Kate studied an MSc in Management at Queen’s University Belfast from 2020-21. She is now based in London working as a Senior Marketing Executive at HeadBox, a digital platform for booking meetings and events.
What course did you study at QUB?
I studied for my MSc in Management in 2020-21.
Did you use your careers service at university?
Yes, I had a couple of sessions over Zoom to help with CV prep. I wasn’t too sure how to best present my skills and experience, so I found these really valuable.
How did you find your current role?
I found it via a job site called Otta that specialises in jobs in tech startups.
Why did you decide to work at HeadBox?
I chose the Consultancy Based Report option for my dissertation as I was keen to get hands-on experience with a real company. Throughout this project, I explored techniques for marketing a social enterprise company (Restorify) in Northern Ireland’s start-up sector, which quite naturally led me to explore marketing roles in a start-up company.
I was initially drawn to apply to HeadBox as it sounded like an interesting role in a fast-growing company where I could gain a lot of experience. I particularly liked how the job description encouraged people to apply if they had no previous marketing experience but felt they would be well-suited for the role.
After a number of interviews, I had a good sense that this was a company I wanted to work for. I had experience working in hospitality and organising several events during my undergrad at university. During COVID, I was impressed by businesses that adapted their models overnight such as local companies that
began delivering or hosting online events. HeadBox was using technology to help different venues adapt their space which drew me in further. I really liked everyone I spoke to during the interview process and felt I’d be a good fit.
Since leaving university, how did you get to this point in your career?
I studied Law for my undergrad at Trinity College Dublin, then spent a few years doing a mix of travelling and working in law firms in Belfast and New York. However, I knew I didn’t really want to continue with law as my career. COVID hit while I was working as a paralegal in New York, so I decided to return home to Belfast.
I applied for the MSc in Management at Queen’s as it was a broad degree in which I could explore different areas of business and find out what I was interested in. I really enjoyed all the modules, but particularly marketing, and learned a lot from the Consultancy Based Report. I accepted my job at HeadBox in October 2021 and worked remotely from Belfast for a few months before moving to London, and have been here since.
What is it like working for a start-up company?
I think having direct access to senior-level colleagues such as your COO and CEO is a fantastic experience for anyone at any level. It really embraces the human side of a company that you don’t get at some larger places. The high-energy, fast-paced and forward-thinking environment is exciting and I found it really easy to get used to. The flexibility and desire to succeed in the business is engaging and exciting to be a part of! It will bring out your innovative and creative side and it’s a great opportunity to rise to any challenges.
What advice would you give to students looking to work for a startup?
Think about what industries spark your interest. Is it fintech, sports, fashion? There are lots of cool companies that are disrupting traditional industries and passion goes a long way in start-ups. Once you’re in, get stuck in and learn as
much as you can. I would recommend being proactive, taking online courses and going to networking events. Ask plenty of questions.
With any job, not just a startup, you get out what you put in. Get ready to roll up your sleeves and throw yourself into the role.
What kind of roles do you see available in the startup industry?
The great thing about working in a start-up is the sheer breadth of roles available. At HeadBox we do pretty much everything in-house, which means that the office is a melting pot of product designers, sales executives, accountants, marketers and, of course, event professionals. The diversity of roles rewards so many different university degrees, and gives you the chance to learn from people who may have studied something totally different from you.
Have any questions? Get in touch with Kate here!