MSc Strategy and International Business student, Jegan Davies-Jones, recently secured a postgraduate placement with Vitabonna/The Innovation Factory – well done, Jegan! We asked him to share some details about the role and what the application process was like.
Here’s what Jegan had to say about the experience from the application process to his time with Vitabonna:
The role I secured is a product manager at a start-up called Vitabonna/The Innovation factory cooperative. The firm is developing a platform that helps prevent businesses from failing. The initial role I was offered was a business strategist and development analyst, however, the CEO decided to create a new role of product manager for the MVP because he thought it would be a better fit for me.
The mission of the start-up is to help reduce business failures, and the fact that the CEO offered to be a mentor are the two things that attracted me to the role. I know of the statistics of entrepreneur failures and being part of a group that could help improve the statistics interested me.
I applied for four placement positions, two paid and two unpaid. I got accepted to the two unpaid roles and was rejected for the two paid roles. I started looking for positions from the first week of the first term and had my interviews for both roles on the second week of January. I found the position on the Aston Futures job portal under the 2021 PG Talent Bank scheme.
I have over 5 years of entrepreneurial experience gained before enrolling for my master’s so I guess that gave me an advantage especially for the unpaid roles. However, I didn’t get any of the paid roles I applied for and have been searching constantly for positions after I graduate which has been challenging. I have received over 50 rejections so far but I wake up every morning intending to keep going until I achieve success. I think having that type of mentality is key to help push through after rejections.
It was a virtual interview with the founder/CEO. It lasted a bit over an hour and I answered the questions he asked. I also asked a few questions myself.
I started the role on the first Monday in April 2021. It has been an interesting experience, to say the least. I’m learning something new every day and it is something I had never done before previously. I’m working with front and back-end developers, creating user stories, writing requirement specifications, and using agile methodologies to deliver the MVP. I didn’t know any of these things at the start of April but as I write this in May, I do and I’m looking forward to learning a lot more and most especially delivering the product.
Jegan’s top tips for other students looking for roles:
Keep improving your CV, skillset and be resilient.
From my experience, I believe it is essential to be open to trying and learning new skills. I think as long as you have this attitude, you will be a valuable asset to any company. I was offered the product management role because I took online courses to learn python, SQL, and cybersecurity so I had an understanding of coding and could talk to developers. It can be scary at times to try new things because it’s unknown but the truth is that once you find yourself in that situation where you have no option but to face the challenge, you will find it within you to rise to it. These new skills can then be added to your CV as well as other achievements.
With that being said, wake up every morning with a goal and don’t go to sleep until you have achieved that goal and try to learn something new every day. You are guaranteed to be rejected for the majority of positions you apply to. You have two options after every rejection stop or keep going. Everyone knows what the best option is but the question you have to ask yourself is do you have the discipline to act on it?
Keep pushing, keep improving your C.V, keep improving your skills and eventually you will get “lucky”.
We will have more success stories being uploaded over the coming weeks so stay tuned to the blog to see more advice and inspiration from your postgraduate peers.