I first heard about the Fashion Retail, Buying and Merchandising Undergraduate of The Year award from my university lecturer. She explained the TARGETjobs competition and how the award was sponsored by Marks & Spencer. Feeling intrigued, I researched the competition more and put together my online application that night. With the stress of completing university assignments, searching and applying for placements, and attending interviews and assessment centres, I wanted to push myself further and apply. I did not want to miss out on what I thought could prove to be a massive achievement and opportunity for my future career.

When I received the email congratulating me on passing the first stage of the competition I was ecstatic. I was now one step closer to the opportunity of working with one of the most valued British brands, Marks & Spencer. I did not think I would pass all three online tests, let alone the online interview to reach the assessment centre stage of the competition. I had attended assessment centres in the past, which relaxed me more and gave me the ability to show my full potential and knowledge. When Marks & Spencer announced that we were the final 13 out of the 189 students that applied for the award, it made me strive further to reach the top 10. When I received the email to congratulate me on reaching the Top 10 I was in my university’s library finalising an assignment. I couldn’t comprehend that I would be attending the final at Canary Wharf!

The award ceremony itself was such an overwhelming experience. Having the opportunity to attend such a prestigious event at Canary Wharf and celebrate all 116 finalists’ success in reaching the last stage of the competition. Little did I ever expect to get this far, let alone be surrounded by industry professionals, discovering how they got into both the business and the fashion industry at a prosecco reception, three-course meal and after-party. Out of all the 116 finalists, I was the only student from the University of Huddersfield, making me slightly more overwhelmed at the fact that the university logo shown at the awards was solely represented by me.

Following the Awards, I have received recognition from my University, featuring on a slideshow for upcoming and potential students representing achievements both current and past students have accomplished.

I am so pleased that I entered the Fashion Retail, Buying and Merchandising Undergraduate of The Year competition as it proved to be an unforgettable experience. It is now a prominent achievement on my CV as I enter my year-long placement.