Internship administrator, University of Edinburgh

Laura Richardson

Internship administrator, University Careers Service


Watch a Youtube video of Laura talking about her life and career-path after graduation

Degree subject and year of graduation –  MSc Philosophy 2013

My current job

I work in the Internships Team in the Careers Service. My work includes managing the marketing for both the Employ.ed on Campus and Employ.ed Overseas internship programmes, as well as providing overall administrative assistance for the rest of the team. My day to day workload is varied and can include working alongside EUSA, student societies and various departments to raise awareness of and participation in our internship schemes through a number of marketing channels (both print and digital). On an administrative level, I input new vacancies into MyCareerHub, manage applications for internship positions, read through CVs and provide general assistance to our clients throughout their recruitment selection process.

My career history

I completed my undergraduate degree at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, after which I returned to Scotland to undergo a Master’s degree in Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh from 2012 – 2013. After I completed my degree I moved to London, where I worked as a graduate Junior Account Executive at an independent Advertising and Marketing agency. My role was primarily client management based and the workload was very fast-paced. My responsibilities included writing creative briefs, marketing research, project reporting and analysis, attending client meetings and working with external suppliers to deliver promotional stock for campaigns we ran. Prior to graduation, I had a part-time job in retail, at the clothing store Fat Face, whilst completing my Master’s degree. Throughout my undergraduate degree I worked part-time in hospitality, specifically wine tasting and sales, where I worked at trade shows, festivals and events.

How I’ve used my degree-skills and/or knowledge in my career

Philosophy trains you to think analytically and critically about concepts and theories. It allows you to decipher an argument through breaking it down logically and analysing its components. Not only does it enable you to question ideas and ways of thinking, but it also helps you to talk meaningfully about a subject matter in a way that is reasoned and well-researched. These skills are transferable to a number of professions and disciplines, something which I drew on many times throughout my work experience to-date. When I presented a project, wrote a brief or solved a problem, my degree has taught me to approach these tasks with reasoned mind-set.

Experience that helped me to get where I am now

Studying Philosophy has definitely aided me in the work environment as it helps you to rationally break down projects or problems and provide solutions – whether to a client or a colleague. One of the most important things I have learnt – both through working in a client-facing environment and working within hospitality – is the importance of being a quality service provider. Whether this is sending a well-worded email, presenting to a client, or talking to a student, it is important to be clear, well-prepared, understanding and adaptable towards others.

My career decisions

I was lucky in that I already had my graduate position lined up before I completed my studies. However, I got this position entirely through networking. I attended a wedding and was talking to a guest about my degree and what I wanted to do after I completed my studies and he offered me an interview, so I took it! I made sure I followed him up on the offer straight afterwards by sending him an email and setting up a meeting so he knew I was serious about the position. However, had this not been the case, I definitely would have utilised the University’s Careers Service to help find an internship or graduate position, as they offer such tailored and one-on-one advice as well as advertising some fantastic opportunities across a number of sectors. Lastly, I never disregard the importance of social media as a few people I know found their jobs through LinkedIn.

My advice for students wanting to work in this area

Firstly, identify what it is you want to do. Whilst I was working at the Advertising agency I learnt that I didn’t want to work in such a faced-paced and cut-throat environment. The skills I learnt there were invaluable and I made some great friends but ultimately it wasn’t for me. I took these marketing skills and applied for a role in another sector – higher education, and I love combining the marketing experience from my previous job with an environment that I really enjoy.

Secondly, make the most of what the University has to offer. The work that goes on behind the scenes is varied and there is something for everyone to get involved in. If you think you might want to work within the tertiary education sector, try an on campus internship and get an idea of what it’s all about.

My advice for students making career decisions today

Be open-minded, quite often it’s easy to pick a profession because it sounds glamorous, fun or really engaging, but you might be surprised by what you actually end up doing in life. We aren’t necessarily made for one specific industry, so you may have to try a couple of things before you find what makes you tick. Just remember – learn something valuable from whatever situation you find yourself in, as you never know when you might need it!





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