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From placement year to a career with BMW Group: a graduate's experience

International Management and Modern Languages graduate Isabel Ashdown, now HR Specialist at BMW Group, on how her placement helped get her career started.

I always wanted an international career working for a multinational company, so I needed a course where I could learn a third language and explore the different aspects of business.

The BSc in International Management and Modern Languages (IMML) offered just that.

A truly unique course

I studied a range of subjects and had the chance to start specialising in my second year. A unique part of the IMML course is that some of the management modules are in the language you are studying, bringing together both parts of the degree. Not many other universities in the UK offer that.

Improving skills and confidence

I worked throughout my year abroad and secured a 12-month placement with KAEFER Isoliertechnik GmbH & Co. KG, based in Bremen, Germany.

I spent the first six months in the Communication and Corporate Social Responsibility department and the last six months in the Business Development team. My language skills improved greatly which gave me a huge confidence boost and helped me in my final year.

From placement to dream job

In my final year, the Head of Talent Management for European Region of BMW talked to my year group about BMW’s international graduate scheme.

After his visit, I spoke to him and explained about my decision to go to South Africa for a gap year. He was very supportive and I started my application process while I was away, doing my final interview on Skype.

Four weeks after returning home I started the graduate scheme with BMW Group. I worked at their UK headquarters and at the MINI production plant in Oxford. I also worked in their global Headquarters in Munich and at the National Sales Company in Beijing.

After completing the Graduate Scheme, I joined the HR Corporate Team for the European Region as an HR Specialist. My main focus is on HR Strategy and Compensation and Benefit. I support and consult with the HR managers across Europe and the Middle East.

I enjoy what I do as I am part of a very international team. I use all three of my languages on a daily basis and I get to travel. What more could an IMML graduate ask for?

I enjoy what I do as I am part of a very international team. I use all three of my languages on a daily basis and I get to travel.
Isabel Ashdown HR Specialist for BMW Group's European Region

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