What are companies looking for? – A student reflects

30 September 2016

Nina Bibby, Chief Marketing Officer at O2 tells students it’s not all about grades




‘Raw personality, an eagerness to work and learn are what set you apart from others. Everyone won’t know everything straight away.’



Student Igor Mazur details different aspects of Nina’s talk at St James’ Catholic High School. Nina addressed Sixth Form Business Studies and Economics students and these are key messages taken away. See his analysis of the helpful points of their talk below…

How did Nina get to where she is today?

Nina’s previous jobs played a crucial role in getting her to the top position she is in today. Nina finally ended up in the UK having lived in New York City, Florida, Connecticut & France.

After completing a degree in International Economics and Finance Nina moved into investment banking. However, she found that she wasn’t interested in making money for others by investing in stock markets. Instead, she found that analysing what caused the changes in stock market prices and helping a business to advance suited her much better. After two more years in the world of Investment Banking Nina decided to venture into Marketing.

Her first marketing job was at Diageo, where she helped control the marketing techniques of some of the best known alcohol-producing brands in the world. She also worked for the Intercontinental Hotels group and Barclaycard.

What does Nina’s current role entail?

Nina summed up her role being all about creating “sustainable demand” whereby it is important to generate interest in a product without making false promises (leading to customers never using the firm’s services again) or by cutting prices that may in the long run drive the company out of business. Apart from playing a huge role in designing the most important advertising strategies and advertisements themselves, Nina also conducts market research through surveys and watching interviews of customers through one-way mirrors.

What does a typical day look like for Nina?

Nina is part of a 300-strong team and has a huge workload. Describing her usual day, it was clear that having to leave the house at 7:30am and in the best of cases returning back home at 7pm, works out significantly longer than the typical 9-5. Nina told the students that the mobile industry in which she work is very much the future and that she is proud to be a part of O2.

What have been the highlights in her  current role?

Through her job,Nina has had the chance to meet many famous individuals including Ed Sheeran, Prince William, members of the England Rugby Team and The band ‘Take That’!

Through O2’s 21-year-long sponsorship of the Rugby World Cup led to Nina’s favourite moment at work of all time which was watching Laura Wright singing ‘Jerusalem’ on top of the O2 Arena in London.

What key message did you take away from the talk?

  • Nina was involved in different industries before settling on marketing showing that you don’t always end up where you think you will. 
  • Your interests may change over time and therefore so will your desire to work in different industries. 
  • Nina finds her job very creative and dynamic, speaking passionately about it showing students that you should love what you do.
  • ‘People might not remember what you say but they will definitely remember how you said it’.

Nina kindly presented 6th formers with options for their future, that include apprenticeship schemes, graduate programmes, as well as details of work experience opportunities for students in the tech industry.

Our thanks to Nina for giving up her time, the staff and students at St. James’ Catholic High school and in particular, Sixth Form student Igor Mazur for providing material for this post.