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Management Consultant
What do you do for a living?
Management Consultant

How did you get interested in what you do? What advice was available to you when you chose this career direction?
Always wanted to pursue an international career with different challenges and meeting (engaging with) different people all the time

What was your journey to reach the role you are in today?
Journey was not to plan for a specific career but to create a wide base of opportunities within my areas of interest to allow me to choose in the future – i.e. international organisations, different cultures, etc. – all pursued through international schools, the International Baccalaureate, and continuing to study programmes like International Relations

Talk me through a day in your life… what sorts of things would it involve?
No two days have appeared the same – sometimes it would be being assigned to a client in the most northern parts of Sweden to assist with food processing plants whereas in others, it would be sitting by the desk, and trying to work out how best a customer could develop a new product. What is the same, wherever you are and whatever you are trying to achieve, is the process of understanding the people you are working with, what the issues are, and push yourself to find a better solution – even by having to think outside of the box – that my standard day.

Was it your planned career when you were 18
International organisation like EU Commission, UN or international insurance (Lloyds)

What did your mum and dad want you to do?
Fairly supportive of anything I wanted to pursue

What advice would you give to someone interested in your career?
It is not a career for those who look for stability, certainty, and guidance, and requires personal flexibility, a high degree of personal integrity and being comfortable in areas of unfamiliarity

What other directions could you go in /work in within your field other than the job you have chosen?
Majority of management consultants end up working either as executives in a specific industry of choice, pursuing entrepreneurial paths, or – because of the continuous learning process and flexibility required by occupation – tend to make even greater “leaps” in career paths to completely different starts in life (not being worried about not being able to do it)

If there is anything you have not covered about your area of expertise, please feel free to add here.
There is no definitive role description for a management consultant, and the tasks will vary from one environment to another, and from one project to another – however that is what is most appealing about the career; many negative and positive comments have been made about the management consultant but at the same time, many value the insights and experience they bring to businesses and particularly individuals – the best management consultant is one that shares his or her knowledge and does not guard it like some golden possession

Marketing design
What do you do for a living?
I was an account director then commercial director for a graphic design and marketing agency based in Edinburgh. The agency designed and produced corporate identities, exhibition stands, brochures, point of sale items, university prospectuses, websites and lots of other marketing materials.

How did you get interested in what you do? What advice was available to you when you chose this career direction?

I became interested in working in a marketing agency during my time studying at Napier University – I did a general commerce degree specialising in marketing and French. During that time a large advertising agency came in to talk to us and we had to work on a pretend project with them. This sparked my interest.

What was your journey to reach the role you are in today?

I chose to do a general business degree that allowed me to also keep my interest in languages. The majority of my Highers are language based.
At Napier after my degree I chose to do the Chartered Institute of Marketing Diploma (this was not as part of course it was an extra case study that I sat in my own time).
However on leaving Uni I started off in more of an IT based job and then was a recruitment consultant for 3 years – before starting at a sales promotion agency in business development. So it took me a number of years to eventually get to where I wanted to be!

Talk me through a day in your life… what sorts of things would it involve?

I would take briefs from a client – perhaps for their new marketing campaign, an advert or brochure (face to face or over the phone). I would proof read the visuals provided by the designers in the studio. I would brief design and web team on new projects. Present project ideas to clients and take their feedback. Invoice clients for work carried out to date. Work on mailing ideas to generate new business for the agency. Work with more junior members of the team on their accounts and projects, providing input and advice. Attend brainstorms for new projects where the account manager tells the team the brief and we all think of ideas (sometimes a bit wild and wacky). A real mix of administration, client facing and team work.

Was it your planned career when you were 18?

I wasn’t sure but I did think I would work with my languages. As part of the Napier degree I worked in France for 6 months in a bank as a stagiaire (placement student). It was after this that I realised that although I enjoyed it, I was happier working in the UK in the short term.

What did your mum and dad want you to do?
Teacher or something secretarial

What advice would you give to someone interested in your career?

It would probably have helped me to have taken more business focused subjects at school – such as accounting or economics in my later years. Not essential but would have given me a head start for my business degree.
Keep your options open – not everyone who ends up in marketing has a specific marketing degree – a general business degree gives you a good basis and you may change your mind once you are at Uni.

One point to note – when I worked at KLP (a large sales promotion agency) lots of the account team were not graduates – they had just worked their way up – some of them from being sales promotion boys and girls at events.

What other directions could you go in /work in within your field other than the job you have chosen?

You could work for any organisation in their inhouse marketing department. Everyone requires marketing from a small business to large banks (who employ hundreds of marketing personnel).
I could have also chosen to specialise in an area of marketing – such as sales promotion, direct marketing, PR, digital, events.

Marketing manager
Q.What do you do for a living?
I work for Scottish Enterprise, Scotland’s Economic Development Agency, which is trying to bring inward investment into Scotland to create employment.

My role is to attract companies to come and work in Scotland and to support Scottish companies export abroad. In particular, and most recently, in renewable energies.

Q.How did you get interested in what you do? What advice was available to you when you chose this career direction?
When I was about 16 at school I was given a job aptitude test and one of the career options that my abilities and personality seemed to suit well was sales and marketing.

Q.What was your journey to reach the role you are in today? (talk perhaps about education/choices/university, college, training or apprenticeships/ CPD or professional exams/job progression)
It all started whilst I was still at school. I had a very enjoyable summer job on a market stall selling fruit and veg! I learned the discipline of working hard, dealing with the public, persuading people, how to display goods attractively. Also I learned how to use pricing effectively to reduce waste e.g. to sell off short dated stock at reduced prices. Also, how to get along with colleagues and people from different backgrounds to my own. Latterly the business owner, who was a great mentor to me, gave me responsibility as a teenager to manage his staff one day every week.

I got good A level results so that allowed me to choose which University I went to. Thirty years ago there was only one University in England that offered a Business Studies/Marketing degree which was Lancaster. In Scotland it was only Strathclyde University.

I did quite a few graduate “milk round” interviews with big companies and I was offered a number of jobs as a graduate trainee. The most attractive offer was with Scottish and Newcastle to market beer in Edinburgh now called Heineken.

Following a year as a graduate trainee in marketing, I was then asked to work in sales in the South West of England for about 18 months before moving back to Edinburgh where for the next 8 years I worked my way up to being Marketing Manager for the Scottish Pub side of the business who sold beer to all of Scotland’s pubs, sounds like an ideal job – even got free beer!

I was then offered an opportunity to set up a new Design Agency in Edinburgh and be the Account Director in charge of new business which was really interesting and useful in giving me insights into other businesses which I had not worked in before.

I also took the opportunity to do a post graduate course in marketing to refresh and update my knowledge which I did in my own time in the evenings and weekends.

This was around the time that I had rejoined the beer company and did marketing for a range of beers and lagers.

I did further work in marketing for Higher Education and Health Scotland before being offered a role working for my current employer Scottish Enterprise 5 years ago. This was doing marketing to help regenerate the business community on the Clyde in Glasgow e.g. this project brought the BBC and STV to the Clyde but most recently I added the marketing of Scotland’s energy industry including Scotland’s renewable energy.

Q.Talk me through a day in your life… what sorts of things would it involve?
Actually there isn’t a typical day it is very varied and challenging in that respect.

However, the main elements range from planning marketing promotional activity ( need to be good at maths and analysing information), communicating either in meetings, via presentations or via publicity material including the web, twitter and as a result I have learned more about social media. I am often involved in meeting partner organisations and suppliers across Scotland. There is a big need to monitor results and expenditure. Importantly you then must deliver your promotional/advertising campaign activity and plans which might include exhibitions and publicity events. I am also involved in media campaigns or being interviewed by the media. My type of job can involve travel and in my days with Scottish and Newcastle I visited many different places from Brazil to Monte Carlo!

Q.Was it your planned career when you were 18?

Yes I think it was.

Q.What did your mum and dad want you to do?

They encouraged me as my Dad was in recruitment at the time and my mum was a teacher and they thought it would suit me.

Q. What advice would you give to someone interested in your career?
It is a great career because marketing should be at the heart of any customer orientated organisation and it is a nice mix of organisational, creative and people skills whether with internal or external customers.

You don’t have to have studied marketing at University but it helps but you need to be a hard worker willing to work independently or in a team setting.

If you do get the chance to work for a company that is really good at marketing then grab it with both hands as you will learn so much that you can apply it almost anywhere e.g. today that might be Diageo, Heineken ( used to be Scottish and Newcastle), Tesco or O2.

Q.What other directions could you go in /work in within your field other than the job you have chosen?
You can certainly acquire the skills in marketing to move on to be in Project Management (e.g. each marketing campaign or new product launch is like managing a project). It is possible to move from management of tasks to do more management of people rather than products or services eg at Health Scotland I managed 20 people so these are transferable skills to any sector, which my career in the last 10 years has proven.

Q.If there is anything you have not covered about your area of expertise, please feel free to add here.

Marketing involves lots of things e.g. in addition you also learn about procurement, managing agencies, I learned a bit of law in my degree which you need as there are increasing rules and regulations in marketing. As the Scottish Government are our boss I need to learn how the Scottish political system works and what the main economic objectives of the Scottish Government and certain local authorities are.

Master Carpenter
What do you do for a living?

Master Carpenter at the Royal Lyceum
Theatre.

How did you get interested in what you do? What advice was available to you when you chose this career direction?

As a schoolboy I volunteered to help the youth theatre shows, doing the lights and sound for their productions. I really enjoyed the teamwork and the camaraderie of this kind of work and I also enjoyed the buzz of working on a live event.
We had a very good youth theatre at my school and the teachers involved were inspiring to work with because of their passion for theatre and live performance, they even convinced me to take to the stage for a while but lets not get into that.!!
It was all hard work but I found it really gratifying to hear the buzz of the audience after the show.
There wasn’t a lot of guidance for careers it was all about getting a degree but this just wasn’t an option for me as I had no idea what I wanted to study.

What was your journey to reach the role you are in today?

I actually took a year out from education and worked my way around Australia and Asia for 9 months. This was the best thing for me as I wasn’t actually sure of what I wanted to do with my life. The travelling gave me life experience and confidence and when I returned I had decided to work in theatre/Film but I wanted a course that would give me broad and diverse skills that could be transferable if I ever wanted to travel again. ( which I did )
So this led me to what was then called the RSAMD, now the RCS in Glasgow to study Production and Technical Stage Management. It was a two year practical course that gave a wide range of skills in all aspects of theatrical production. However I was taken under the wing of the Master Carpenter at the time who basically gave me a trade and an unofficial apprenticeship after I finished the course.
It is the good people you meet in life that often influence what you end up doing for a living I have found. I went to college to do lighting and sound and ended up a carpenter. Go figure huh!!?

Talk me through a day in your life… what sorts of things would it involve?

As the Master Carpenter I have overall responsibility for the health and safety in the workshop and the overall construction of the sets for the Lyceum. My days are filled by doing all the construction drawings for each aspect of the set on Vectorworks, I would then discuss these with my team and ask for their input as no one is infallible!! We would break things down into individual jobs before we start cutting the timbers marking things out and constructing the pieces. Once the set is constructed and painted (in usually 4 weeks) as a workshop we then have to transport the pieces up to the theatre to begin the “fit up” process and put the whole set together ready for performance, this all has to happen in a day and a half. It’s a tight schedule but we always get there.
There is a lot more to the job but it would take a bit to long to write it all down.

Was it your planned career when you were 18?

Not at all I had never used a saw or a chisel before I got to college.

What did your mum and dad want you to do?

Actually although they weren’t impressed by the course I had chosen they hadn’t offered any alternatives, I think they were happy for me to sink or swim by my own decisions.
I have been out of work for approximately 1 month in all over the past twenty years ( apart from the 6 months and 2 months travelling in South America )

What advice would you give to someone interested in your career?

Things are all a lot more organised these days, in fact my lowly HND is now a degree so I guess that’s where I would head now. I am still in contact with the college and I regularly take on their students for work experience. What I would say is that even if you don’t have the skills or the experience it’s all about the passion, good nature and the willingness to work, the reason you go to college is to get the skills and the experience.

What other directions could you go in /work in within your field other than the job you have chosen?

I have actually started my own company making bespoke furniture and I hope to expand this into running my own commercial workshop supplying local and corporate industry in materials and bespoke pieces.