Since visiting Queen Margaret University (QMU), Edinburgh back in August 2016 at the undergraduate open day, I knew this was a place of opportunity and adventure. From the moment I enrolled on my PR and Marketing course in September 2017, I have strived to take every chance of progression and development offered to me here at QMU.

I have always felt, and continue to do so till this day, that QMU is deeply committed to helping students be the best they can be and to giving them the tools and knowledge necessary to work towards a successful career. 

 

Getting involved in events – helping at open day

Students are given the opportunity to get involved in a wide variety of university events including open days, peer support projects, graduation receptions and visit days. Not only are these paid, they provide a great way to develop your confidence and communications skills.

I chose to work as student helper at the undergraduate open days which take place twice a year. These important showcase/information events give prospective students the chance to get a feel for the campus and learn more about what QMU has to offer. For me, it was a 'no brainer' to accept the task of participating in the operation of these days. Alongside providing me with valuable event management experience to add to my CV, it was important for me to contribute to the University and promote what we have to offer as an institution. I take great pride in coming to QMU and hope to share that passion with others.

 

Helping out with promotional videos

Since helping out at the open days, I have been offered further opportunities to contribute to QMU as an extracurricular commitment. I’ve recently featured in the upcoming undergraduate promotional video. This gave me the chance to help out the university as a committed student and to learn about new processes and practices involved in promotional activities . I found the filming process very interesting and it was fascinating to see how these productions come together to make a final product, apart from the many mistakes and outtakes I made! 

 


 

Taking Up An Internship 

Following on from these various contributions, I have made connections within the marketing department of the university itself. Aiming to take advantage of every opportunity available to me here at QMU, I approached the department and enquired about interning for them alongside my course commitments. Now, I work alongside the department working on various projects and marketing initiatives that the university is planning to launch. I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity to gain experience that will be very valuable alongside knowledge learnt on my course. 

 

Live Client Work

The great thing about studying at QMU, compared to other institutions, is the opportunity to learn academic theory and knowledge alongside practical work that allows us, as students, to gather insight into our future employment industry. Even though I am currently in my second year of studying PR & Marketing, I have already been assigned with the task of working for live clients within the industry as part of course assessments. 

Within semester one of second year, our class was tasked with the assignment of creating a media campaign for the Malawian/Scottish charity ‘STEKA Skills’ and the launch of its new dialogue group approach. Whilst challenging at times, this module gave me greater insight into a work environment and the standards that I will be expected to work to when entering the marketing and communications profession as a graduate in two years’ time. This experience is so valuable and has helped confirm my belief that I’ve chosen the right career path.

 

Gaining industry experience: Quaker Oats Project

Another great aspect of studying at QMU is the flexibility and freedom of the assignments, especially for my course, anyway! The University provides lots of opportunities for students to carry out projects and research which is of real interest to them and which will ultimately help them to shape the kind of career which they really want. We are often encouraged to embrace our creativity and individuality by carrying out work in our own manner and developing our own processes. For my ‘Event Management & Evaluation’ module, we were handed the assignment of producing and operating a ‘Healthy Body, Healthy Mind’ event. 

Taking matters into my own hands, and utilising connections within my personal life, I was able to obtain a sponsorship with breakfast giant ‘Quaker Oats’. With its support, our group ran a healthy breakfast information morning that offered free samples of the company’s products to all attendees. It was a great experience getting to manage my own project in the way I wanted to, and with the people I wanted to be involved. It made the assignment feel more realistic and enjoyable!

Overall, I believe my time at QMU so far has been filled with many amazing opportunities that have allowed me to get the best experience from university. In the future, I know I will have the opportunity to continue developing my skills and experience by applying to become a Student Ambassador, getting an industry mentor, applying for the Principal’s International Travel Fund, and maybe securing a paid internship through the Santander Universities Internships Scheme. I can’t wait to see the new and exciting possibilities that await me in my final two years. I am, and will always be, entirely grateful for all of the support and encouragement staff at QMU have given me so far throughout my academic journey.

Alistair Lowe

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