Matt Brooks
Safety, Risk and Compliance Executive, British Airways
BSc Management with Placement Year (2016 – 2020)

Why did you decide to study your undergraduate degree at Warwick Business School?

I chose to study at Warwick Business School (WBS) because of the outstanding reputation of the School, and the University in general, meaning that studying at WBS would massively help me when it comes to getting a job after my degree. It also offered one of the best course structures which was most suited to what I wanted to get out of my university experience and is very prestigious among the academic environment, ensuring my educational experiences stand out from that of others. Furthermore, it is a young and modern business school with plenty of investment, some of the highest quality teaching in the UK and with great connections to so many employers, backed up with excellent careers support teams.

What is the best thing about your course?

The best part of my course has to be the variety. This is in everything - from the modules to the range of people you meet and the range of opportunities available (during and post-University). This has been the best part of my course because it really shapes you as a person and gives you so many different experiences, which will only ever benefit you in your future.

How did the modules within your course help you during your placement year?

Throughout the first and second years of my course, I selected as many modules as possible that gave me a deep level of understanding of business and management, meaning that every module helped me during my placement year. The modules I chose covered a vast array of business and management practices, meaning that I was in the best position to excel in my placement year. It was through this variety of modules that I was able to perform so well in a fast-paced, highly regulated industry when working in Corporate Safety and Security at British Airways, considering all different perspectives when making decisions and driving significant improvements throughout the organisation.

Studying such a range of modules also meant that I was quickly able to adapt and learn about the different business areas to enable me to perform at my best. This was seen through many experiences on my placement, such as redesigning all the risk assessments for the company without prior knowledge of risk management within organisations, redesigning almost all the Corporate Safety and Security business processes to be much more streamlined, and implementing a new safety and security reporting IT system throughout the company - to over 100,000 people - which includes issue reporting, auditing, risk assessments and risk management of the entire airline worldwide.

How beneficial your placement year has been with British Airways?

My placement year at British Airways has been extremely beneficial - it has been the most useful aspect of my course. I was given lots of responsibilities right from the start of my placement, my first project involved re-creating the airline's risk assessments company-wide and involved presentations to subject experts in various locations in the UK and in Europe. My placement year has enabled me to put my course into practice and gain a greater appreciation for what works in the business world and the challenges faced on a daily basis. Gaining this invaluable experience has also enhanced my appreciation of the complexities and vast array of considerations that have to be taken into account to run a business successfully. A business is not one large entity with one management team, it is made up of small groups of people working together, entrusting the subject matter experts and dividing the work accordingly in order to achieve one common goal and direction for the business. I would highly recommend that everyone should do a placement year because it will help you in your future career and gives you experience, with which to base practical learning upon, ensuring you are in a stronger position when you finish university and are looking for a job.

What did you enjoy the most from your placement year at British Airways?

Working for British Airways opens up a whole new network and allows you to meet lots of new people, building your professional network for your future. There is a saying that ‘it is not what you know, but who you know’ and a business placement gives you the opportunity to significantly increase your professional network, which can only be of benefit in your future. My placement year at British Airways has drastically improved my communication skills, my confidence and has taught me a great deal about how to deliver projects effectively.

What support did you receive from WBS CareersPlus when applying for your placement year?

In the lead up to my placement year, the WBS CareersPlus team helped me fine-tune my CV ahead of submitting applications and this also provided direction for what to focus on for my assessment centres, ultimately leading to me being offered a placement at British Airways - being in the top 1.3% of all applicants.