University: University of Glasgow
Qualification: PhD in History (before that, an MLitt and MA both in History, both from University of Glasgow)
Before getting your internship at AAI, what was your experience of job-hunting?
When I graduated with my PhD I was applying to junior level academic roles in teaching and research. However, during my post-doc year I made the difficult decision to look for jobs outside academia. This meant I had to rethink what I wanted to do as well as what I could do with my skills, knowledge, and experiences – all of which were heavily academic. Because I had focused on an academic career for so long, my experiences in non-academic job hunting were a little bit unfocused to begin with. I even ended up qualifying as a Pilates instructor before I focused my applications to administrative and operational support. Speaking to friends and family, as well as seeing the university’s careers counsellor all helped me figure out what I was going to do and. Once I began to look for specific admin roles, I was often coming across roles that gave no feedback on my application or I was told that I did not have enough experience. This was all very disheartening and I even thought about removing the PhD from my CV. I’m glad I didn’t though, as it turned out to be a good conversation starter when I did make it interviews.
Roles and responsibilities at AAI?
As a Business Development Intern my role was divided between helping drive the business forward and supporting operations behind the scenes. The former involved going to networking events, mostly in Glasgow, where I am based, meeting with potential AAI employers, and spreading the word about AAI’s services and ethos regarding paid graduate employment. The latter part of the role involved working on the CRM system, developing reporting, and updating processes. This ended up forming the majority of my role and meant I usually spent my days on operational tasks.
I was also given the opportunity to manage AAI’s mentoring programme. This was a great experience and meant I could take ownership of a project and, using my own experiences and skills, strengthen it so that more graduates could get support and help in their own job hunting. My initial internship was meant to be for 4 months, but I ended up staying with AAI for 9 months. As a result of the internship I gained more knowledge and experience in business, databases, CRMs, and reports that were outwith academia, but all of which also used my skills from my history degrees. The internship also played an important role in helping me clarify in my own head how much I wanted to pursue working with databases and data analysis.
What are you doing now?
I have recently taken my next career step and started as a Reporting and Resource Administrator at Tennent Caledonian Breweries. I would say that the experiences I gained at AAI played a big part in getting me to my new role. I’ve only been at Tennent’s for a short time, but I have enjoyed every day so far. After all the rethinking about my career in the last two years, I now look forward to getting stuck into the next stage of my career.
AAI CEO Joy Lewis said:“Hanna came to AAI at a crucial point in our Business Development evolution. She brought incredible transferable skills from her PhD and really took responsibility for our CRM and how we used it. She instigated and oversaw our GDPR process which saw a very timely spring clean of all the data we had stored since 2010!Hanna’s time with AAI shows how versatile the transferable skills from a Humanities background can be for business research and data management and we’re so pleased her time with us made her realise how she could use these skills outside of academia.Best of luck Hanna!”
Business Development Intern at AAI