Brandon Bhatti

Summer Stars intern 2018

It’s been a while since my time at Summer Stars came to an end. Summer 2018 was a scary time for me, I had just graduated with an MA in Foreign Policy and like many BAME students before me – lacked the experience necessary to make the jump straight into a professional career.

It was around this time I found the Summer Stars programme. As an individual with no experience or understanding of PR, the programme really did a great job of introducing me to a whole new world. As a political student, I had never considered corporate communications for financial services would become a passion of mine and yet it has.

The Summer Stars programme is smooth, it’s a mixture of lectures, group activities and meetings/introductions with external agencies, which not only help you understand what PR is all about but importantly, helps you network and create industry links. I’m still in touch with several people from my cohort and seeing how they’re all getting on is cool.

The biggest thing I learned from the lecture week (which at the time was surprising to me), was simply how accessible major corporations and companies are. If you were to tell me six months before Summer Stars that I would be talking to senior figures and execs in major financial institutions to discuss their PR needs, I would have thought you was crazy, but that’s the world I live in today.

I joined Hume Brophy on an internship set up by the Taylor Bennett Foundation which lasted six months and I haven’t looked back.

I’m now a Senior Account Executive at Hume Brophy, working across both PR and PA accounts but mainly corporate communications for the financial services sector.  I have had limited experience at other agencies, but a massive reason why I’ve been able to make it to this point is because of Hume Brophy’s culture of recognising talent and rewarding hard work. If you put the effort in to learn and grow, they more than meet you halfway, so it’s been a great experience.

In terms of my future, I don’t like to think too far ahead but I do know I have a lot of learning to do in financial services. There’s so much happening in the space around ESG, liquidity etc, that right now I’m just fully embedded in the sector and trying to soak up as much information as I can.

As I said at the outset, it’s tough for BAME students to gain professional experience while at university. Most of us were raised in less advantageous circumstances. Many of us have no option but to work part-time or even full time at retail companies during our time at university. While some have the luxury of leveraging family contacts to secure internships and experiences in companies, we would never be aware of, there are many more who need organisations like Taylor Bennett Foundation to show them the way.

With that in mind, I’m just very grateful to the Summer Stars programme for helping me to get my foot in the door, because without that, I have no idea where I would be right now.