Desi Ilieva, BA (Hons) Marketing
How a spur-of-the-moment visit to our campus proved the first step to a dream career for one student, with a little help from her lecturers and a great internship
It was while studying for her BTEC in Travel and Tourism that Bulgaria's Desi Ilieva realised marketing was the career for her. "I studied a marketing module as part of my course and I completely fell in love with the subject," says Desi. "I immediately knew that it was the subject I wanted to pursue at university."
"The right place for me"
After taking a year out from studying, Desi found herself working to fund a month travelling in South Africa, but made sure to research university options before she headed off to explore Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria. "I'd researched universities in London and was accepted onto marketing degrees by two universities, one of which was LSBU," she says. "I attended a couple of Open Days, but I hadn't found the right place for me, but after an Open Day at another university, I found myself heading past LSBU. I walked around the campus and got such a good feeling about it – I knew immediately that I wanted to study there."
The right choice
After accepting LSBU's offer, the next few weeks passed in a blur for Desi. "I had a great time travelling South Africa but there was no time to breathe – the day after I returned, I left for LSBU," she recalls. Having settled in at LSBU and finding her feet, Desi quickly realised that she had made the right choice.
"The best thing about studying at LSBU is the lecturers," says Desi. "They are experts in their field, and have worked for major brands. They've experienced things first hand, so they aren't just teaching you from textbooks – they are integrating the theory with their own knowledge. Add in how passionate they are and how willing they are to put in extra hours to help with assignments and exams, and it isn't hard to see why I regard them as the ultimate lecturers."
Desi credits her course with helping her to get her marketing career off the ground thanks to the networking opportunities and the practical nature of the course.
I undertook an internship as part of my course, which turned into a fixed term contract and I learned a lot from it. I had a fantastic mentor who gave me plenty of opportunities and believed in me every step of the way.
The course structure also helped Desi to increase her employability, and she recognises the importance of studying a degree that is focused on providing the skills employers are looking for. "As well as studying marketing theory, we would prepare presentations and looked at real-life case studies," she says. "In our final year we were asked to work on major projects for companies, researching and solving the problems they were actually facing in the marketplace. It was incredibly exciting, working with tight deadlines and managing multiple projects and working as a team – all crucial skills needed to succeed in marketing."
Desi now works as part of the marketing team here at LSBU, and is eager to encourage others to follow in her footsteps and take their first steps in marketing with an LSBU degree. "Everything I learned as part of my course was geared towards preparing me for the real world," she says. "I've been using that knowledge ever since – and I'm delighted I took that spur-of-the-moment decision to visit the LSBU campus!"