Marleen hails from Bremen in northwest Germany and worked as a freight forwarder before completing an undergraduate degree at her hometown's University of Applied Sciences. Fascinated by travel and exploring different cultures, Marleen decided to make the move to Edinburgh to study on Queen Margaret University's (QMU) MSc International Marketing programme where, in spite of the challenges presented by COVID-19, she quickly made new friends, engaged with her lecturers and became actively involved with the Marketing Society. This is her QMU student story.
Tell us a little about yourself.
Before I came to QMU, I did an apprenticeship as a freight forwarding agent, worked for about two years and then started a bachelor’s programme in International Business and Business Languages focusing on the Arab world at the University of Applied Sciences, Bremen.
One of my favourite hobbies is travelling as I am fascinated by foreign languages and cultures. Also, I am a nature lover who enjoys hiking and exploring new grounds.
Why did you choose to study at QMU, and what attracted you to the course?
As QMU is not too big a university, I became convinced it was the right choice for me through the level of personality and interconnectivity between lecturers, officers and students. QMU’s location, relationships with various professional industries, its internationality and the multiple avenues of support available to you throughout your studies also convinced me to apply.
Why did you choose to study in Edinburgh?
I had never been to Scotland or even lived in an English-speaking country before coming to QMU. As a vibrant melting pot of cultures, Edinburgh has always been on my list of places to go. My search for a master’s programme allowed me to get to know this beautiful place where city life and stunning landscapes are only a stone’s throw away from each other.
What have you most enjoyed about your course? What has been your highlight?
The freedom of choice for the assignment topics made it possible for me to enhance my knowledge in the fields I am really interested in.
Has there been a particular course activity you found especially interesting? How have your lecturers supported your learning?
My final project - Business Consultancy in Practice – has been the most interesting course while equally being the most demanding. It provided me with an excellent opportunity to critically reflect on all the theory learnt during my studies and apply these in practice. Consulting with a real company in my desired industry through a project which I had to build from scratch completely is, on the one side, extremely challenging. Equally, it taught me important lessons I will benefit from with regard to my personal development and work life. I am definitely growing with the project.
What have been some of your challenges with the course and university life? How have you overcome them?
COVID-19 has been and still is, without doubt, the biggest challenge of my master’s programme. It affects not only the courses but also every aspect of university life. Luckily, I made some good friends in the early days of my studies, when face-to face-teaching was still in place, and lecturers and staff are very engaged and work hard to make the best out of the situation.
Any advice for students who might be interested in this course?
Properly reflect whether the course content does really match with your future career goals and if you are genuinely interested in the classes on offer. Do not hesitate to contact the programme advisers beforehand; they are happy to answer your questions!
Enhancing student learning and personal development
If applicable, what University services have you used to support you through your university journey and how have they helped you?
I took part in a session at the Effective Learning Service (ELS) to improve my CV and cover letter writing skills. This was extremely helpful, and I cannot recommend this highly enough. The staff at the ELS are very supportive.
"As a vibrant melting pot of cultures, Edinburgh has always been on my list of places to go. My search for a master’s programme allowed me to get to know this beautiful place where city life and stunning landscapes are only a stone’s throw away from each other."
Life as a Student at QMU
Are you a member of a QMU club or society? If so, what was the reason behind your choice, and what do you enjoy most about it?
I became a QMU Marketing Society member to connect with new people and share and enhance my marketing knowledge. I imagine in pre-or post-COVID times that this experiencing would have been more lively, but fortunately, there has been a selection of online activities.
What’s your ‘top tip’ for making the most of being a student?
Proper time management – take a calendar and map all your assignments/tasks to have a clear overview and allocate your time accordingly.
What has been the most valuable lesson that you’ve learned at university?
You can manage everything as long as you are dedicated and deal with your tasks seriously. Be confident in your own abilities!
What are your plans after graduation? Tell us about your ambitions and where you see yourself in the future?
After I graduate this summer, my goal is to work in strategic marketing within the pharmaceutical or healthcare industry to contribute to improving human health worldwide meaningfully. It would be great if my first graduate position would be abroad and in an international setting.
[Published March 2021]