Case study

Student adviser — Courtney Wylde

Courtney studied English at Oxford Brookes University and puts the communication skills gained on her course to use every day when dealing with customers and colleagues

How did you get your job?

I'd done a lot of work experience while at university and then an intern position came up at Oxford Open Learning.

After four months I was offered a permanent position and have worked my way up to the point where my team now has seven advisors. I'm also developing the social media side of the company's customer interaction.

How relevant was your subject of study?

Obviously, when you're working in customer service the experience that I've had reading novels isn't as relevant as other skills gained from my degree. However, English is a varied subject. I learned about talking to people, giving presentations and writing essays, all of those skills I use every day.

Oxford Brookes was really good for impressing on students the importance of good research. I feel that my course taught me good time management skills as well.

What do you do day-to-day?

The thing I do most is talk to potential and existing students. I speak to them and explain how the company works and what we do. If a student makes an application on the site then we call them to run through the details of that application and make sure they understand how the course works.

Once a student is enrolled we then act as an advisor to them and manage the process so they can get in touch by phone or email if they have any questions

What's challenging about the job?

When it gets busy you have emails and phones going with current, past and future students all wanting help so you have to be well organised to manage your time.

What do you enjoy about it?

I love speaking to students from all over the world and finding out why they want to do the course, as well as interacting with my team.

With customer service you have to understand how your product is going to fit into your customer's life and make sure that it fits with their expectations.

How would you like the role to develop?

I'm doing a social media course and that's very important because it's where the future of customer service lies. I felt it was really important that if customers are looking at our social media pages then they had to reflect the quality of the company.

I'm really enjoying that side of things and it's another way of engaging with customers. I'd like to take more of a lead managing that.

Any advice for other students interested in customer service?

Being able to communicate with people and having good people skills is vital.

I'd also stress the importance of experience. I did quite a lot of part-time work during my degree and that really helped when I graduated because I could show an employer that I was capable of holding down a job.

Find out more