Working as a KTP Associate and studying Digital Marketing at RGU

Media graduate Lauren has had the opportunity to work for Dean’s of Huntly for the past one and a half years while studying Digital Marketing at RGU. Her experience in both her courses have helped her develop her career and she is now taking on a wide range of responsibilities in her role as a KTP Associate.

Can you tell us more about your time studying BA (Hons) Media at RGU?

I first obtained an HND at North East College Scotland in Media Communications. In 2018, I started at RGU after applying through the Degree Link 2+2 route. I’ve had friends and family who went to RGU so I was familiar with the campus and facilities. That’s why I decided to study there.

My time at RGU studying Media was great. Through my course, I had access to a lot of really modern facilities. I particularly liked using the Digital Suite with all the Mac computers to work on graphic design and group projects.

During my third year, I had a placement in London for three months. I was hired as a Public Relations and Social Media Intern by a company called Mondottica. This is a company that designs eyewear for different brands. It was my first experience working in an office, with different departments, and overseeing social media accounts. That was a great learning experience.

I think it’s important to take these opportunities and get work experience when you are a student. It’s good to be able to apply what you’re studying to the real world. And I always see that kind of experience as invaluable, especially further down the line when you’re looking for a job.

Before starting university, I was thinking I wanted to be a journalist. But after I started studying Media, I realised that the subject was so broad that I could do a lot of different things. It’s given me an insight into other pathways that I could go down.

I graduated in 2020 and started my current role as a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Associate afterwards. Not long after, I enrolled in the MSc Digital Marketing course at RGU!

What kind of work have you been doing as a KTP Associate?

A KTP role offers a partnership between a business and a knowledge-based organisation such as a university. In my role, I work in collaboration with Dean’s of Huntly – a shortbread producer – and RGU. My office is just beside the factory where the shortbread is being baked, which allows me to participate in taste tests sometimes. We are given a tray of new flavours to try, and it’s always exciting to try new products before they hit the shelves.

Every day is different in this role. I’m managing Dean’s social media channels and their website alongside doing some academic research. As part of my KTP role, I have had to look at the business overall. For example, I had to do a SWOT and PESTEL analysis, as well as conduct some audits.

I carried out a digital audit of the company before implementing any changes to make sure that I was going in the right direction. I looked at their social media, website and brand. The objective of this project was to produce brand guidelines. It was basically a document to highlight who they are and what they do.

Afterwards, we were able to use that information to pull together a brief for a new website. So that was another project that I got to work on. I thought doing all that research and creating a brief was really useful for liaising with contractors. It really helped us with the look and feel of the website, and figure out our tone of voice.

I’ve also helped Dean’s of Huntly launch a few new products. I’ve launched their Wallace and Gromit range, their Herdy range, and their most recent collection with The Open Championship. I’ve been doing a lot of photography and videography for these projects. For example, I took videos inside the factory, which was quite thrilling as I could see how the shortbread was made.

Do you think studying at RGU helped you prepare for this role?

RGU definitely felt like it’s prepared me for my role. It helped me with my day-to-day duties like managing Dean’s social media accounts and also doing some graphic design. During the course, I learned how to use a lot of different Adobe programmes, such as InDesign and Photoshop, that I now use everyday.

My degree also taught me how to work with different departments, which is really important in my role. I work with not only the academic team at RGU, but within Dean’s of Huntly I am liaising with sales and marketing and also the finance and admin teams. During my degree, there was the opportunity to work on group projects, so I learned how to communicate with different types of people.

Why did you decide to study MSc Digital Marketing alongside your full-time job?

When I started my role, I created a personal development plan. It got me thinking that I wanted to learn more about digital marketing. That’s why I applied to do the master’s alongside my work. I have found this so useful because with the master’s, I’m learning new software that I can use in my day-to-day role. For example, I learned about a variety of Chrome extensions that I wasn’t aware existed. Afterwards, I was able to just download those to use them at work. So everything I’m learning, I can automatically apply to my job.

With the master’s, I’m also working on live client projects, which I’ve found really useful. It’s been quite nice to work on something a bit different than my day job. I’ve also learned how to use Google Analytics, which is a good skill to have in this industry.

What advice would you give to individuals that want to work and study at the same time?

I would say to just go for it, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. I know it is cliché to say no question is a stupid one, but if you are asking questions it shows that you’re wanting to learn more. And you don’t find yourself being stuck either. Luckily, the team that I’ve worked with at RGU or Dean’s of Huntly have been really helpful. And whenever I’ve had an issue, I’ve been able to ask anything and they were always really supportive .

Another thing is to be organised. I think if you’re studying and working at the same time, you should get into the habit of organising a comprehensive to-do list for your everyday tasks. I block out time on my calendar to carry out important tasks, which helps with my job but with studying as well. Try to set some deadlines for yourself.

Finally, if you’re studying but not working yet, don’t be afraid to reach out to employers. That’s what I’ve done throughout my studies, and I managed to get a marketing internship with the P&J Live. I reached out to the head of marketing on LinkedIn and said that I was really keen to learn more about digital marketing and asked if there was any way that I could gain more experience. They were happy to offer me a six-month internship to help me.

Lauren during her internship with the P&J Live

So, if there are companies out there that you want to work for or think you can help them with their social media presence or in upgrading their website, reach out to them. Don’t be afraid.

Lauren Ironside

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