Alice Belton (BA English, 2016)

Alice Belton, BA English

Why did you choose to study here?

I decided to study at Exeter because it has such a brilliant reputation for English and also student life. I was attracted to the beautiful campus, city and student community available at Exeter- through sport, societies and campus. The English course had a lot of flexibility and allowed me to study literature i was interested in and enjoyed.

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

I loved my course- the English degree was incredibly rewarding, exciting and kept me fully engaged for the three years. I also loved the student life- i was involved in recreational netball, tennis and the student newspaper. It was a very sociable, fun and enjoyable place to study.

Did you use the Careers Service while you were at Exeter?

I used the careers service for graduate scheme fast track interviews (Danone) and a numerical testing skill workshop.

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

Since leaving Exeter in July 2016, I have started the Commercial University Talent Program at Coca-Cola European Partners. This is a three year sales and marketing program. I have recently completed my first year, which was a Field Sales role based in South West London. I was responsible for 160 accounts, which I visited on a monthly basis. I was responsible for increasing Coca-Cola's product distribution, executing in store marketing campaigns, signing and maintaining equipment to increase my customer's soft drink sales and also merchandising our products in store. I am now beginning my second rotation of the graduate scheme which is in Marketing on our Flavours & Adult brands (Fanta, Schweppes, Dr Pepper, Sprite etc).

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I love working on some of the world's most iconic and successful brands. The Field Sales role has allowed me to see first hand how our products are displayed in store and see our consumers interacting with our products on a daily basis. I like the freedom and flexibility to manage my own time and learning how to build relationships with customers from all different kinds of backgrounds and cultures.

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

My English degree taught me many transferable skills relevant for my role: Communication, time management, presentation skills and influencing skills. Whilst not directly related to sales and marketing, the creative element of the course improved my innovation skills necessary for a role in marketing. However the communication side of the degree is very important for a role in business.

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

My advice would be to make sure they get an internship whilst at University, it doesn't matter if it is in an area which you don't work in forever, but it is so important to get some experience you can talk about in interviews during University. I applied for a L'Oreal summer marketing internship at the beginning of my second year and then worked in this role in the summer of second year. This was a brilliant learning curve for me and also was fundamental in me landing a graduate scheme as I could then use examples from this experience in order to answer interview questions effectively.

What are your plans for the future?

I am really enjoying working at Coca Cola and Sales and marketing. In my third year of the graduate scheme I would like to take on a national account manager role. Longer term I would like to be a Sales and Marketing Director.

Do you have any tips or advice on being employable?

Always pursue hobbies and interests as it is so important to do things outside of academics (both for wellbeing and for employability). Exeter has so many societies and I think it is great to get involved in a society which you have a passion for and then if possible apply to be on the committee or leadership. Not only is it a great practice for interviews as you have to apply and sometimes present in order to be elected, but also, if you land it, it is a brilliant example that you can use in interviews.