Earlier this year, ThoughtSpark’s MD, Paul Lindsell, gave a presentation on PR & Marketing to students at the University of Oxford. He impressed upon us the absolute need for prior work experience when applying for a job. He also recommended we be bold but not intrusive when requesting a placement. So I reached out to him on LinkedIn straight after the presentation, asking if there was a possibility of an internship at his firm, to gain real insight into how a marketing agency works – and here I am!
My journey to Oxford
As a child, I wanted to study English Literature at university, but I also excelled in maths, which my parents persuaded me was a more suitable option. This led to a successful career in FinTech around the world.
A decade into my career, I started writing on the side for pleasure. This encompassed everything from poems and short stories to family memoirs and blogs. In an interesting twist of fate, I qualified to join Mensa (the high IQ society) and that was what gave me the courage to apply to Oxford.
I’m currently on indefinite sabbatical leave, pursuing a 3-year programme in Creative Writing. It’s been an exhilarating experience so far. I’ve learnt that anything is possible and that when I love something, it really doesn’t feel like work. Everything flows. I work harder, and faster and the results are gratifying. This experience is paving the way for a meaningful career transition.
A growing trend
Many people are moving into different professions in the middle of their working life – “The Great Reshuffle”, as commentators such as LinkedIn, the BBC and the World Economic Forum are calling it. This trend is affecting all ages, with millions questioning whether they could be happier elsewhere. My own strategy is to transition into a writing related industry that allows me to make use of my years of corporate experience – whilst giving me the fulfilment that I am looking for. Marketing, PR, Advertising, Publishing and Journalism – these are all industries driven by the power of language. My plan is to complete internships in all these areas during the 3 years of my programme. I hope that at the end of it, I am clear as to where I am suited the most.
ThoughtSpark is a boutique firm with expertise in multiple industries. Their USP of being a female-led firm where work-life balance is a priority echoes my own values. I see many parallels between the way they run their business and my own experience. For instance, I speak several languages and I’ve lived and worked in Europe, Asia and North America, so I know the importance of communicating with each market in their own language, and with an understanding of their culture. I hope to bring all my knowledge and astuteness to the table, while also learning about the marketing industry.
Wish me luck!
PS: If you’re interested in a career in PR & Marketing, I would highly recommend Paul’s guide which got me here in the first place.