At Langley between 2000 and 2007, Lewis D finished off his school career with A-Levels in History, Business Studies and English. His ambitions in the marketing industry and experience in branding has enabled him to set up and run his own business. Here we find out more.
Did you know what career you wanted to follow when you were at Langley?
I loved History, but as soon as I started Business Studies I knew I wanted to do something business related. I loved the brand and marketing modules, so I was quite lucky knowing what I wanted to do from a young age.
Which extra-curricular activities were you involved in at Langley?
I’d like to think I made a big contribution to sport at Langley. I was captain of the rugby team from Year 8 to the end of my time at Langley, and played in the 1st team for cricket, football and tennis. My most memorable trip was the rugby tour to Canada in 2007.
Tell us how such extra-curricular activities have been useful and helped with transferable skills.
I would strongly recommend playing sport at school. It has proved a useful experience for my career. For example, people you encounter in business regularly ask you to play sport. Whether it be 5-aside football for the work team, or touch rugby, a game of golf, it’s brilliant to be able to say ‘yes’ to these invites and be reasonably good, which always goes down well. Engaging with bosses or clients outside of work is a big positive for your career prospects. I once went to a job interview and we ended up playing table tennis for most of it – I got the job!
What did you do after school?
I took a gap year and stayed at Langley to be a PE assistant for a year – I really must have loved school. I then went to the UEA and studied Business Management. I really focused on the brand and marketing modules to set me up for a career in this field.
Tell us about starting in the working world.
One thing I’d massively recommend when you hit Sixth Form is to start sending emails to companies you’d love to work for and ask for work experience. It can be tough to get responses but showing proactiveness and willingness will set you in good stead. I was quite fortunate that, after university, my aunty helped me secure work experience at a prominent London agency called Frank PR, where they work with some of the biggest brands in the world. I got offered a job and it went from there.
Where are you now in your career and what have been the highlights?
I now run my own creative consultancy called Idea Farm. We have offices in London and Norwich. Before that I built up experience working at Frank PR, Engine Sport (a big sponsorship agency) and then in the award-winning marketing team at Paddy Power. I was responsible for thinking up their whacky marketing campaigns. All my experience showed me I love coming up with ideas, so that’s essentially what I do now – sell ideas to brands!
On reflection, did your time at Langley School help prepare you for your career?
Yes. What I liked about Langley was it was a great school for all-rounders – you got opportunities both in the classroom and on the sports field.
Is there any advice you would like to give to students currently considering A Levels and career choices?
Sixth Form can be a stressful time when you feel like you have important life decisions to make. It’s easy to say but, when I look back, it shouldn’t have been that stressful because, in reality, you’re so young and you can make the wrong decisions but it’s easily recoverable. Concentrate on getting the best grades you can but have fun too. University isn’t for everyone, but for me it broadened my horizons. You make friends with people from all over the country, who have different ambitions. Most of my university friends were from Essex and London so it opened my eyes a bit and gave me a push to move to the big smoke.