IN THE SPOTLIGHT: JASON THORNE.

We recently had the opportunity to speak to Jason Thorne who has been with BMW UK since 2013. He started off his career within the BMW Group as part of the placement year and has since held various roles within Motorrad and more recently manages Motorsport topics within the Experiential team.


YOU FIRST JOINED BMW AS A STUDENT ON A PLACEMENT YEAR, WHAT DID YOU GAIN FROM THIS EXPERIENCE?  WOULD YOU RECOMMEND A PLACEMENT YEAR?

The BMW placement was a great platform for me to begin my journey with the company and working life. Roles within corporate business environments for University students are not only sought after but extremely competitive. I was successful in securing my placement with BMW Motorrad UK where I worked in the marketing department. The small size of the team meant that my experience across the marketing disciplines was broad and I learned so much within the 12 months. There were times where it felt overwhelming at points, but the experience helped me to confirm my decision in pursuing a career within the automotive industry. BMW Motorrad gave me an opportunity to have a role which was cross functional so no day was ever the same. My favourite role was in Event management – something that I would further pursue a few years later. Once my placement came to an end, I did find it a slight shock to the system going back to my final year at University, however I felt more focused, organised and determined to achieve my goals and this was reflected in my academic results. In my opinion, everyone would benefit from a placement year as it gives you real life experience outside of the books and research that University can feel to be overloaded with.

Jason Thorne with the West Surrey Racing team

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR MAIN PIECE OF ADVICE TO ANY NEW GRADUATES STARTING THEIR CAREER?

Be patient and don’t give up no matter what obstacles you encounter. There is so much pressure to achieve success that it can give graduates a feeling that they aren’t on the right path and that their peers are progressing faster than themselves. The truth is, everybody is on their own unique journey and you can’t compare yourself to anyone else. No matter what industry you wish to pursue a career in, roles are so competitive that you will face setbacks and rejections from 99% of your applications – but it is important to keep the focus on your goal. Rejections from graduate schemes can be difficult to digest because of the amount of time you invest into the numerous stages of online tests, telephone interviews and assessment centres. My piece of advice is to persevere and not take rejections personally (which is more difficult than you think!) and to use the experience as fuel to keep going and achieve your goals.


WHAT DOES YOUR CURRENT ROLE AS EXPERIENTIAL AND SPORTS MARKETING EVENTS MANAGER ENTAIL?

The one thing that I love about my current role, is that no day is the same. At any one time, there are multiple events being planned and I am responsible for the success and delivery of each project. Depending on the scale of the event, I will be involved in writing the event brief, to organising tenders, nominating successful agencies, budget management and helping to deliver the overall experiential strategy. I am lucky to have a great team who assist me on the day to day elements of each project and are all as passionate about achieving successful results. We liaise closely with our wider internal departments (communications, social, product and CRM teams) who contribute with their skills and expertise in creating the best experience for the customer. These teams work on a range of projects from prospecting valuable customers, developing social media campaigns as well as having bespoke vehicles manufactured directly from the factory for display at our events.

Jason Thorne with the BMW UK Events team

YOU HAVE RECENTLY WORKED ON BMW UK M TOWN AND BMW BOULEVARD AT THE GOODWOOD FESTIVAL OF SPEED, WHAT HAPPENS IN THE LEAD UP TO AN EVENT OF THIS SCALE? WHEN DO YOU START PLANNING?

An event the scale of Goodwood Festival of Speed takes around a year of planning and organisation – and yet the event itself is over in four days. Every aspect of the customer journey before they arrive at Goodwood, to when they walk on the BMW stand, speak with a staff member and interact with the product is carefully thought through. With so many manufacturers and brands at a high profile event, we have to be more creative and innovative to make sure the brand is heard amongst the competition. We work with amazing agencies who help us to achieve our objectives through experiential led solutions. It is important for us to be aware of the latest consumer trends and insights so that we are able to provide a valuable customer experience that people remember long after the event has finished.


WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO A ROLE WITHIN THE EXPERIENTIAL AND SPORTS MARKETING EVENTS TEAM AT BMW UK?

Event management has always appealed to me as it is a fast paced, dynamic and exciting environment. BMW are involved in a variety of different events and to play a part in these is truly something special and memorable. From British Touring Car Championship, Frieze Art Fair, Goodwood Festival of Speed and M Driving Experiences to name a few – no event is the same and it keeps the role exciting and challenging. Nothing is more rewarding to see events come to life from the briefing stage when concepts are brainstormed to the moment you get on site and the event is due to open to the public. Seeing all of the hard work you, your team and the agencies have devoted to be physically in front of you and ready for customers to experience is a special feeling that never fails to make me feel privileged in what I do for a living. 


YOU PREVIOUSLY WORKED IN MOTORRAD, HOW IS THIS DIFFERENT TO YOUR CURRENT ROLE WITHIN BMW UK? 

Apart from the fact that the product I work with now has two more wheels, I am now responsible for more high profile events which makes the role more challenging, but also more rewarding. My previous role in Motorrad meant I had to be cross functional in all aspects of marketing disciplines due to the small size of the team. My current role has a lot more focus on providing the experience for our customers from start to finish whilst ensuring that the overarching experiential strategy is delivered. This means working with our agencies to develop our plan for the year and identifying milestone events which are important in shaping BMW’s overall experiential strategy. An example of this would be working with our Munich colleagues in planning the activation for Formula E in July 2020, as this has seen a huge surge in popularity and involvement over the last few years. 


WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE BMW, PAST OR PRESENT?

I have been lucky enough to drive almost every BMW in the range both on the public road and on track, where our M vehicles really shine and are truly something special. My favourite model has to be the new BMW M850i Convertible. It has a luxurious interior, an aggressive and elegant design and most importantly the sound of that V8 engine is spectacular and breath-taking on full acceleration.


WHAT HAS BEEN A PERSONAL HIGHLIGHT IN YOUR CAREER SO FAR?

It is difficult to pin down one specific highlight, as the more I reflect on the things I have learned and achieved - I find myself identifying points in my career which make me feel both humbled to have experienced and proud to have accomplished.

Jason Thorne, BMW UK

Thank you to Jason for taking the time to speak to us.

There is a fantastic range of exciting career opportunities available throughout our BMW Centres, manufacturing plants and head office. Visit the BMW Careers website and find yours today.

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