30 September 2020
One of the secrets to Harper’s success is the placement year that all students experience as part of their degree courses.
Students studying at the University are not only spread across the whole of the UK each year, but many get to gain international experience in roles in other counties.
Twenty-one-year-old Dan Stones, from near York, was lucky enough to spend the last year working as a Marketing Intern for John Deere based in Mannheim in South-West Germany.
The BSc (Hons) Agri-Business student not only had chance to expand his knowledge of the industry and put what he has been taught into practice, but was also able to expand his horizons visiting 10 European counties during his year out.
Dan, who is due embark on his final year at Harper next month, said: “Living in Mannheim was an amazing experience as it was perfectly located for travelling all around Western Europe, with trains to Switzerland, France, Italy, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium and Austria are all a few hours away. This gave me the opportunity to travel as much as I wanted and by the end of my internship, I had managed to visit 10 countries!
“Throughout my placement I was given a range of both practical and office-based tasks that helped me understand how John Deere uses different marketing techniques globally to showcase the features on its new generation of tractors.
“As one of three interns in the office, I was the intern who focussed mainly on the large tractors. The large tractor market was where my main interest lay, as my farm at home has both an 8345RT and an 8420R, so it gave me the opportunity to work on the future versions of these, which was perfect for me.
“The majority of office-based jobs I did were usually based around finding the best ways to promote the new series of 7R/8R tractors. This was done in the form of creating comparison slides between John Deere machines and a rival brand that was within the same competitive horsepower rating. I had to gather data which I could use to develop an argument that either showed the superiority of the John Deere or the downfalls of the rival tractor.
“My favourite part of this placement was definitely the practical aspects. Early in the internship I was given the chance to go on a 28-day photoshoot in East Germany to promote the soon to be announced 7R and 8R tractors. This gave me the chance to have a hands on approach with the tractors we were trying to market, but also to gain priceless experience with the product specialists and camera crews to learn how to, depending on the products features and unique selling points, market that machine to best reach out to customers.”
Dan feels the support and knowledge he gained in his first two years at Harper successfully prepared him for the role.
He added: “I feel my course helped me throughout my placement as it gave me the steppingstones I needed to be able to operate in such a professional environment.
“The marketing, sales and crop modules I have studied were especially useful as I had some foundation knowledge I could work with to not just undertake my tasks but to also use to further aid in creating my own ideas I could put forward and use to implement the best marketing strategy possible going forward into future tractor series.
“For me, placement is just as important as doing the three years studying at Harper. By getting that practical experience to combine with the knowledge gained at Harper it gives you the best chance to stand out and get that future job in whatever sector you want to work in.
“The placement website gives you the platform needed to get direct contact with businesses like John Deere, and without it I don’t think a placement like this would be as obtainable.
“Although a placement in Germany may seem dauting to some, I never felt far from home, especially through the consistent contact I got with my placement tutor, who, whenever I needed any help with anything, was always quick to reply and give advice.”