Students Staff

27 July 2015

From an intern to a Sales Director – the power of internships


Leanne Walsham

Psychology graduate Leanne Walsham knows the importance of the University of Essex’s internship scheme – she has gone from an intern to a Sales Director in just three years.

After graduating in 2012, Leanne secured an internship at Black Diamond Commodities as a Trainee Trader. The three month placement, which was advertised through Essex Interns, was so successful it led Leanna to being offered a permanent role.

At the end of a successful first year, Leanne was promoted to Trading Manager and this summer she was promoted again to Sales Director.

She said: “Each annual review has shown me how rewarding hard work can be. Being made a Sales Director of the company was the highest form of praise and recognition, more so than any pay review could be. With each promotion I felt a sense of accomplishment but also appreciation from the company and Managing Director.”

She added: “Studying at Essex has had a big impact on my life. Had it not been for the Essex Internship Scheme, I wouldn’t have found my current job. The support I received from them and the Employability and Careers Centre was outstanding.”

Leanne also highlights the benefits of the University’s award-winning frontrunners scheme, which gives students the chance to get meaningful experience in various work placements around the University. Their experiences as Frontrunners can help them get higher level jobs when they graduate. She has also used the independent research skills she developed on her course including analysing data and report writing.

Greg Dunn, Managing Director at Black Diamond Commodities said: “Leanne has turned the business upside down, shaken it and totally reorganised it, to the degree that I would be utterly sunk if she left.”

Leanne’s current position involves trading commodities for use in animal feed. She is regularly sent on courses to keep her up to date with developments in the market and she has regular French lessons. She has also given talks to students at Essex on internships and the benefits and opportunities they offer. 

...more news releases