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Lina Pio

Studied: BSc Management with Marketing

Graduated: 2010

Place of Work: Essential Research

Position: Qualitative Researcher

What did you enjoy most about your course?

It was the people I met on the course that really made it for me. I met some very special people, with whom I can see myself being in contact with for the rest of my life. That’s something that I never thought would happen, and I think it’s partly down to the way in which the course is structured. Everybody ends up knowing each other at some point through involvement in group work. Although I dreaded it in my first and second years, the compulsory course ‘Modern Business in Comparative Perspective’ was one of my most enjoyable courses in third year. It was led by some passionate lecturers who really knew their stuff.

How did the skills you acquired during your course help you in your career?

The main parts of the degree that have helped me were my final year dissertation and the courses on marketing research and consumer behaviour, led by an absolutely superb team. These courses confirmed my interest in the industry, and gave me the self confidence to pursue the position that I am now in. The specific knowledge I’ve taken with me to work have enabled me to transition quickly into working life within a marketing research consultancy.

What did you do during your year in industry?

I worked as a Marketing Communications Project Manager for Apple in their European, Middle East, India and Africa office, based in central London. I was involved in retail marketing and merchandising of Apple’s European concessions. Whenever you see a corner of a PC World or a Currys that looks as if someone took a chunk out of an Apple store and plonked it there, that’s an Apple concession. We call it an Apple shop - not to be confused with the Apple stores. I was responsible for planning the customer journey throughout Apple shops in Europe, negotiating for signage space with retail partners and regional teams, and ensuring that the signage of a campaign made sense to a customer walking around in a PC world, FNAC or MediaMarkt, leading them straight to the corner where the Apple shop is found. 

I also managed the translations of our signage and campaign material into 14 different languages. That involved a lot of work managing translators, artwork agencies, and working with international creative directors and copywriters to ensure the final copy and layout of the signage was right. It was a fantastic experience, I learnt so much and made some great friends, but it wasn’t quite what I wanted to do. The main thing that really stood out for me was the ‘nitty gritty’: understanding how, what and why people buy certain consumer technology products and ways you can change consumer behaviour.

How did you find the process of applying for jobs after graduating?

I was applying for jobs throughout my final year. I realised that I had done eight interviews by the time I finally got three job offers within three days of my last exam. It wasn’t easy; I was going to interviews between exams, sometimes with an interview one day and an exam the next. It’s not something I would recommend. But I know myself well, and I knew I had to do it or I’d feel a bit lost after I graduated and had nothing to work on. People ask me why I didn’t return to Apple, but I knew what I really wanted to do, so I went out to get it. Keep experimenting until you know what you want to do and just go for it.

What is your role at the moment?

I am a Graduate Qualitative Researcher at Essential Research. Recently, I’ve worked with O2 and 3 Mobile, helping these companies understand their consumers in order to create a better user experience throughout their services and product range. It’s very creative and intellectually stimulating. Everyone I work with is very bright, which is so important because that kind of environment is highly motivating.


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