Student stories: Sama from India, intern
Sama Jashnani studied for an MSc in Marketing and Strategy at Warwick Business School, part of the University of Warwick.
Now, she’s completing an internship at Lowe Lintas + Partners, a leading marketing agency in India. Find out how persistence and a bit of social networking landed her the role...
Was employability a big part of your decision to come to the UK?
I always knew I wanted to come back home to India after studying, and did not want to work in the UK. But it did really help me to study in the UK – ultimately, having a Master’s from the UK is a huge added value. When you graduate from a Master’s, you have a different world view than after just a BA.
What support for your career did you find at university?
The careers team at the university was amazing. There would be different events, workshops on CVs, cover letters, LinkedIn and careers fairs. It would teach you about how to apply. This was not a part of my course; it was extra.
As part of my course, I would say a UK education is much more practical than an Indian education. But the careers team were definitely very helpful, and what I learnt about networking was invaluable. I think that was the most important thing that I learnt at Warwick.
Sama, left, leads a presentation during her master's degree (Photo ©Sama Jashnani)
Any tips for students about networking?
Through the Warwick alumni group I got so many opportunities – too many students do not think about using their alumni network. And remember to use LinkedIn; people definitely underestimate the power of LinkedIn. Send invites to top-level people and tell them you are interested in their company, and they do reply to you. It really helped me to get my job.
In Mumbai people think it’s hard to get a job based on your own merit, that you need a contact in the company, but there is another way. If you talk to them online and network, you can get in touch with them too. You do have to be patient and keep e-mailing a lot of people even if you don’t get replies, but eventually there will be one reply that gets you the job.
How did you balance getting good grades with getting work experience?
I would say employers in India don’t care so much about your grades and care much more about the other things that you have done. Warwick puts you in companies and gives you work experience, and if you join a society – like Green Steps, a sustainability training programme which included an internship – or you become the exec for a society, it’s something companies are interested in.
It’s a good thing for employability, so go out there – try and be the marketing exec for a society, for example – and keep track of your successes in that role.
I did finance and sustainability, and right now I am interning in marketing, so I would also say to keep all your options open. Marketing is the main thing I want to do, but I am still really interested in sustainability. For my current internship, the fourth question I was asked was about sustainability, and the interviewer was really impressed.
Sama and friends exploring the English countryside (Photo ©Sama Jashnani)
What are your ambitions for the future?
Right now I’m in the consultancy department of an advertising agency, but in the future I want to work for a company that deals with fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG). Recently I was networking with people from Unilever, so I expect that to happen in the next year hopefully.
I’ve always been fond of social entrepreneurship and I had my own venture a few years ago, but I think now is more the time to build my career. I started a project with two colleagues – it was like a home salon, where we trained underprivileged women to be able to work in the business. It took a year to launch, but then when I went to the UK to do my Master’s I passed it on to my colleagues.
What’s your one piece of advice for other graduates?
Be positive, believe in yourself and don’t give up. Getting a job can feel like the most never-ending process, but your hard work always pays off, and you will meet the right person at the right time. Give it some time and you will get a job!