Rolls-Royce placement powers Jonathan towards his career goal

Work placements with local companies provide vital real-world experience for our students. When that local company is Rolls-Royce, the experience becomes truly global. Graduate Jonathan Storer spent 14 months with the Derby aero-engine maker during his Business Management degree.

A passion for business

Jonathan has always had an interest in business. He chose Business Management at the University of Derby because of the opportunities students have to put learning into practice though real life case studies, live briefs, field trips and placements. The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) accreditation and personal CMI tutor also stood out for him, as he knew this would support his career goal to become a Chartered Manager in the future.

“The CMI accreditation combined with the genuinely friendly culture of the university through its staff and students, made my choice of where to study very easy.”

“While attending the Open Day I learnt that the University of Derby had everything I wanted from a University and more. The supportive tutors, alongside the amount of practical experience which my course offered, made my choice very easy, Derby was right for me.”

Real world experience

Jonathan tailored his degree to suit him by choosing options modules that allowed him to focus on and improve his key strengths and areas of interest. During his first year, he explored different aspects of business management to find which areas best suited his skillset. He learnt the foundations of business and enjoyed the practical element; he started to take an interest in Project Management.  

“On this course I have been privileged to work on many real life projects which have delivered valuable experience and allowed me to develop my skillset. I have had the opportunity to present to large audiences and attend networking events alongside local and global businesses.”

These practical aspects of the course have encouraged Jonathan to put the theory from the classroom into practice and enabled him to get vital practical skills from his degree.

“Students are often challenged to step out of our comfort zones to continue our development outside of the classroom, which demonstrates the passion tutors have for ensuring their students gain the best opportunities possible to reach their full potential.”

Links to local employers

In addition to the practical experience gained within Jonathan’s degree, he had the opportunity to take a 14-month placement with Rolls-Royce between his second and final year. This gave him the chance to apply the knowledge he had learnt in the classroom, to real life projects for a world renowned organisation. He was given the accountability to assist in the delivery of a global project for the organisation.

“I have been working on a global project for the organisation which has offered me a great insight into working for an organisation with a reputation of a world class business. The exposure and experience I gained at Rolls-Royce was of a very high quality. I put this down to the responsibility I was given and the organisations approach to developing their employees.”

Spending time working in Project Management in such a way confirmed his ambitions to pursue a career in this discipline after graduation. The guidance provided by the University gave him the confidence to perform to the highest standard and form close working relationships at Rolls-Royce. He was highly motivated throughout his placement year following his tutor’s assistance.

Jonathan explains: “Without the preparation and ongoing support throughout my placement that I had received from the University of Derby, I would not have been in such a healthy position to make an impact on the projects I worked on at Rolls Royce.

 “During my placement, the University were in regular contact with me to ensure I was gaining the most value and experience as possible. It was incredibly encouraging to have this support from the University while having the new responsibilities and key roles while on my placement.”

International perspectives

Short study trips abroad can add a new dimension to your business thinking. Throughout the course, Jonathan has had opportunities to go on fieldtrips in the UK and aboard. He recently visited Copenhagen to explore issues surrounding international art fraud and money laundering.

"Over the course of the week we were able to experience a great balance of Copenhagen's beautiful city as well as continually growing our knowledge about how art fraud is used as a big part in financial crime. The trip allowed us all to engage in this new subject and expanded our knowledge to even more opportunities which our degree could take us to after we have graduated, all while enjoying the culture that Copenhagen had to offer."

Copenhagen fieldtrip

Jonathan immersed himself in the world of art fraud and money laundering during his final-year Derby Business School fieldtrip to Copenhagen. He has written a blog about his experience.

Read Jonathan's blogRead Jonathan's blog

My career aspirations

Jonathan was able to explore various aspects of business management to find the fit which was best suited to his interests and skillset. He says: “The Business Management course has a very friendly atmosphere which has allowed us to be confident when working with new people, a core value which I'm sure will hold us all in good stead when we enter the professional world.”

“The Business Management course has developed me far beyond a student. The staff ensure that you are prepared to leave the university into the wider world. This is usually done in line with your aspirations.”

With the support and teaching experience so far on his course, Jonathan says he has been able to mature into a work-ready professional. He explains: “This has been hugely important in my development that the university will encourage you to become more of a professional, ready to graduate rather than be treated as a student - an outstanding feature of the University.”

Since graduating, Jonathan has pursued a career in Project Management and is now a Graduate Project Manager at Mott MacDonald, a global engineering and development consultancy. He says:

“Studying at Derby Business School allowed me to be fully prepared to step into the business world. From the very first day I was being prepared to leave the university as a competent  professional. This was done by working with real businesses, to solve real problems, throughout my degree. I was taken out of my comfort zone throughout my 4 years at Derby which allowed me to truly reach my potential and as a result I have secured myself a role as a Graduate Project Manager, a role which I started immediately after my studies.”

student in the Bloomberg suite

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