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Alumna cites the art of networking to career success

Anushka Ayaru

The work placement part of the course encouraged us to get out there and network for work placements.

Anushka, Alumni

Creative Director and Founder, Filmworks

Communication & Information Studies BSc - 2001

From UK

Tell us about your career journey since you graduated…

Whilst at Brunel I walked into ‘The Bill’ studios and asked for a work placement. They had nothing to offer but the Production Manager asked me to keep in touch. I did just that and when I graduated he invited me to interview and I got the job of Assistant Stage Manager. When I left The Bill, I went to work for a corporate and documentary production company on a freelance basis whilst still exploring the world of TV commercials, documentaries, kit hire and entertainment. I began producing and directing within 4 years of graduating.

What does an average day at work involve for you?

It's very varied and no day is the same. I could be working on pre-production, directing a shoot, working with an editor, choosing music, meeting clients, standing on the edge of the red carpet or interviewing Simon Cowell in his house. It all depends on what I am working on at the time and at what stage of production I am at.

What’s been the highlight of your career so far?

I have had a few! Making a film about the Tsunami in Sri Lanka for a charity was a very rewarding and humbling experience. Directing TVCs in Australia was great, especially working with a world class cricketer. Meeting celebrities and navigating the world of entertainment has also been very exciting!

How would you say Brunel helped you to get where you are today?

It was here, on the TV & Film module taught to us by Colin Burgess, that I decided I loved directing. The work placement part of the course encouraged us to get out there and network for work placements. No help was provided at the time but in hindsight that was not a bad thing. A Budweiser advert was being filmed on campus when I was still at university so I approached the Producer and got his details. He introduced me to people and I learnt the art of networking pretty quickly.

Why did you choose to study at Brunel and why would you recommend Brunel to others?

I wanted to do the particular course I chose as the modules interested me. I had no idea that it would lead to the career I ended up with. I got incredible support from my faculty as well with coursework - it’s great to be in a university that provides such support.

What is your best memory of studying here?

My best memory is probably working on the radio and TV modules. Working as part of a team with fellow students, who are still friends today. We were on a journey together and I remember directing the TV doco style piece using a linear editing system! It seems archaic today but it was all part of the teamwork and bonding experience!

If you could give one piece of advice to new students, what would that be?

Take it all in. Make friends with people on other courses and join a few societies, not just those you think you are comfortable joining but also one that is totally foreign to you. Do as much networking and volunteering in careers that interest you. Use everything the University provide to help you with career choices, go to the events and join the mentoring schemes.

What would be your top tip or advice for new graduates as they begin their career journey?

Network, be bold and confident but also listen and learn from the people you meet. Always follow up and keep in touch, you never know who can help you 3, 5, or 10 years from now and who you can also help or work with. Be open-minded and willing to learn from those with a wealth of experience.