Name: Adrian Dennis
Degree & Occupation: Adrian graduated in 2006 with a degree in economics from Nottingham University. During his finals he was recruited by Southwestern to join their sales and marketing programme. On it, students run their own business, which involves direct door-to-door sales.
What was your motivation in applying?
To get some practical experience of the real world. I wasn”t put off by the prospect of going door to door to sell: I was up for a challenge. I am a competitive guy and was involved in sport at university. I liked the idea of competing against other students in the UK and US, but I mainly wanted to see how I got on with my own business.
What did the application process involve?
For me it was slightly different because I was in the middle of exams, but normally it is about a 10-14 day process. For me the initial point of contact was a survey I did. I then
went to a presentation which outlined the programme. The selection process involved three informal meetings, although one was a bit more formal, with interview questions. For more information visit www.southwestern.com.
What did you do?
I was managing the finances of my own business. I was involved with a whole variety
of things, but mostly direct sales. I had to give sales best online casino presentations to families. It was pretty demanding and I had to overcome and face rejection. It was tough, but character-building. It is not an easy scheme: over 10-12 weeks in the summer you could be working 70 or 80 hour weeks, working six days out of seven.
How did you sell the experience on your CV?
I haven”t yet, but I will be doing in the near future. The over-riding factor is the self-confidence you gain in making presentations and public speaking. A lot of the time at university they don”t really encourage you to make presentations. My self-confidence is 1,000 times higher than it was at university.
Did you enjoy it?
Very much. It is quite tough, especially the first three weeks where you are on a steep
learning curve. But once you start making sales you feel like you are doing a good job
and get an amazing sense of accomplishment.
What did you learn?
The ability to read people. You also need the ability to read a situation.
The philosophy, principles and the people of the company are great. I”ve also learnt to
maintain a good attitude.
The programme is definitely not for a lot of people. You have to be a certain type ofindividual with a basic level of communication skills and confidence.
What advice to readers do you have?
If you are going to do something along these lines, such as fundraising or door-to-door sales you have to be prepared to take a few knock-backs and be resilient. With Southwestern you also have the opportunity to earn a decent amount of money.