Aston University student secures internship at Red Bull
BSc (Hons) Business and Politics student, Tolu Olagunju, will be beginning his internship at Red Bull later this month. "My role is centred around helping to promote the brand and product with ‘Point of Sale’ activations and added value activities at festivals."
Tolu is very excited to be working within the production team for festivals and events, as he loves to bring people together. He said: “I will be able to have the opportunity to give things a go, in the industry that I love, which is music.”
This is also going to be a helpful steppingstone for him and his goals for the near future, which is to be a key person of influence within the consumer goods industry. His ultimate career goal is to work for the music streaming platform, Spotify, as a Product Manager.
The journey to securing a placement was not easy for Tolu, “I applied to every single placement I could find and was starting to lose hope”, he said. This is when he decided to reach out to his network, through LinkedIn. Tolu recorded a video of himself explaining about his experiences of being a university student through the Covid-19 lockdown, the struggles of finding a placement and the effects these experiences have had on his mental health. This direct approach was aimed to connect with others and share his story. He did not know at the time that it would resonate with people the way that it did, and it was through this video that Red Bull contacted Tolu directly to offer him this position. On the experience, Tolu said: “I found that there is so much power in reaching out to your network and connecting. You never know who will be watching.”
Another organisation Tolu reached out to is Psalt, a non-profit organisation that ‘works to unlock the diverse, rich and incredible potential that exists in all corners of our society’, as stated in the companies website. Tolu was partnered up with an industry professional mentor, Nick Canney, who is a Managing Director of Innocent Smoothies. Nick helped Tolu with not only finding a placement, but also finding a purpose. “Psalt helped me to understand my talents and calling, which separated me from other candidates in interview stages. I was no longer simply jumping through hoops. I knew why I was there and what I wanted”, Tolu said.
Tolu would encourage all students from ethnic minority backgrounds, who are searching for placements or graduate work to get in touch with Psalt. He said: “I am so grateful to Sam Akinluyi, the founder of Psalt, and everyone else there. My opportunities skyrocketed with their help.”
Why Aston University?
When applying to university, Tolu’s goal was to ensure that his degree would count for something. He decided to study at Aston University, because he felt it was brilliant at getting its students into graduate roles. The 2020 academic year has been incredibly difficult and unusual, but Tolu was happy with the way Aston University handled the change. He said: “I really appreciated how Aston University adapted to online learning. They completely changed blackboard and integrated all of the resources we needed. The transition was smooth and effective.”
Tolu is also a part of the Bright Futures Society, which won society of the year in 2020. Bright Futures works with leading businesses across a wide range of sectors to organise employer-led skills session events to maximise members opportunities to connect with different brands.
Although Tolu has loved his time at university so far, he did go through a period of difficulty during his first year. Tolu had to take some time out of university as he was struggling with his mental health. At the time, he felt overwhelmed by his new life and all the different responsibilities and experiences that come with being a university student.
Tolu said: “I have been in a dark and hopeless place, where I felt totally lost and didn’t know what I was doing. But to anyone experiencing something similar I would say, have hope that things will get better. Don’t be too hard on yourself, keep trying, and never give up!”
Tolu reached out and received the help that he needed. Now he is feeling and doing much better, and is ready and excited to start this new period of his life.
Get yourself out there and don’t be scared. Think of creative ways to reach out to people. Build relationships and network - you would be surprised how many people are actually willing to help.
Be intentional with everything you do. Once you figure out your why, life will get a little easier.