Review of Birmingham City University

Reviewed by M. Eldridge Studied: Undergraduate in Marketing, Advertising And Public Relations
Graduation Year: 2012 Employment Status: Employed (At time of review) Date of Review 18 May 2012 Type of Student: Country of Origin:
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Star Rating


Course Information

Please describe your course covering all or some of the following areas: course/application requirements, the enrolment process, course duration, course content, subjects covered.

I applied to Birmingham City University (BCU) in 2006 whilst studying my A-Levels in Chemistry, Geography and Business Studies. The application process was simple and followed the standard UCAS structure. I visited the university and attended a tour of the campus and halls which was helpful in my decision. After completing my A-Levels, I had gained sufficient UCAS points (240) to be accepted onto the course. I deferred for a year so that I could work to save up some money. One of the main attractions to the course was the variety that it covered and the high amount of practical assessments, something that I feel has aided me in my career so far. I also chose to study Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations (MAPR) as it offered a year in industry and part of the degree. The degree covered all aspects of the marketing mix, advertising and public relations, focusing on both the theory AND practical skills needed to peruse a career in this sector.

Why did you choose this course?

Course Content
Course Duration
Career Enhancement
Where My Interests Lie

With regards to learning, what did you gain from your course? Subjects/lectures you most enjoyed and why

I really enjoyed the marketing and advertising modules however I during study I soon realised that PR was not for me. The lecturers were inspiring and brought a lot of experience to the classes. The placement year was one of the best of my life so far. I met some incredible people, worked with some really talented staff and learnt an untold amount of practical skills. There were around 70 other undergraduates on the placement scheme at General Motors and I lived with 4 other undergrads. I could not recommend this enough! Exams consisted of coursework, presentations, exams and a 10k word dissertation. Students were given real life scenarios as the framework for assessments. My most enjoyable were the following: Creative Advertising (presentation based)- Brief: Created an advertising campaign for a world wide brand - I chose to do an advertising campaign for Call of Duty: Black Opps that involved an 3D live gaming event, guerilla marketing, 3D billboards (that I created scale mock ups of), a 3D advert to be shown in cinemas (I also created). Marketing Strategy (open book exam) - Breif: Create a marketing strategy for Nivea for Men within the UK market. Exam prep involved researching the male grooming marketing, exploring opportunities for expansion and developing creative ideas that were backed with theory to implement a marketing strategy.

Please tell us how you felt about class sizes, teaching quality, diversity, student support

Class sizes varied. Some lectures were shared between courses that had overlapping modules. On the whole, class sizes were good, and there was enough time for me to gain important 1 on 1 time with lecturers when needed. Teaching quality on the whole was good, there were the odd boring lecturers but on the whole, most were inspiring. The university has an excellent placements office who were most helpful. I successfully completed a years sandwich year at General Motors, where I worked in the marketing department for the Swedish luxury car manufacturer, Saab.

Campus and facilities

Why did you choose this institution?

Course Availability
Reason for choosing OTHER
Although Perry Barr (where the campus is located) is one of the most un-attractive, and miserable pa

Please tell us how you researched the institution

I decided on BCU because I wanted to be far enough away from home to experience a change in life style but not be too far from home. With Birmingham having a central location and excellent transport links to all over the country, there were students from all parts of the country/world. This is exactly what I wanted. The location was a key part of my choice of study so I mostly researched institutions based on the geographical location.

The types of facilities available and how they helped with your experience

During my time at BCU, the university invested a lot of money in upgrading the facilities. The computer rooms were expanded and updated allowing students to have a plethora of work stations to chose from. The library was excellent and was open 24 hours during exam periods. An all weather football/hockey pitch was built, as well as a sports centre. These were both based in the Perry Barr/City North campus. 5 minutes away there were the university football and rugby pitches with a good 'clubhouse' for pre and post match activities.

Socially what was available on campus and off campus? Were there any student groups available such as the student union? Were there any networking opportunities to help you after your course

On campus, the social aspects aren't the best. There is a student bar and a pub on campus, but speaking honestly, neither would be the places you would tell friends about. The good thing was that the campus was 5-10 minutes from the city centre, where there an abundance of social activities to chose from. The sports teams however were a great source of social enjoyment. I met some lifelong friends by being involved with the football team, and the banter between societies was second to none. We were involved in large amounts of fund raising and were lucky enough to travel to Spain to compete in an inter university sport tournament; some of my best memories!

If you were living on campus or in rented accomodation please tell us about your experience, cost of living, the area, housing support, safety and security, study facilities

I stayed in the halls called 'Oscott Gardens' that are a 2 minute walk from campus. The halls were excellent. I had an en-suit bathroom facility, and my flat consisted of 7 people. The halls were very sociable and a great way to meet new people. I was a resident in 2007 and the quality was good. I think I paid around £90 a week, which was well worth it. Perry Barr it's self is not a nice area. It is a very run down part of the city, where crime is often reported. I never experienced any myself, however it is not to say that crime wasnt evident. As long as one didnt walk the streets alone at night, you would be fine, however the area is not the most desirable. I would not let this put me off from studying there however.

Career & Advice

How did your course help with your past or present career? Do you feel your course opened more opportunities for you?

As mentioned above, I participated in a year long work placement at General Motors. This provided me with some great working skills, furthered my knowledge and was really enjoyable. I would recommend a work placement to anyone who has the option. Gaining a years experience I felt defiantly enabled me to secure work post course completion. I graduated with a first class BA Hons in my subject and began full time work as a marketing assistant less than a week after my final exams. I feel that the course and placement year gave me the skills that were needed to give me a head start against other graduates. The variety of skills gained from the course are excellent, and I am confident of putting my marketing knowledge to the test against any marketing graduate from similar quality institutions.

What advice do you have for students who wish to study your course?

This course best suits sociable and outgoing students. There are a lot of practical exams where you have to be confident to present our knowledge to your peers and lecturers. The course allowed me to develop my confidence but this is definitely a course suited to those who are looking to gain both practical and theoretical knowledge.

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