On Friday 2nd February I, along with 8 other students, attended a trek to the headquarters of British American Group organised by the Careers Network. British American Group are a Marketing, PR, and Media company founded by University of Birmingham alumni Danny Kataria in 2006, based near the Mailbox and city centre of Birmingham. Their target audience is those aged 16-26, predominately students, with the company initially specialising in publishing and producing annual copies of ‘The Student Guide’, ‘The Festival Guide’ and ‘The Gap Year Guide’. This expanded to working with multinational companies wishing to advertise their products to the specific audience of young people. By organising on campus events and producing apps and websites, British American Group promote these brands.
As a final year English student, I wanted to gain experience in different sectors before pursuing a certain career choice. While I had seen the trek advertised on mybham and through the CAL social media pages, the name of the company, being slightly ambiguous, had not made me initially consider attending the trek. During a CAL careers meeting the advisor recommended the trek due to my consideration of a career in publishing or the editorial sector, leading me to research the company in more depth and sign up for the trek. Admittedly, I was unsure as to what a company trek specifically involved, and was apprehensive about entering a professional environment within which I was expected to have robust knowledge of the company and questions prepared. As the company promotes itself as specialising predominantly in Marketing, PR and Media, I was still somewhat uncertain as to whether the trek would be beneficial in giving me guidance on work as an editorial assistant.
The trek took place during the morning and the University had organised a coach to take us the short distance to the company’s site, accompanied by two members of the Careers Network. Upon arrival we were given a talk by the managing director, Danny, who explained how the company was started, what they do and how they are planning to expand in the future. By navigating us through the company website and their latest endeavour of the website ‘uni news’, I gathered a greater understanding of the vast range of roles and skills required for the different sectors and how editorial roles are involved. Following the talk Danny took questions from us but, due to the relaxed nature of the talk and the working environment, it felt more like a discussion rather than us just putting questions to him. The managing director’s friendly demeanour and interaction with his colleagues really stood out in contrast to my expectations of a professional working environment, as their ethos ‘work hard, play harder’ further attests to.
We were then taken on a tour around the offices and were introduced to members of staff who informed us what they typically do and what they were currently working on. Again, despite the small number of staff based at the office (less than 30), the range of different roles and how varied the work they do within those roles was enlightening. We were then shown the break room with its quirky décor, pool table, karaoke set-up and, of course, the beer fridge, that further presented the company’s image as much more relaxed to larger corporates. Finally, we returned to the board room where we asked questions to three employees from different departments who spoke about their individual responsibilities, how they joined the company and their biggest challenges. This gave us further insight into the positions within the company and how they, as graduates, came to be employed by British American Group.
I found the trek to be extremely useful as it gave me experience of the working environment of a company which I found does include editorial roles that may appeal to me. Even if the sector, in this instance Marketing, PR and Media, does not immediately stand out as one which is appealing, getting a taste of how companies operate regardless is valuable. Like me, you may be surprised by the vast opportunities available in a sector or company you would not previously consider.
This blog post was written by final-year BA English student Kristin Guzder