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Monday 09 October 2017

Postgraduate open day is formula for success

Emmeline Scott began her career as a market research consultant, but the long hours and her desire to make a real difference to people's lives drove her to consider a fresh start as a maths teacher. She came to a postgraduate open day at Sheffield Hallam to find out more about how a masters degree could open up a new career for her. 

We caught up with Emmeline to find out more about her journey from market analyst to maths teacher.

What did you study first time round?

I studied commerce with Spanish at the University of Birmingham.

Talk us through your previous job as a market research consultant.

As a market research consultant I designed and conducted consumer research, and recommended marketing strategies to my clients driven by the insight gained from the research. I started on a graduate scheme in Warwick after graduating from the university of Birmingham and moved back to my home town of Sheffield a few years later. I enjoyed working in a marketing agency and working within the creative industry was often very enjoyable and exciting.

Was there a specific moment or reason which made you realised you wanted a change of career?

After a project I had worked really hard on - working late nights and weekends - I remember debriefing the client and making my recommendations to which the head of marketing replied that she didn't really care what the people wanted she just wanted some "research" to reinforce what she had already decided to do. At that moment I realised that I wanted my hard work to actually make a difference, I felt that all I was doing was making rich companies richer and all the effort I was putting in felt worthless. I wanted to feel that I was making a valuable contribution to society, not merely a financial one.

How did you feel going back to study at University as a mature student? Did you face any challenges and how did you overcome these?

It was a little daunting going back to study at university and I had deliberated over the decision for quite a while before making the commitment, but I suppose having a child gave me a huge feeling of empowerment and felt that if I could raise a child as a single parent I could do anything I set my mind to. My prime focus was to contribute to the society that my daughter would grow up in to. To make her experiences better and to model good citizenship I suppose. Very idealistic in hindsight but it was a powerful motivator.

How are you finding being a maths teacher now?

I absolutely love being a maths teacher. It's tough, it's not just half a year of holidays and we don't finish work at 3pm every day! But I wanted a job that was worthwhile and now I wouldn't consider doing anything else. Working with teenagers every day comes with its own particular challenges but the kids I teach are amazing and never fail to surprise me. I have just been promoted to Second in the maths department so I must be doing something right.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking about retraining, changing careers or wanting a fresh start?

My only advice would be to follow your heart and don't be put off by that inner voice of doubt that we can sometimes hear. The voice that says you're too old or it's too hard. You only get one chance at this thing called life, there's no point working your whole life in a job that doesn't make you happy. We were not supposed to just be born, pay bills then die. Do what makes you happy.

If you're considering postgraduate study at Hallam, come along to our postgraduate open day next Wednesday 18 October. 



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