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UA Alumni - Amy Punchard

Amy was the Europe Regional Winner of the Business category in 2020.

Since she was awarded, she has completed her work placement year at Arla Foods, and is currently completing the final year of her BA in Management with Marketing at the University of Leeds. She will be graduating in 2022.

What are you doing now and what has happened since the award?

When I won the award, I had just started my placement year at Arla. I had a brilliant year and I was really able to pursue my interests before coming back to University for final year.

I’m currently writing my dissertation, which is about consumer perceptions of copycat brands, and I am really enjoying my final few months of being a student.

When I graduate this summer I will be returning to Arla as an Assistant Innovation
Manager, which will involve developing new dairy products and packaging - I’m so
excited for this!

What do you like the most about what you do?

At school I was a fast learner with a strong memory, meaning that I got bored quickly - I think that’s what drew me into business, as it changes every day. There are always new opportunities and new things to learn. There are no solid rules like in science; no strategy works in every situation. I also like how it perfectly combines creativity and logic and - if you’re with the right company - creates good in the world.

Where do your interests lie?

Academically I am especially interested in branding, strategy, positioning, packaging, sustainability, and advertising.

My winning entry to the Global Undergraduate Awards was an essay comparing the marketing of Coca-Cola and Pepsi, explaining why the same marketing strategies have worked for one company but not the other despite the fundamental product being so similar, and how this has led to their highly unusual, fiercely competitive duopoly.

Professionally, I always knew I wanted to work with brands, but even when I wrote this paper I was not particularly interested in food and drink, simply the market dynamics of the situation. After completing a placement year with Arla Foods working on marketing for the nation’s favourite butter brands Anchor and Lurpak, I found the food and drink sector so exciting and constantly evolving that I now intend to stay in this sector!

What advice would you give current undergraduate students or recent graduates?

This may sound like a collection of clichés, but there are two phrases that I live by…
"If you can dream it you can do it.
Everything happens for a reason."

If you always try your best, you have confidence, and you know what you want to achieve, then there’s nothing stopping you. Never let self-doubt hold you back.

But at the same time, we are not machines. Everybody has bad days and days where they feel lost and achieve nothing. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself - sometimes we need to rest and reflect, and sometimes we don’t get the things we want, but there’s always something else around the corner.

Has receiving an award for your hard work helped?

Receiving an award for my work helped me in many ways. Practically, it has been a talking point in interviews, and it looks great on my CV. It’s a nice way to demonstrate my interests and skills, and I love knowing that other people have read and enjoyed my work.

Emotionally, praise and recognition are my biggest source of motivation so receiving the award gave me a real self-esteem and energy boost that helped me on my placement and with my other assignments. Being in the early stages of my career surrounded by more experienced people I sometimes experience imposter syndrome, and I’ve encountered my fair share of struggles at uni including health problems, but this achievement reminds me what I’m capable of and gives me the confidence I need at difficult times.

Why should students submit their work?

If you have a piece of work that you feel quite proud of, you should absolutely submit it! There is nothing to lose, but so much to gain. Aside from the personal benefits I’ve talked about above, every opportunity leads to the next - it could be that you win an award and this unlocks a new door for you or leads you into a new career like it has for me. Good luck!

I’d also like to say a special thank you to my personal tutor and consumer behaviour lecturer Tao Jiang, who inspired me from my first day of university. I wouldn’t have achieved this without all her support and amazing teaching!

You can find Amy on LinkedIn.