What course did you study, and why did you choose it?

Business wasn’t something I wanted to do at first, I actually wanted to be a physiotherapist when I was in school and college. However, that route didn’t quite work out for me.

For some reason I ended up working as a dental nurse for a few years, and the practice I worked in needed someone to do some marketing for the sales of a particular brace called Invisalign and they chose me because of my interest with social media. I did all the marketing for the dental practice and I noticed that I really enjoyed it. So much that I started to pretty much dislike when they would ask me to nurse for a day.

It was at this point I thought about going back to university and studying something else, I just didn’t know what at the time. I thought about being a dental hygienist because I heard you could be your own boss; you’d basically be self-employed and with my dental background I thought it would be easier than doing something completely different. I applied on the UCAS website for dental hygiene courses, but I just felt like there wasn’t a real passion for it. If I went back to university, I wanted to study something that I would actually enjoy, so I scrapped the dental hygiene idea.

A couple months later I received an email from Pearson College London talking about Degree Apprenticeships with L’Oréal. Aside from my day job I create content for my social media platforms centred around beauty. I was (well I still am) obsessed with makeup and skin care and so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to work in an actual company that I know and love and study for a degree at the same time! I decided to apply talking to a few people about it. Everyone around me thought it was perfect for me!

Unfortunately (at the time), my application wasn’t successful but I was given the option to go down a more traditional route and so I opted for that instead. I chose to study Business Management with Marketing. My goal was to work in a marketing firm after completing my degree however this changed within the last month of studying my course. I was good at marketing and I loved digital marketing however because I pretty much did it for myself (on social media). I was scared it would become tedious as I would do it Monday to Friday, 9-5 and then in my spare time I would do it for my social media platforms.

What were your expectations before starting your degree?

Looking back, I kind of knew I was making the right decision going back to study at uni, however I didn’t actually realise I would be going back as a mature student! It’s just something that didn’t cross my mind until I looked around me on Freshers week and realised everyone else was so young! At first, I thought oh no, I’m going to have to go through this whole experience alone and the thought of that was pretty daunting at first, but I quickly reminded myself that I wasn’t here to make friends, I was here to study, get my degree and finally start a life where I was happy doing what I wanted, with more chances of progressing in my career. Being a dental nurse, there’s only so much you can progress and it’s not very far.

When I first walked into Pearson College London I instantly noticed that this wasn’t your traditional university, it was much smaller and more intimate. With that being said I felt more at ease. Traditional universities are always so much bigger and scary, it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed. I didn’t get that feeling at Pearson College London.

I loved my course. I thoroughly enjoyed my first year. In second year, my personal life was a bit of a whirlwind and my grades suffered because of it. Third year was tough but looking back on it now – I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Oh, and I made a few friends too, friends for life actually.

How did Pearson College London help you to achieve your goals?

Because of how small and intimate Pearson College London is I felt like I really flourished. When you go to a traditional university, when you need help sometimes you don’t know who or where to go to. I never had that feeling at Pearson College London. When I needed help, or I felt overwhelmed with my course I knew exactly who to go to. If I didn’t it wasn’t hard to find out. In my second year my grades weren’t great, and I was really upset because I felt like I was going to fail. At the time, I couldn’t see how I was going to make the necessary steps to improve my grades.

This is when I met my personal tutor, Elizabeth. After talking to her about how I felt about my grades, she made me realise that it actually wasn’t the end of the world and there were ways in which I could redeem myself in my final year, if I worked hard enough. She showed me ways in which I could improve on pretty much every aspect of my uni life, from how to correctly reference in my assignments, to finding resources I could use to further help my studies. She also introduced me to Piers.

Piers was great! I appreciated him so much! I spent 1 hour with him every week and he really helped me improve on my grades. He was incredibly supportive and made me feel like I could actually achieve the overall grade I wanted. Every time I speak to other students, I always sing and praise about him. And when they go to him, they always give me really positive feedback about how he has helped them too.

Tell us about your journey to becoming a full time employee at Pearson

Pre Covid-19 I used to always stay behind with 2-3 friends to do some assignments. One evening there was a Work Fitness Week. I had no idea what it was, I’d never even heard of it. My friends convinced me to go as it was an event to help students with their CVs and interview skills. This is where I met Patrick, Head of Comms at Pearson College London (it’s funny because I didn’t actually realise it at the time).

Patrick was amazing. He looked at my CV (even after I told him I was ashamed to show it to him because of how bad it actually was) and he gave me some amazing advice. He didn’t stop there though, he continued to ask me about what I did in my spare time and I told him all about my content creating and social media platforms. He seemed really interested and so it made me feel comfortable about talking to him about it. No one really knows this but, talking about my social media platforms actually makes me feel a bit awkward because not everyone gets it! Posting pictures and videos online for an audience is still quite a weird concept to some people. It was refreshing to talk to someone who knew a lot about it and was actually interested too! After talking to Patrick for a while he offered me an internship to work within the Pearson College London Comms department! I was over the moon! This was something I’d wanted for a while and I couldn’t believe how it came to fruition.

Unfortunately, Covid-19 happened just as I was starting my internship so there were a few complications, now I see this as a blessing in disguise. Patrick was nice enough to let me know about another opportunity to work in the Pearson HR department. I had never seen myself working in HR, I always thought I would work in digital marketing. But I remembered thinking about how in a couple of years or months marketing could become quite tedious, it could be nice doing something I never saw myself doing. Plus, it would be good to get some experience working in HR.

I had a meeting/interview with Kevin, my manager now and somehow, I managed to convince him that it would be good to have me onboard! I went into this internship with an open mind. Even though this was never in my plan, I thought, you never know what could happen.

To my surprise I actually loved my placement and didn’t want it to come to an end! I Spoke to Kevin about an extension of my internship, and then a couple months later I was offered a full-time permanent contract as the new HR Administrator!

What does your role as an Human Resources Administrator entail?

My day-to-day tasks mostly involve me working on various projects. At Pearson we have an intranet called NEO and you can build mini websites that help with learning more about Pearson, and guides about different topics that may be important to you as an employee. It’s also great for reading about Diversity and Inclusion initiatives and finding out more information on existing Employee Resource Groups. Sometimes I would do some comms for the HR NEO pages. I also work closely with my VP, Hannah. We are running sessions for employees to help with progression within the company.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

I have this concept, where I focus on where I see myself in just 1 year. That way its more manageable and isn’t subject to change so drastically. So, I’ll answer where I see myself in 1 year instead. I would like to continue working in Pearson and I see myself completing my CIPD training and in line for a promotion! I hope that answers that question ha-ha!

I tend to not focus much on the future now because you just never know! Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of goals but they’re more personal and centred around my well-being, not around my career. As long as I’m happy doing what I’m doing and I do it well, that’s all that matters to me.

-By Adeola Karaole (Business Management Alumni and Human Resources Administrator at Pearson)