From LaunchPad to marketing lead. Read about Zain's Journey from UCLan to the Middle East.

Alumni spotlight

University of Central Lancashire graduate, Zain Shaikh, has landed a top job as Creative and Brand Strategy Lead at the Chalhoub Group, a large luxury retail group based in the Middle East, specialising in brand management, growth strategies and customer experience for major luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Dior, FENDI and more.

Zain, who studied BA (Hons) Marketing Management at UCLan, works to support global brand partners and the company’s own concepts and start-ups in developing their local brand strategy. His role is to identify key creative trends, the target audience and to build the customer journey, advising on messaging, brand tone, content strategies and developing creative campaign ideas that drive growth.

Zain graduated in 2015 and immediately went to work for Red Bull TV where he started as a Program Marketing Manager, responsible for the creative marketing campaigns for their TV shows. He then worked his way up to become an International Brand Marketing Manager at Red Bull Media House, based at their global headquarters in Austria.

During his time at UCLan, Zain was part of the LaunchPad leadership development programme, which provided students with opportunities to enhance their professional skills, allowing them to become the global leaders of the future.

Talking about LaunchPad, Zain said: “It was a great chance to meet people who have similar ambitions to yourself. Until you’ve done something like LaunchPad you won’t realise how valuable the experience is and how much you will learn.”

Zain Shaikh, Brand Strategy Lead at the Chalhoub Group.
Zain Shaikh, Brand Strategy Lead at the Chalhoub Group.

Whilst at University, Zain took advantage of the many work experience opportunities available to him and completed a one-year industry placement across several companies. Speaking about his placement year, Zain said: "it proved to be especially helpful when applying for graduate jobs, giving me that extra year of work experience.”

During this time, Zain worked as a Public Relations Intern for Adidas and Debenhams, a Brand Developer for Waitrose and a Marketing Assistant at Mintel to name a few. Zain credits this experience as to one of the reasons why he gained his job at Red Bull TV. He said: “Experience is everything. Sure the degree matters but the work experience is what differentiates you from everyone else. Do internships, work experience, research. It’s all valuable.”

When talking about his time at UCLan, Zain said: “It was very enjoyable and valuable. The lecturers were incredibly helpful and supportive and always available for careers advice. The course allowed me to get a strong understanding of marketing from both a client and agency side.”