Case study – Samreen Khan

What is your nationality?Samreen

Indian

What/when did you study at Durham?

MA Marketing (2010-2011).

What are you doing now?

I am managing applications, admissions and marketing as UK Admissions & Marketing Manager, Pan-India at SI-UK Education Council (An Education, MNC focussed primarily on UK) at their Delhi office. I also work as a goodwill Ambassador for Durham University exclusively for SI-UK events.

What does your job involve?

My role is multifaceted and thus gives me a grander opportunity to explore myself each day. I am actively responsible for in-country applications for all three SI-UK offices; Delhi, Bangalore & Chennai, company marketing and liaising with external & internal partners, including International & admission officers from a large number of UK Universities. In addition, I look after business development for the company, which enables me to promote Higher Education, deliver presentations on the same in schools, colleges and education fairs; while I also work on new age media especially social media for the company.

Furthermore, as an International goodwill ambassador for Durham, I represent them at various events including fairs, tours and seminars held by SI-UK to meet prospective students and parents for imparting accurate information regarding courses and sharing first-hand experience of University with them.

How did your time at Durham help you to succeed?

My Durham degree has supported both, academically and qualitatively while the aura of the place creates an appetite for success in your persona, inevitably. The core concepts of planning effective marketing plans and implementing marketing strategies for business development for using at work were of a great support; while the compendium of skills gained while studying at Durham enhanced by overall portfolio altogether, making me equipped with a plethora of bents. The experience of interacting in a multicultural environment and indulging in a vast number of activities paved the way to a great learning platform each day.

What advice would you give to current students?

Focussing on your degree is desirable however making the most of your time at Durham is indispensable. Try new activities, get into clubs & societies, be an active participant and an all-rounder. Definitely, work in one of the colleges or with the University if given a chance, no matter even if it is just for a day! Be open to learning and criticism, be innovative, independent and teach yourself to mingle with anything and everything. A new place is always a great experience, both for self-learning and exploring.

Any other information you want to provide?

Do not give up easily. Take part in as many activities, events and fairs as possible. Do get hands on experience of working in the UK for sure and experience the work ethics there. Get all student discount cards and travel around the UK with friends and solo; balance study, work & travel and thereby gain a priceless experience for your lifetime.

Please do not hesitate to contact me for any help that I can give on UK education/Durham:

Email |   LinkedIn  | Twitter

Arif moves into Strategic Planning

Name: Arif Fahim
Course: MA Marketing
Graduated: 2012 

Nationality: Indian
Employer: St. Jude Medical, India 
Current position: Associate Manager – Strategic Planning

I come from New Delhi, India. Prior to beginning my Masters degree at the University of Durham, I had already obtained a Bachelors of Commerce Honours Degree from the University of Delhi, India, followed by some years of work experience in Product Marketing with a global life sciences company.

I chose to study at Durham University Business School for several reasons. First, while researching courses I found the Marketing Masters to be a very well structured programme featuring a wide variety of modules. These not only provided an extensive coverage of marketing, but also an exposure to concepts in business strategy, management decision making, organizational behavior, business economics and accounting. Second, the profile of the teaching staff seemed very impressive, they were highly experienced and qualified, and therein most of them had several research publications. Finally, Durham is a very beautiful and peaceful city, and the university is the third oldest in England, so is steeped in tradition and history.

When I arrived in Durham, my experience far exceeded my expectations, and the one-year I spent there ended up being very rewarding. I made some wonderful friends, saw some breathtaking places, and thoroughly enjoyed the entire year. Towards the end of the academic year, I had seven distinctions and two merit-grades on my nine modules; a distinction on the corporate-sponsored research dissertation; and an award for the ‘best academic performance’ on the programme. That was not all; my dissertation supervisor even agreed to co-author a research paper with a fellow student and me.

I believe, if you organise your time effectively, besides the rich academics, there are many extra curricular activities to pursue alongside studying. I participated in the University’s Blueprint Business Plan competition. The business venture made it to the final round of the University-level stage of the competition. I co-founded and was the Secretary of one of the South Asian Societies at Ustinov College. I also participated and stood 2nd in the Strategic Marketing competition organised by Durham Business School in coordination with Market2Win Ltd. This allowed me to secure work experience with the company working directly with the Managing Director, which later led to my contribution on a case study in his recently released book ‘Marketing Navigation’.

After studying on the Masters in Marketing programme, I developed an interest in Strategic Marketing and Business Strategy and was keen to work in a related area. St. Jude Medical offered the perfect role in Strategic Planning. It being a medical devices company, also presented the right opportunity to leverage on my previous work experience in life sciences.

The selection process was tough and had several rounds of screening, which comprised of a written application, a telephone interview, two face-to-face skills based personal interviews, an HR Manager interview and a personal interview with the Country Head.

In my current role I enjoy a great amount of variety due to a dual function nature of my job. My primary function entails conceptualisation, planning, development and implementation of major strategic programmes in Therapy Development targeted towards improving therapy awareness, access, affordability and adoption. My secondary responsibilities involve taking initiatives to reach out to top-level health insurance stakeholders to develop synergies and obtain coverage for therapy reimbursement in India.

I would say that the Durham experience taught me the much-needed thoroughness, attention to detail, workplace maturity and patience. My teachers at Durham have prepared my mind to think more maturely and strategically on day-to-day business problems. Moreover, the multicultural learning experience at Durham prepared me to value varied opinions and ideas. Advice from the Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre was also very valuable in helping me to focus my CV effectively and prepare for job interviews.

The takeaway from the Durham experience varies from person to person. My advice to current and future students is to introspect their purpose of studying on a Masters programme and work hard.