BA German & Music, Music and Educational Publishing
Why did you choose Royal Holloway for your degree?
I chose Royal Holloway because it offered a great combination of the things I was looking for as an undergraduate. What really leapt out were the fantastic links the German department had with universities in other European countries, and as soon as I realised I had the chance to head out to Vienna for my third year abroad - a dream destination for a German and Music student - that was it really! I also remember the buzz I got on interview day, I wanted a campus university and there was such a warm and friendly feel to the place, yet London was just down the road - that balance seemed ideal to me, and too good to miss out on.
How did your time at Royal Holloway help your future career?
It taught me so much about the sorts of things that I've found invaluable during my career: working to strict deadlines, problem solving, and developing the independence and confidence to tackle new situations and experiences. But Royal Holloway also gave me opportunities to do things beyond my studies that I not only really enjoyed at the time but gave me some really interesting and often unusual things to tell employers during job interviews. I got involved in the German Society during my first year, and loved it so much I ended up chairing it in my second year; I joined as many musical groups as I could, and even ended up teaching piano privately during my year abroad; and somehow I ended up becoming treasurer of the Ballroom Dancing society too. Through all of these experiences I learned just how important positive relationships and teamwork can be, something I've found incredibly valuable everywhere I've worked.
What do you do now and what advice would you give to anyone thinking about a career in your sector?
Since leaving, a happy combination of good luck and the fact that I can't sit still for very long has led me through a diverse career where I've been able to make the most of my love of music and languages. I've worked in the music industry (marketing and product management for Naxos, one of the world's leading classical music companies), educational publishing (as the modern languages commissioning editor for the schools publisher Nelson Thornes), and as a languages teacher in the UK and abroad. Just at the moment I've got the most amazing job in the world - taking time out to look after my 18 month old son. My advice to anyone thinking about a career in any of these areas? I can definitely recommend them all, but educational publishing is a wonderful choice for people who are genuinely interested in their chosen subject area, and there's nothing like the feeling of seeing a book you've helped to create finally get published. As with most careers it's a competitive area so getting some work experience with a publishing house is a sensible starting point, but beyond that they'll want to see you have a good eye for detail and can work really well in a team. So make sure you get involved in as much as you possibly can during your time at Royal Holloway - not only will you have loads of fun but it's great for the CV too!