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Graduation stories - how to stand out from the crowd

21 August 2015

Hannah Reyes joined Abertay from Dundee & Angus College in 2012, and made the most of the two years she spent with us.

Taking advantage of all the opportunities to travel, she went to the Netherlands through the Erasmus scheme and to Germany through taking part in the international student competition EBMC.

Through being active on social media and having such great experience on her CV, Hannah was talent-spotted and offered a job before she had even graduated.

Here, she tells us about her time at Abertay, and how she made herself stand out from the crowd.

From college to university life

“I studied Business at Dundee & Angus College for two years before joining Abertay's in the third year.

“The transition from college to university was terrifying and difficult for me in the beginning. I feared that we would not get guidance at all from the university, but the lecturers and staff were really supportive and they make plenty of time for their students.

“I was also very worried about exams because I didn’t have to sit any for my HND. However, the fear brought great results because I did well in my exams and received a distinction for my BA.”

Opportunities abroad

“In the summer of my final year I went to the Netherlands on a three month Erasmus placement to work for the fifth largest dairy company in the world, FrieslandCampina – the makers of Yazoo.

“It was the best experience ever! I have always wanted to go to Holland and it was the perfect opportunity. I worked as a Marketing Communications Intern and if it was not for that internship, I would not have discovered that what I really wanted to pursue was digital marketing.”


“I was a common face in competitions and events in DBS. Before I started my final year, I decided to get involved as much as I could because I knew employers look for that quality.

“I participated in the IBM Universities Business Challenge, Innovation for Global Growth and also in the international student competition Entrepreneurial Brains Made on Campus (EBMC), which gave me another opportunity to travel because we made it to the final in Germany!

“For EBMC we were told very little about what we’d have to do beforehand, but when we got there we were put into teams and then told that we had to conceptualise a business from the development stage right up to the launch.

“My team won the local heats that were held at Abertay and we represented the university and Scotland in the finals that were held in Germany, where we competed against other European countries like Hungary, Switzerland and Austria.

“We won First Runner Up and the Audience Choice Award! I was ecstatic about the outcome. Our team was called Tay Innovations and we’re thinking of launching as a real company after the great feedback we got.”

How to get talent spotted

“I was offered a job a month before I graduated, after being talent-spotted through my social accounts. I went to a Pecha Kucha night in Dundee, talked about it on my Twitter and LinkedIn and that was how my Managing Director (MD) found me.

“I am a Search Marketing Trainee at McGarry Fashion, working towards being a Digital Marketing Executive. We are a start-up company, but we deal with global fashion and premium brands such as Gant, managing their paid search accounts.

“I had no experience with paid search at all before I started, and only a basic knowledge of digital marketing. But my MD saw the potential in me and offered to provide me with all the training I need.

“If it was not for all the activities I had been involved with in Abertay, I do not think I would be in the same position right now.”

Don’t give up!

“When I joined Abertay, I applied for the Saltire Scholarships scheme to try and broaden my marketing experience, but I only made it to the interview stage.

“I was broken, but determined not to give up. Then someone referred me to Erasmus and it was after that placement that I really actively pursued marketing. I just really enjoyed it.

“I did not apply for the job offers that I received. I did apply to a handful of advertised jobs and had about five great interview experiences, but it did not lead me anywhere. All of them told me I was very enthusiastic, refreshing and very determined but I lacked the experience. I used those comments to my advantage and worked on myself.

“I guess my point is to tell all the students/graduates out there who are still looking for a job that there is nothing wrong with them. Maybe they just need to find an alternative way of finding opportunities like I did. I used LinkedIn to my advantage. Be realistic and be self-reflective. It will come.”

Come to Abertay!

“If students are looking for quality teaching and a university with plenty of opportunities, Abertay is their university. We are small, so anyone can have a chance to shine. It is just up to the student to take the initiative and grab the opportunities at hand. The lecturers and the staff always encourage students to participate and go for it!”

Many congratulations to Hannah on gaining her degree - we wish her every success in her new role!

More information about the courses available in can be found on the following pages:


  • BA (Hons) Accounting with Finance

Business Studies & Management

  • BA (Hons) Business Studies
  • MSc/PGDip International Finance and Accounting
  • MSc/PGDip International Human Resource Management
  • MSc/PGDip International Management
  • Msc/PGDip Oil and Gas Management


  • LLB (Hons) Bachelor of Laws
  • LLM EU Security and Transnational Criminal Justice


  • BA (Hons) Marketing & Business
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