I began my Economics degree with a very vague idea that I would end up working ‘in business’. Exactly what I thought this meant is still unclear even to me but there was definitely a skirt-suit and a briefcase involved. Now as I near the end of my penultimate year of study I want to use this post to reflect on how both my career goals and my understandings of the professional world have evolved.
Economics is lauded as a very employable degree. It is certainly a subject which opens many career doors and shuts very few. I believe that the reason for this is that studying economics requires a mixture of highly sought after skills; problem solving, mathematics, researching, concise communication and perhaps most importantly determination.
So, if I make it to the end of this degree, I will find myself in the privileged position of having many career options. I have found this wealth of choice to be, in equal measure, both exciting and overwhelming and it has taken a lot of time and thought to narrow down what sort of path I want to pursue.
After a slight detour into studying philosophy, a short-time spent interested in a career in finance and a while spent questioning if economics (and even university) was for me I discovered the field of development economics. My long-term goal is to work for an NGO promoting development.
With this goal in mind I am considering different paths which can lead me towards it. I am turning my attention to building my knowledge and skills over-and-above my degree. I have always been interested in innovative forms of communication, branding and advertising and this brings me to my time at Elastic Creative. Elastic produce highly valuable work for clients from across the public and private sectors and I decided to approach them after recognising that branding and digital marketing are of key importance to all types of organisations in the modern world.
Through my personal research (which I aim to formalise through the writing of a weekly blog) and through conversations with the team I have garnered many useful insights into this industry. Before I started this placement I was truly unaware of the complexities and tools on-hand for building a brand and optimising business development strategies.
I see the central crossover between the work of a creative agency and studying economics as being that they are both built around building up an understanding of consumer decision-making. Every time I come into the Elastic studio I am able to observe links between Behavioural economics and marketing strategies. Theory is played out in a practical way and this interaction has really added another dimension to my understanding of central economic ideas and marketing.
A creative agency builds a picture of decision-making by measuring consumer engagement. The team at elastic has been able to explain some of the vast developments in measuring engagement due to the Internet and web-analytics. Agencies like Elastic are challenged to evolve alongside the technologies of the modern age and this makes for an exciting work environment.
Once a picture of a target audience has been built up, a creative agency will work out the optimal strategy for a brand to engage them. Prior to this work experience this stage of the process was completely new to me. Knowing what will work is the result of a mixture of creative intuition and experience. Modern technologies can also be applied and a chosen strategy can be evaluated on a continuous basis. In response to the speed of consumption in the modern world agencies incorporate a greater degree flexibility and adaptation into their work.
The team have been able to show me that the creative industry is an area with a lot to offer a young person; it is creative, dynamic and offers a lot of variety from project to project. As independent brand strategists the team at elastic are able to really make a difference to the clients who seek their services. The impact of their work is measurable through technologies and feedback from clients.
In a more general sense I have found this work experience placement to be a highly useful insight into the professional world. Elastic have a great working environment and a great team. The studio is open plan and ideas are free to jump around the office throughout the day. Even the experience of setting up this placement has been highly useful in increasing my confidence a huge amount and it has been incredibly useful to have the chance to build up skills which will definitely be useful wherever I end up working.
It has been a privilege to be given this opportunity and I am very grateful to Alex and the team at elastic for having me.