Catherine launches beauty business four years after placement year at leading global beauty company, Coty.

My experience on placement

Working for Coty, a key player in the global beauty industry during my placement year was an invaluable experience.

As Marketing Assistant, I supported the UK Marketing team in the development of launch and promotional POSM (point of sale material), and helped implement marketing activity for two brands; skincare brand (philosophy) and cosmetics brand (Calvin Klein).

My main responsibilities included; briefing and liaising with suppliers and creative agencies, coordinating logistics for POSM, supporting Global NPD (new product development) requests, selling-in tools, invoice tracking and much more. I worked closely with the National Account Manager, Visual Merchandising, and Training departments.

The fact that I was able to attend important meetings such as Forecasting Meetings and got given real responsibility such as producing brand presentations for colleagues to use in retailer pitches, meant I truly contributed to the business and from this gained solid experience. I was able to see how the theory I had learnt in the two years of my degree (International Marketing and Business).  was put into practice in a real business operation and put my knowledge to use where possible in my role. My placement gave me a real taste of what it’s like to work in a fast paced, commercial environment and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Short term benefits

When returning for my final year at DMU I decided to do my dissertation on one of the American brands I worked on during my placement year; An Evaluation of philosophy’s Market Entry Strategies into the UK. Nas Harrison was my supervisor and gave great support which I am truly grateful for.

One month after graduating in 2013 with a First Class degree I landed a job at an expert fragrance distributor, SAS & Company with a generous starting salary. The biggest advantage I had over other potential candidates was my one year placement year, and I grabbed this opportunity with both hands using all my experience in this first graduate role.

Long term benefits

Last August I decided to use my skills, commercial knowledge and 4 years’ worth of marketing experience I have gained to set up my own small business, Indigenous Beauty. Handmade beauty products made from natural and organic ingredients. I’m currently balancing a full-time marketing job whilst growing my start up and last month the Indigenous Beauty Natural Deodorant Cream, featured in Marie Claire’s list of the best natural and organic beauty brands so I’m super happy about that! In a few years’ time when Indigenous Beauty has grown to the point of needing personnel, I would love to recruit students for placement years as I truly believe this is mutually beneficial and equally positive for both the student and the organisation.


Deciding to do a placement year even though no-one in my close circle of friends was doing one, was a bold thought at first. However, I soon realised I was making the right decision in terms of my career and I would make new friends in my final year.

At times the application process was disheartening as I remember applying to loads of placements in batches at a time, receiving many rejections and I felt like giving up. I am so glad that I didn’t! I kept applying as I was determined to get credible work experience and the rejections just made me want it even more.

I have absolutely no regrets in undertaking a placement year. It has proved a great advantage in many ways from getting my foot quickly through the door with my career in Marketing, using it as my dissertation topic which contributed to my First, and meeting new people as I’m still friends with some of the other ex-placement students at Coty, as well as my first/ second year and final year DMU friends. If you are in two minds about doing a placement I would say go for it as you have so much to gain and nothing to lose.



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