Jennifer Mullins, MSc Human Resource Management, shares her journey in the University of Edinburgh Business School (UEBS) Graduate Leader Programme. Her insights illustrate how these experiences have allowed her to expand her skill set, gain self-awareness, and develop confidence.
Staff photo of Jennifer Mullins in front of bookshelves

During my time on this programme, I have successfully completed two placements, my first being hosted by the Student Experience team in the Business School, and the second in the College Office, where I had the opportunity to understand how Schools operated in the context of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Science.

Thinking back to the beginning of my journey on this programme, I remember feeling nervous and unsure about what was to come. Following a short induction period, I began my first placement with the Student Experience team and my nerves were soon settled. After being introduced to my first project, I was so excited to get involved in what I would later find to be an extremely rewarding project - developing the School’s Widening Participation strategy. During my six months on my first placement, I learned so much, not only related to the project I was involved in, but also about myself and how I worked. This self-awareness, as well as the experience and empowerment I felt on this placement, really set me up for success in future placements.

Placement two focused on understanding how teams across the College operated in order to identify best practice and opportunities for improvement. This placement took me out of my comfort zone of the Business School and encouraged me to expand my network and be open to learning in a new environment. Whilst moving to a new job after just six months can seem quite intimidating, I welcomed the opportunity for change and sought to make the opportunity as valuable as possible. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the College Office, and surprised myself by liking the data analysis aspect of the project, an area that I had previously considered a weakness. In my opinion, the most essential thing to have on this programme is an open mindset and a willingness to try new things. Like me, you might surprise yourself and identify areas of work that you would like to pursue, which you had previously written off.

I have now returned to the Business School for my third placement with the Alumni team where I will be engaging on a project examining how we can better support our recent graduates, as well as an additional project exploring the transition from student to alum and how we can assist this process. As I write this piece, I am beginning my third week of this placement, but already, I am being presented with exciting opportunities, such as the chance to spend some time in London to attend alumni events, visit other Business Schools and network with UEBS alumni.

The diversity of placements and projects that I have experienced has exposed me to areas of work that I would not have otherwise considered and has shown me the different career paths available to me within Higher Education.

The combination of these projects and placements, as well as the spontaneous opportunities that arise, have expanded my skill set enormously and have given me a tremendous surge in confidence.

If you are unsure about what career you would like to pursue after University, I would highly recommend considering a career in Higher Education. It is an extremely diverse industry and can offer you a career in countless areas, from Finance, to HR and everything in between. If like me, you’re unsure which of these areas is best suited to you, I would highly encourage you to apply for the Business School Graduate Leader Programme and give yourself the opportunity to experience a range of departments before deciding which one is right for you. My experience on the UEBS Graduate Programme over the past year has exposed me to countless opportunities to learn and grow. Now, as I begin my third placement and prepare for life after this programme, I am feeling excited for what’s to come and well-prepared for a continued career in Higher Education.

Learn more about the Graduate Leader Programme