Skip navigation


Helen Darke

Career Path: Senior Digital Marketing Executive, Leeds Building Society
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

I was drawn to a career in marketing, due to the mix of analytics and creativity involved and I particularly liked the exciting, fast paced and continually evolving world of digital marketing. I knew that a degree in marketing would give me the best possible foundation to start my career but also that real life experience was vital. I was able to secure a part time job with a marketing agency while studying for my degree and undertook a year-long placement during my third year.

What are you doing now?Helen Darke 

Once graduating I worked for several top digital marketing agencies in Leeds progressing from Account Executive to Senior Account Manager, managing a variety of projects including website builds, analytics, paid media and SEO. I then moved “in house” to join the Digital Marketing team at Leeds Building Society as a Senior Digital Marketing Executive.

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here? 

I am from Newcastle originally and so I know what a great city it is and have lots of friends and family there. However, the main thing that attracted me to the University was the great reputation of the Marketing Management course and the emphasis played on real life experience, including the year-long industrial placement which was a core part of the course. 

What was it like studying at Northumbria?

There was a great mix of lectures, seminars and project work to suit all learning styles. The University's facilities were also comfortable and modern (they built a brand new Business School while I was there). The staff were very supportive and were always willing to give their time to discuss projects and coursework (especially during the critical dissertation preparation period).

How connected was your course with industry?

Northumbria University is very connected to the marketing and business world. My lecturers had a wealth of real life experiences to share and the university has great connections with top companies who actively look to recruit students from Northumbria for their placement and graduate schemes, based on the quality and skills of past recruits. There was a lot of focus on the practical skills involved in applying for placements and graduate roles, as well as support to help students get onto the career ladder, which I feel is vital in the current economy

How did studying at Northumbria help give your career an edge? 

I studied a great mix of modules which covered all aspects of marketing plus finance, international business and research. The placement year experience was invaluable as were the practical skills I learnt to help develop my CV and apply for jobs.

What was the best thing about your course? 

I really enjoyed the more practical elements like web design and learning to use various software programs to build systems that can help run a business. 

Which skills/knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now throughout your career? 

Being able to focus my dissertation on digital marketing was a huge benefit to my career as I could gain more in depth knowledge on a very relevant area.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

I enjoyed the independent nature of the study and the ability to focus on my areas of interest during many of the modules (and the awesome student union and nightlife of course!).

What advice would you give somebody who is thinking of studying at Northumbria?

Go for it! It is a brilliant, well-regarded university which will give you the knowledge and practical skills to set you up in your career. Newcastle is also a fabulous city with friendly people and a great night life!

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in three words?

Engaging, memorable and rewarding. 

For more information about me, visit:

Latest News and Features

a headshot image of Andy Smith smiling at the camera with an image of the sun in the background
Care leavers covenant
Jacinda Ardern. Photo Credit NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Creative writing lecturer, May Sumbwanyambe, from the department of Humanities at Northumbria.
The Ukrainian flag. Getty Images
More news

Back to top