Why did you choose the course and what was it that attracted you to QMU?
I chose this course because it was the only one of its kind in Scotland. I knew that I definitely wanted to study Marketing but had the desire to further explore the PR and events side of business, this was the only course on offer in the country that provided me with this opportunity. Choosing this course was simply a no brainer. I was attracted to QMU as I admired the modern setting and size of its campus, and after my first visit, I immediately knew QMU was the place for me.
Why did you choose to study in Edinburgh/Scotland?
I chose to study in Scotland primarily because of how low cost it is compared to studying elsewhere in the UK. Furthermore, I chose Edinburgh as it has always been a familiar and welcoming environment to myself having lived over the bridge in Fife for the past 13 years. I’ve always considered Edinburgh to be an exciting and innovative city bursting with opportunities for everyone. I really enjoy everything the city has to offer from nightlife to sightseeing. Alongside this, I feel safe and at home in Edinburgh.
Living Away from Home
Where did you live whilst studying? If you were living in halls what was the best part?
I have spent my first two years of studying at QMU living within the student residences located on campus. After spending my first year on campus, it felt sensible to come back for a second year. The residences are located right next to the academic building so there’s no commuting costs and early wake-ups! Alongside this, travelling to the city centre only takes 6 minutes by train. It takes me less time to get into Princes Street than all of my friends who live in the city centre and attend other cast institutions.
How easy have you found it to make friends/connections at QMU and settle into university life?
So easy! QMU’s small size means it is so easy to make new friends and relationships. Alongside course friends and flatmates, I have made connections with various lecturers and staff within the university whilst helping out/contributing to activities such as open days and the production of new promotional material.
Life in Edinburgh
What do you like most about Edinburgh?
I love Edinburgh because of everything it has to offer. You’re never far away from anything you need and there’s always something new to discover. As well as enjoying Edinburgh as a city, living here opens up connections to many other areas of Scotland that are exciting to visit. I’ve had various days out in areas such as Berwick, Glasgow and Livingston as a result of Edinburgh’s great transport links.
What was the best experience you had in Edinburgh? Are there any hidden ‘gems’ you’d like to share?
I’ve not really got one best experience from living in Edinburgh, the whole package is amazing! I love the nightlife here, there’s so many interesting and unique places to visit. I’ve had such a great time so far in Edinburgh from various press events at my part time job at the Playhouse to days out at activity venues such as Fountain Park.
QMU and the course
Did you attend an Open Day? If so, was there any aspect of the University which made up your mind for you?
I did, I visited in August 2016, so that was exactly one year before I started my first year here, at QMU. For me, this day was so important as to deciding where I wanted to study for the next four years. As soon as I arrived on campus, I knew this was the place for me. I admired the small and modern campus setting and really couldn’t imagine myself studying elsewhere. I am so happy I decided to study at QMU.
What was the most interesting part of the course, in terms of something you learned or a particular activity?
The most interesting part of the course so far has been the ‘Media Campaigning’ module in semester one of second year. The module required us to produce a PR campaign for a live client. I worked for ‘STEKA Skills', a charity based in Malawi which the University has a working relationship with. It was so useful to put academic theory and learning into practice and produce real life results. Compared to just sitting in a classroom and taking lecture notes, this module gave us a glimpse of what a real PR/communications role actually involves.
What has been the most challenging area?
Coming straight from school, the most challenging part of the work so far has been stepping up to the academic level necessary for university success. It was quite a transition, but thanks to the size of QMU, I was able to receive one-to-one support from my lecturers who were able to guide me in the right direction. Alongside this, the Effective Learning Service in the library offers drop-in support sessions for academic skills and essay writing, such a help in first year!
Any advice for students who might be interested in this course?
Go for it! It was the best decision I have ever made and I’m sure it will be yours too! The course covers a wide span of business activities and gives you a real insight into the career you will be entering after graduation. The lecturers are so supportive and keep learning fun and interesting.
Taking advantage of opportunities beyond the course
Have you taken advantage of any scholarship, awards, internships, or other work and development opportunities at QMU?
Not yet unfortunately. However, I am very keen to do so! I’m only in my second year right now so still have time to find something interesting to do that will provide me with practical experience to have alongside my degree.
What is the best part of being a student at QMU?
Overall, I would say the best part of being a student at QMU is being a part of the inclusive community here on campus. Our small setting makes it so easy to meet new people and always bump into a familiar face. QMU feels like a home away home.
Would you recommend QMU to anyone thinking of coming to university? If so, why?
Yes! Definitely. I’ve had a very positive experience here at QMU. Everything, from its modern campus, helpful lecturers, contemporary accommodation and even the swans that walk past you on the way to class make studying at QMU a joy.
What do you hope to do following graduation?
I hope to pursue a career in PR/Marketing either in Scotland or the rest of the UK. I’m very keen to travel the world and see what it has to offer! Hopefully, by building up work experience and graduating with my degree from QMU, I can develop an exciting career in an industry I’m really passionate about.
Alistair studied for the BSc (Hons) Public Relations, Marketing and Events. The course has recently undergone some modification and is now BSc (Hons) Public Relations and Marketing Communications.
"The course covers a wide span of business activities and gives you a real insight into the career you will be entering after graduation. "
[Story published in 2019]