UCL Researchers
  • Welcome

    The UCL Careers team use this Blog to share their ‘news and views’ about careers with you. You will find snippets about a whole range of career related issues, news from recruiters and links to interesting articles in the media.

    We hope you enjoy reading the Blog and will be inspired to tell us your views.

    If you want to suggest things that students and graduates might find helpful, please let us know – we want to hear from you.

    Karen Barnard – Head of UCL Careers

    UCL Careers is part of The Careers Group, University of London

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    A media and tech career

    By Sophia Donaldson, on 7 June 2018

    Alys Donnelly has an MPhil in Multidisciplinary Gender Studies and is now Head of Business Process at Xaxis, a media and technology company. Below, Alys tells us about her career journey, and offers tips for those wanting to take a similar route.

     

    Tell us about your current role and organisation

     

    I currently work for a media company called Xaxis as the Head of Business Process. I make sure that our business is running as efficiently as possible and that we’re working to improve the way we deliver results for clients. Xaxis itself is a media and technology company that runs digital ad campaigns for clients who are looking to drive a certain outcome, such as a sale or download.  

     

    How did you move from academia to your current role? 

     

    During my undergrad degree I interned at Google in the Corporate Communications team. I really enjoyed the experience and learned an awful lot, so when I finished my MPhil and decided that I didn’t want to move on to a PhD I decided to apply back to Google and managed to get a job in their Dublin office. There was quite a lot of serendipity in my getting my internship, I responded to a flyer and was in the right place at the right time, but that was how I got my foot back in the door for my first job.  

     

    What does a normal working day look like for you? 

     

    I don’t really have a normal day as such, as I’m lucky in that the projects I work on change pretty frequently. However, on the whole an average work day for me usually involves a lot of meetings and talking to people about the work they’re doing and how it affects my teams and the outputs we’re trying to drive. I work very closely with stakeholders from across multiple business units to make sure that everyone’s expectations are managed and that our projects are on track to deliver what we need them to. I also deliver certain elements or entire projects on my own depending on the size, scope, and expertise involved. 

     

    What are the best things about working in your role?   

     

    One of the best bits in my role is that I get to work with some smart people on some pretty cool products. The media/tech businesses I’ve been in have also put a lot of emphasis on work/life balance, more so than I’ve seen my friends experience in other industries, so that’s been a definite plus!

     

    What are the biggest challenges?    

     

    All the usual things I suppose! Admin things like a bit too much email sometimes, and all the usual things that go along with working in offices, but there aren’t all that many downsides to a career in media I’ve found so far. 

     

    Is a PhD essential for your role?

     

    Absolutely not! Though that being said, my degrees certainly helped me win my first role, from which the rest of my career has stemmed. So attending a very good university for my BA/MPhil really did set me up for my subsequent career. Also, I think the discipline, intellectual rigour and approach to working with data that I learned during my BA/MPhil were crucial to my being successful in my roles in each business or team I’ve worked in. 

     

    What’s the progression like?   

     

    Media/tech is a very dynamic and fast-paced environment so predicting where you’ll be in a five years time is pretty hard. But that’s also a bonus in that people do move roles, companies, and sectors of the industry quite regularly and that’s not necessarily frowned upon! If you put the work in and know where you want to go, with a bit of luck you should be able to get there or find something relatively close. I’m not sure that’s the case in all other industries. 

     

    What tips would you give researchers interested in this type of work?

     

    I know ‘networking’ can be seen as a bit of a dirty word, but it really does help. Even if it’s just to work out what you don’t want to do. Talking to people about what their job actually entails is invaluable, especially in the media and tech sector where people can use the same words but mean totally different things and the lived reality of a role/business can change very rapidly. Asking around if anyone you know also knows someone who might be open to a coffee can really be useful in giving you a steer in the right direction. 

     

     

     

    NEWSFLASH! PhDs can come to media week too!

    By Sophia Donaldson, on 26 November 2015

    Image from Griffith College Marketing team via creative commonsNext week’s media week events are open to all UCL students – including you PhDs. We have lots of great speakers from the worlds of publishing, journalism, broadcasting, and PR and marketing. And if you don’t see yourself as a ‘media type’ you might also like to investigate the growing field of Media Analytics, discussed on Thursday 3rd Dec, where your analytical skills will be valued.

    “But I’m a scientist, is Media Week open to me too?” I hear you ask. Yes! We welcome even you scientists, and you may be particularly interested in hearing from the Freelance Scientific and Medical Editor speaking at our “Getting into Publishing” event on Tues 1st Dec, and the science graduate who now works as a BBC radio producer (she worked on ‘The Naked Scientists’!) who will be answering questions at our “Get into Broadcasting” event on Wed 2nd Dec.

    See the full line up of events below.

     

    UCL Careers Media Week

    1st-4th December 2015

    Come along to our selection of panel discussions, interactive workshops and presentations to find out more about opportunities across this popular sector. Gain tips on routes into the media industry from experienced media professionals and learn what you can start doing now to increase your chances of success!

    All of the events below are now bookable through ‘My UCL Careers’. Event venues are confirmed on booking.

    Get into Publishing: Panel Discussion, Q&A and Networking

    Tuesday 1st December, 5.30pm-7pm

    Want to get some key tips on how to break through into this notoriously competitive sector? Come and meet panellists across editorial roles and academic publishing. Confirmed panellists include:

     

    > Marta Kowalewska , Editorial Assistant, Sage Publications

    > Dr.Nina Buchan, Freelance Scientific & Medical Editor

    > Claire Palmer, Editor, Harper Collins Publishers

    > Allie Collins, freelance editor (former Editorial Director at John Blake Publishing)

    > UCL Press representative

     

    Journalism Workshop with News Associates

    Wednesday 2nd December, 1pm-3pm

    Students interested in pursuing a career in journalism can enrol on this two-hour practical workshop run by the press agency News Associates. They will get you writing an article in a mock, ‘real-life’ breaking news exercise. Feedback will be given on your work and time is set aside for careers advice. News Associates are the UK’s leading training provider of the NCTJ (National Council for the Training of Journalists) Multimedia Diploma.

    Please note that this is an interactive session aimed at those looking to pursue a career in UK-based journalism. Attendees will need to have excellent skills in both verbal and written English to ensure that they can engage effectively with the demands of the workshop.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to the group size and nature of this workshop, a returnable cash deposit is required to be paid in person at UCL Careers after registering to guarantee your place. You will also need to bring a laptop/tablet with you to be able to participate in this event.

    Get into Broadcasting – TV, Film & Radio: Panel Discussion, Q&A and Networking

    Wednesday 2nd December, 5.30pm-7pm

     

    Want to get an insight into working in and with the broadcasting industry? Come along to this event to hear directly from professionals about some of the various roles in these sectors! Confirmed panellists include:

     

    > Alex Snelling, Film Director/Producer/Editor, Slack Alice Films

    > Anya Saunders, Editorial Lead, BBC Make It Digital

    > Matt Pelly, Freelance Series Producer, Director and Cameraman

    > Kate Lamble,  Assistant Producer, BBC World Service

    > Eduardo Leal, Account Director, Precious Media

     

    This panel discussion is chaired by Leiah Kwong, President of the UCLU Film and TV Society

     

    What is Media Analytics? Presentation by GroupM
    Thursday 3rd December, 1-2pm


    Media is changing. Today we are in a space where data, creative content and technology collide, where audience insight sits at the heart of the creative process, and where extraordinary intelligence and state of the art trading models help us deliver tangible output for our clients.

     

    GroupM is the world leading media advertising group. We plan advertising campaigns for some of the biggest and most renowned brands globally, and based on rich consumer data we buy the media space that reach the right target audience.

     

    In this presentation we will discuss how data, audience insight and analytics help us deliver successful media campaigns. What data do we collect? What do we know about you? How do we use this information to target the right audience? Where is the future of media taking us, and what does this mean in terms of our future talent and career opportunities?

     

    Get into PR, Marketing & Advertising: Panel Discussion, Q&A and Networking

    Thursday 3rd December, 5.30pm-7pm

     

    Professionals working in the industry will be discussing their career paths and ways to get into the sector. The panel will also be sharing tips on how to progress your career. Confirmed panellists include:

     

    > Christy Madden, Ogilvy Fellow, Ogilvy

    > Kari Shephard, Consultant, Claremont Communications

    > Sophie Orbaum, Account Director, Gerber Communications

    > Caroline Cody, Media Relations Manager, Lloyds Banking Group

    > Tom McCarron, Periscopix
    CVs/Applications for Media Careers: Panel Discussion, Q&A and Networking

    Friday 4th December, 1pm-2pm

     

    Get top tips from industry professionals on how to make your applications stand out and what you can be doing now to increase your chances of securing a role in this industry. Confirmed panellists include:

     

    > Sally Hunter, Head of Commercial Marketing, The Guardian

    > Jackie Fast, Managing Director, Slingshot Sponsorship

    > Graham Russ, Careers Co-ordinator, Creative Skillset

    > Sonia Cason-Zeif, Recruiter, Sapient Nitro