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Emma Burke

Career Path: Online Editor, Jules B
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

When I was looking at possible places to do work experience in my GCSE year I was offered one of three places to do my work experience at Northumbria University shadowing students who were studying Fashion Design. I absolutely loved it, the students were so stylish and they seemed to really like the course, but I knew I didn’t want to design clothes.

Fast forward a few years and I was studying at Newcastle College, looking for Universities to apply for, and I thought I would just check Northumbria’s Fashion School one more time to see if it might be something I could do when I saw they had started a Fashion Communication course. As a Graphic Design, Media Studies and English Literature student at the time I thought that this fit perfectly with what I was studying as well as what I was good at, so I applied.

What are you doing now?

I am now Online Editor at Jules B. Jules B is a leading retailer and e-tailer selling high end menswear and womenswear. My main roles include maintenance of the website, copywriting, overseeing the blog, product descriptions and social media as well as some marketing responsibilities.Alumni Emma Burke 255

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?

I think what swayed it for me was that I could study a more niche area of the industry. I knew I didn’t want to design clothes I wanted to be a bit more behind the scenes than that and the outline of the course sounded like the sort of thing I wanted to be doing. I was a bit older than the other students as well and the course had a really good reputation for employment after graduation, which was quite important to me.

What was it like studying at Northumbria? Was there a mix of lectures, seminars, team projects? Was the feedback constructive?

Although the course focused on a specific part of the industry the course was very diverse within its field. We covered photography, journalism, event planning, PR, trend prediction amongst more and I felt like I got a taste for a spectrum of job roles.

What impressed you most about our academic staff?

They had actual experience in the industry with stories to tell and genuine advice for all of the students as individuals. They spent a lot of one-on-one time with us which I was really impressed with and you could tell they were passionate about the work we produced.

How connected was your course with industry?

I did multiple placements whilst studying which I arranged myself. We were also able to take part in live projects for big companies like Doc Martens and Trend Bible. We had guest lecturers throughout the three years as well as opportunities to travel to Berlin and New York (during fashion week) to further our scope of the industry.

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/ give your career an edge?

Studying at Northumbria I was encouraged to explore placements and gain experience in the workplace. One of the internships I did happened to be at Jules B, for three months in their editorial department, and following my graduation they took me on as permanent staff.

What was the best thing about your course?

I think the fact that it covered a lot of ground and gave everyone the chance to find their niche. The lecturers were really encouraging and made every module really interesting and the fact that we could take part in live projects was a plus.

Which skills/ knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now throughout your career?

Quite a lot, I think a lot of roles now encompass a lot of skills that you learn at University, whether it’s giving your input on something visual, creating various types of content for the website or print, or adapting depending on a brand or audience. My course prepared me and encouraged me to be able to use my initiative as well as the wealth of skills I learned while studying.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

Meeting like-minded people, I met a lot of new people and made a lot of friends that I still see now even though we work all over the UK and Europe.

What advice would you give somebody who is thinking of studying at Northumbria?

Go into it with an open mind, have fun but work hard and put the time and effort into every piece of work you do because the feeling of achievement at the end of it is worth it.

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