Hayley Hewett, Sainsbury’s graduate scheme
How did studying at Pearson College London help you get into the world of business?
I couldn’t speak more highly of Pearson College London, when I first joined it was in its embryo stage so it was pretty risky but… it was one of the best decisions that I have made. After studying the three sciences and maths at a-level I got frustrated by sitting in a classroom and learning subjects that I couldn’t easily apply to everyday life; I wanted a degree that was more in touch with the world around us. I believe Pearson College London is just that, many of the lecturers own their own businesses or have worked in industry so they taught us content that was up-to-date and applicable to real life business. Having that depth of knowledge helped me to stand out when applying for graduate schemes.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am lucky enough to be on the Sainsbury’s graduate scheme – lucky, because it is a super duper great company. If you speak to anybody who knows me they will tell you how obsessed I am with supermarkets.
The scheme is two years long, currently I am working as a Project Manager in Online Operations. I really enjoy this as I get to use creative problem solving every day, I enjoy the responsibility of making decisions that have a real impact on the business.
After this placement, I get to work in store for 6 months to understand how stores operate from the inside, this will help me to make more informed decisions when I return to Head Office. I will then complete two final six-month placements – hopefully in Marketing and Buying. If anybody is thinking of a career in retail please feel free to contact me, I am always happy to help!
What lessons have you learnt during your time studying and your time working in business?
I have learnt to be patient when faced with a new challenge, sometimes all it takes is time and a bit of head space to find a solution.
What was your favourite part of studying at Pearson College London?
I think the endless amount of opportunities you get along the way: I was able to set up my own business; work with the marketing team at Savills to redesign their graduate marketing communications and; visit the IBM innovation lab in Winchester. I loved the learning-by-doing approach, it is incredible the energy and care that the staff take to build a programme like this.
If you had to sum up your time at Pearson College London in one word, what would it be and why?
Insightful – it opened my eyes to the world of business and all the exciting jobs that a business degree can get you.
Tell us about your start-up, Reel Time Art?
In my second year of university I took part in a workshop called the Commercial Project, where I pitched and gained £2000 investment (and a fabulous team made up of four of my peers) to a Pearson College London decision board. The business had a mission to capture memories at events such as weddings/ graduations/anniversaries in a unique way through live art. We took art students from local universities to these events where they painted the key moments, such as the first dance, in front of the guest’s eyes. It was great fun to set up and see my idea come to life.
What's your favourite brand and why?
I’m not really a ‘brand-lover’ in the ordinary sense of the phrase, but I do like brands that stand for something bigger than themselves. One of my favourite brands is The Big Issue; I love how they have taken the terribly sad, but often overlooked, subject of homelessness and created a trendy, profitable business that gives so many people hope. I also love Air BNB as it is a company built purely on trust, sharing your home with strangers, and I think it highlights what is good about humanity.
What course did you study?