enhanced consumer awareness around swapping and platformed swapping as your guilt-free alternative to shopping, in store and online.”

 

Employer Case Study: Procura Consulting 

Name of Organisation: Procura Consulting

Description of Organisation: Procura Consulting is a boutique management consultancy firm specialising in procurement and supply chain optimisation. Our consultants work closely with all kinds of organisations to improve their profitability by identifying, delivering and maintaining savings in procurement expenditure.

Founded in 2016 we have grown rapidly fuelled by a compelling service offer to clients and a commitment to the highest standards of professionalism and operational excellence. Our success has been recognised with recent nominations for the Management Consultancy Association’s “Best New Consultancy” and “Commercial Excellence” awards.

Name of Employer:  Luke Abbott

Job Title: Manager

Internship Scheme usedGreen Consultants 

Feedback:

“We recruited an intern from the Green Consultant scheme to help develop our Sustainable Procurement service. We are developing a new service that focuses on helping organisations become more sustainable by utilising their procurement function and supply chain.

Our intern researched sustainable solutions and suppliers in different areas of spend, for example, IT and completed completed a number of internal projects focusing on the sustainability of Procura as a business and formulated some great ideas for our sustainable procurement service.

She was a fantastic intern who really took initiative in tasks. Her passion for sustainability is clear. We asked the student to come back and work for us, we offered her a one-month internship in October this year to continue her great work which she accepted. I expect we will offer her another internship or possibly a graduate role once our Sustainable Procurement service is up and running.”

Morgan Hill Consultants – Employer Case Study

 

Name of Organisation: Morgan Hill Consultants

Description of Organisation: We are a team comprising ex CIO’s of multinational businesses, finance professionals, data analysts, data scientists and systems architects. Together we bring hundreds of years of experience in delivering deep insight, cost optimisation and effective deployment of technology inside large organisations.

Name of Employer: Nigel Duke

Job Title: Managing Director

Internship Scheme used:  SBP

Student Business Partnership (SBP) – Employment Services – University of Exeter

Feedback:

We recruited a Data Analyst Support Intern through the Student Business Partnership with the University of Exeter. They helped with the development of a very promising ML algorithm to classify finance data for further analytics. It all went according to plan, there were no issues at all, and it was produced for a very high standard.

We were very impressed with the calibre of the student. We offered our intern an extension which she accepted, and we look forward to continuing working with her.

Our experience was very positive. Our intern was extremely intelligent, diligent, co-operative and very willing to get involved. It was a very positive experience and one that I hope may be repeated.

Twenti Ltd – Employer Case Study

Name of Organisation:  Twenti Ltd – twenti.com

Description of Organisation: We use digital marketing and the Google Ad Grants to help charities get found online, engage more supporters and receive more funding to achieve their mission. With sustainability at our core and by helping charities and non-profit organisations reach those in need we hope to make the world a better place.

Name of Employer:  Luke Barratt

Job Title: Chief Executive Officer

Internship Scheme used:  A2I

Employer subsidies (A2I) – Employment Services – University of Exeter

Feedback:

We recruited an intern to work as a Content Creator for us through the Internship Scheme with the University of Exeter.

Our intern was involved on client projects which received extremely positive feedback and led to repeat business which was fantastic.

The student was very well prepared for the workplace and was an extremely welcome addition to the content creation team. She provided great value on both a strategic and operational level for the company and our clients. Her ability to work independently and learn quickly on the job was instrumental in helping us reach our targets and refine our social media strategy.

I recommend her and the A2I scheme 120% to other employers in the digital marketing industry. The whole experience was very positive and our intern was very beneficial to us as a company and as a team.

Quote from Intern:

“I brainstormed and planned campaigns with team members as well as found a good software to use to implement this, which was then adopted by the rest of the team.”

 

 

Saudi British Joint Business Council- Employer Case Study

Name of Organisation: Saudi British Joint Business Council

Description of Organisation: We are an independent and private sector-led body, which aims to develop and enhance business relations between Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom. Through both its British and Saudi members and its Secretariat in London and Riyadh, the council offers a range of services and provides access to high-level governmental and private sector networks in Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom.

Name of Employer: Chris Innes-Hopkins

Job Title: UK Executive Director

Internship Scheme used:  A2I, SBP

Employer subsidies (A2I) – Employment Services – University of Exeter

Student Business Partnership (SBP) – Employment Services – University of Exeter

Feedback:

We hired a Business Council Membership and Marketing Assistant through the University of Exeter Internship Scheme. The intern was prepared for the workplace and worked extremely well. He made an excellent contribution to SBJBC’s work and events, including leading on development of a new website.

The intern quickly made an impression and became a valuable member of our small team, leading on a number of events as well as preparation also. He demonstrated flexibility through remote working, working when necessary.

This is the sixth time we have used the University’s Internship scheme, and as before it was a very positive experience. We received a good service from the Internships Team and would definitely recommend the Internships Scheme to other employers.

The Exeter internships at SBJBC have offered students the opportunity to help manage high profile events and important business relationships.  We were so impressed by the calibre of the student that we extended his role and offered him a full-time role for another six months to take forward a number of new projects. It’s pleasing to know that many interns have used the experience to move onto relevant careers in public and government affairs and communications.

This is the sixth time we have used the University’s Internship scheme, and as before it was a very positive experience. We received a good service from the Internships Team and would definitely recommend the Internships Scheme to other employers

 

Administration Intern – Royal Geographical Society

globe

What were your main duties and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

Helping sort the RGS records and archives, with 5 other interns. We also shadowed members of staff in different divisions to grasp the various aspects of what the RGS does, and worked in the fundraising, education, research & higher education departments. We were responsible for handling confidential membership material and for organising important archives for their journals.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

I lost my fear of not fitting in, as I was nervous that I wouldn’t. Within a few hours I felt very confident and at home there, the staff made us feel very welcome and I picked up some professional vocabulary that I feel comfortable using now.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I helped them sort out some of their many paper archives to aid them transition to becoming a more digitised organisation, and helped the education department by planning school visit sessions for them.

 

Recruitment Resourcing Intern

pexels-photo-70292

What were your main duties and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

I was responsible for resourcing new candidates through head hunting, cold calling, Linkedin message and email – working towards my target of 20 active candidates per week. I also identified and contacted relevant candidates from the company’s existing database. I carried out the initial screening of candidates for senior consultant, either through a phone call or email communication. I was tasked with formatting candidate CVs and job specs, with a quick ten minute turn-around time, whilst still maintaining accuracy and attention to detail. I also picked out relevant and interesting media related news articles to post to the company social media page each morning. Finally, I developed and maintained resourcing spreadsheet in Excel and researched and built organisation charts for key clients.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

I gained full end to end knowledge of the market in which I was recruiting (Ad Operations and the Programmatic landscape), something of which I had no knowledge before starting my internship. After receiving my initial training, I presented my understanding of the market back to the team. Towards the end of my internship, I then did my presentation for a second time, this time explaining my deeper understanding and working to improve on my first attempt.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

In my role as a resourcer, I was responsible for contacting as many relevant candidates as possible. Over the course of my internship, I initiated conversation with around 400 different people, finding whether out whether or not they were open to new opportunities. Of this, around 130 people were interested in new opportunities – I liased between these candidates and my senior consultant, in order to gain their details and work out which roles they would be suitable for. Of my sourced candidates, 16 different people had 30 different interviews, as a result of me contacting them.

Did you encounter any problems during the course of your internship and if so, how did you overcome them?

I encountered a difficulty in that, as an intern, I didn’t have access to a ‘Linkedin Recruiter’ account which enables you to message an unlimited number of potential candidates, and is an essential resource to the rest of the team in order to reach as many people as possible. I was therefore unable to use the search function on Linkedin, and so was limited in the number of candidates I was able to find. I overcame this my alerting my senior colleague to the issue and asking for a list of names I could work through manually instead.

“Caitlin has been a valuable asset to our team. She has picked up significant knowledge of the digital advertising industry and is now interviewing for two full time positions within digital advertising due to the experience gained with us” – Line Manager.