Why I joined the Virgin Media graduate scheme

Virgin Media logo in the entrance to the Virgin Media office in Reading
Image from Virgin Media
Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
16 October 2017

Virgin Media is committed to helping young people to get a first step on the career ladder through its graduate scheme.

We caught up with Sam Bowen who graduated from the University of Birmingham before starting at Virgin Media Business as part of the graduate scheme to find out more…

Why did you want to do a grad scheme with Virgin Media? What attracted you to the company in the first place?

The Virgin brand played a huge part in the initial attraction to Virgin Media. I saw the Virgin Media desk at the careers fair and this radiated the Virgin Values, I was instantly hooked and I haven’t looked back since. This Virgin spirit continued throughout the interview and assessment centre, and even though I had offers for other graduate schemes I knew that the Virgin culture was the one for me. The thought of working in a company that disrupts the market and celebrates its employees as much as a Virgin company does was too much to turn down.

What does your grad scheme entail?

The Virgin Media Business graduate scheme is a rotational scheme in the B2B market that allows us to experience four different business functions/roles in 6 month placements (across 2 years). The roles vary across numerous business functions including Marketing, Strategy, Commercial and Delivery. All of the roles are completely different and provide us with a wider perspective on the business than possible when working in a single role.

What’s the best part of your grad scheme?

The best part of the graduate scheme has been the possibility to get involved with a huge variety of projects across the business. I have been able to work on developing the VMB Business Plan, offshoring processes, standardising product pricing, developing a new operating model and organising & hosting a conference for 150 people. There is also a great support network across the graduate community, we often all meet up in and out of work to catch up which is a huge help if you’ve had a bad day or if you need some information from an area of the business you haven’t reached out to before.

What’s the most challenging part?

The most challenging part of the graduate scheme is adjusting to a new role. It usually takes a couple of months (at least) to properly settle into any new role, so by the time you start to perform within the role, it is time to start a handover to the next graduate and prepare for your next role. It is a great learning experience to go through this challenge and it reaps the benefit when you witness so much of the business in a short period of time

Even though I had offers for other graduate schemes I knew that the Virgin culture was the one for me

You’re part of the Graduate Committee, what does that involve? Why did you want to be part of it?

I am currently the Social Champion for the VM Graduate Committee. The committee is all about creating a community of graduates to help them grow their network, collaborate with each other and to help them understand the business more. We regularly organise L&D events, ie: Lunch and Learn for Strategic Insights into Mobile, Virgin Media Business Strategy and Future Technology. We also help with the onboarding process and act as a voice for the graduates to the Early Careers team. My role is to organise social events for the 100+ grads that are at Virgin Media, which ranges from pub quizzes to Christmas Parties and trips to sporting events such as T20 Cricket at the Oval.

I wanted to be a part of this as when I first joined the company, I felt that the graduates could get together a lot more often outside of work. Many of the grads have moved from across the country and don’t know many people in the area, so it’s just as important that they enjoy their spare time as it is to enjoy their job (in my opinion). I had also been the President of the University of Birmingham Business Society so I knew I could add some valuable input in arranging social events, but also could help the L&D/Comms team too within the Graduate Committee.

What do you hope to do after your graduate scheme is completed?

I am still open minded about my landing role, but I enjoy understanding and interacting with our customers, problem identification & solving, as well as strategic thinking based on the end to end business process and customer journey.

Find out more about early careers roles at Virgin Media on the Virgin Media careers website.