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Alexandra Arsene

Alexandra Arsene profile picture

What degree course did you study and when did you graduate

Film & Literature (2017).

Current job title, employer and country

Production Manager, The Walt Disney Company, UK.

Why did you choose that particular degree course?

I had always wanted to work in film or TV and was always passionate about literature, so this degree covered everything I loved. My goal was to also study at a top university, so Warwick was one of my top choices.

Tell us about your current role and employer: what attracted you to that role and organisation?

I currently work as Production Manager at The Walt Disney Company and I look after the National Geographic channels in UK & Europe. Our team works closely with our creative department and we look after the creation and delivery of all our promotional content for our shows (covering TV, social media, print ads etc). We work closely with our marketing team who brief us on a promotional campaign for a title, then we ensure that the best materials (trailers, artwork, social content) are created and deal with the logistical side (budgets, specs, deliveries, timelines, legal).

Before uni I had no idea that this was a possible career path and had always focused on either becoming a producer or director in the long form traditional sense. But after an alumni event in my third year where I got to meet graduates who had pursued different career paths in media, I suddenly discovered a whole new branch of the industry. What drew me to this role was of course the company but also the required skills: time management, people management, flexibility, ability to deal with an extremely demanding environment.

What are the key skills you learnt at Warwick that have helped you with your career to date?

Time management and independent study was a big lesson for me during my degree. I always felt that our department trusted us to do our work on our own time and managing ourselves – they gave us the deadline and the tools to prepare for that project/essay (lectures, 1-to-1 guidance, reading lists etc) and the onus was on us to make it happen on time. It really built up my sense of independence, confidence and ability to manage my workload.

Another big part of my Warwick experience were the relationships I built with people and learning to adapt my communication style from one person to the other. This is a huge advantage for anyone getting started in a big corporation and looking back now, I can see how our many lectures, seminars and film events helped with that.

What has been your greatest career challenge to date and how did your experience and skills help overcome it?

Stepping up into my current role from supervisor because I suddenly had to manage a team of people, and this can sometimes be more challenging than the actual projects (especially if you're an introvert). A big part of overcoming this were my confidence and communication skills which I developed greatly while at uni. Smaller extracurricular tasks like working with societies and being involved in department open days put me out of my comfort zone and tested those skills, so I'm very grateful for that.

What ambitions do you have for the future?

Growing my team and taking on more projects that challenge us and helps us grow!

What top tips do you have for Warwick graduates who would like to work in your sector?

The film & TV world is all about building connections (networking) but you should still focus on quality over quantity – find those key experts in their fields and learn from them. Explore alumni events and get to know other Warwick people who are now in the field.

Try and use your summer holidays for runner work or shadowing people in companies you admire, and try to connect with them. A simple act of grabbing a coffee with someone to get to know their work better can end up in unexpected support and source of advice.

What do you know now that you wish you had known when you were applying for jobs?

Nothing is ever personal, and sometimes your application maybe just arrived too late or the employer knows for sure that maybe that place isn't the most beneficial place for you at that point in your development. Don't let it discourage you and by all means try again, but trust the process and broaden your job search.