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Queen Margaret University Case Studies

Adrian Crighton

Adrian Crighton, 19, from Lauder in the Scottish Borders, is a BA (Hons) PR, Marketing and Events student at QMU.

Although he is in the second-year of his degree, Adrian has already spent the last four years at QMU through his time as an Academies student in high school. The Academies programme gives young people like Adrian the opportunity to study at college and university. The Programme also gives young people the chance to undertake work experience and learn about industry while still at school, highlighting career options and improving employability

As a result of the Academies Programme, Adrian decided to stay on to do his degree at QMU. He really enjoys the community learning aspect of the University. He had always thought that he would rather go to a friendlier and more supportive university and make a bigger impact than go to a larger university and just be another face in the crowd.

What’s been the highlight of the course so far?

"What has stood out for me on the BA (Hons) PR, Marketing and Events programme at QMU so far was volunteering at the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Scotland PRide Awards, which is a black tie event celebrating the top PR campaigns of the year. My favourite assessment (never thought I would say that) was the crisis news conference, where you need to sit on a panel representing a hypothetical organisation undergoing a crisis while your lecturers role play as journalists. I thought this was great because it gives you real experience in dealing with situations and not just a sit down exam.”

What’s your advice for making the most of being a student at QMU?

“I think there is something to be said for people who do actually sign up for the many personal development and work experience initiatives on offer at QMU. So many signup sheets, guest speakers and emails from lecturers go ignored. Maybe people don’t think it’s for them or they just don’t have the confidence, but your personal experience at QMU will be significantly improved if you take the initiative and explore what's available.

“Be prepared to throw yourself into absolutely every opportunity. In order for you to be a success studying PR, Marketing and Events at QMU, it’s really important that you take advantage of the many personal development schemes that QMU has to offer. Your whole experience here will be so much richer as a result.

“Probably the biggest highlight of my time at QMU so far has been my involvement with the STARS Programme, which I’m now coordinating. STARS stands for Student Tourism Ambassador Role Scotland.

“In this role I’m getting valuable work experience over and above the academic knowledge I’m learning on my degree, including looking after nearly 40 students across four work experience locations in Edinburgh over summer 2017. This available experience is improving my confidence and developing my leadership skills, so it’s a real boost for my CV.”

What do you think makes Edinburgh such a popular place to study?

It has to be the location and the wonderful heritage and landscape of the city. It is a capital city that feels cosmopolitan and energetic but is small enough to easily be able to find your way around and is not too crowded (except for the summer months). It also has a very international student body so people from all cultures can feel settled here. Of courses the festivals and tourism are a big pull in terms of the chance to experience wonderful things here and also the employment opportunities they bring for students. Also with 4 well respected Universities, we are definitely punching above our weight in terms of the student experience.

What are your plans after graduating from QMU?

“After I graduate I hope to pursue a career in corporate communications.”

Erin Gilroy

Erin Gilroy, 21, from Cupar in Fife, is a final year Events Management student and an Apex Hotels Springford Scholarship award winner.

Why did you choose to study Events Management and why QMU?

“I was inspired to be an events manager by a family friend who is a talent booker and I wanted to do all the cool and interesting things he got to do.”

Have you benefitted from any scholarships or awards at QMU?

“The highlight of my time at QMU for me was being awarded the Apex Hotels Dr Norman Springford Scholarship and getting the chance to do an internship with Apex Hotels, where I’ve learnt a number of new practical skills, including more in-depth knowledge about the hotel industry, presentation skills, research and consultancy, as well a practical application of computer programmes.

"I went through an interview process where eventually three students, including myself, were chosen for a £1000 scholarship and an internship where we would learn about all the different departments in a hotel. During this time we were to complete and present a research project based on an issue within the organisation. Out of the three of us I was chosen to win a second £3000 scholarship based on my research, presentation and performance throughout the internship.

"I’ve been able to put in to practice a number of theoretical practices and knowledge I learnt at QMU and transfer them in to a real life situation. The Scholarship will also be used to further my events management education.”

Apex Hotels has partnered with QMU to set up the Dr Norman Springford Scholarship, which is named after the hotel group’s founder. The Dr Norman Springford Scholarship aims to create a new generation of hospitality leaders who can transform Scotland’s hospitality industry so that it is a key player on the world stage. The Dr Norman Springford Scholarship gives students the opportunity to get paid work experience with Apex Hotels, including hands on experience across all areas of the business. They also conduct a research project which aims to find solutions to internal organisational problems.

Why did you choose to study in Edinburgh/Scotland?

“I love the city of Edinburgh and have a lot of family here that I was both close enough to and far enough away from for me to be independent and still get support when I needed it.

"I always like to look round me when I'm walking over North Bridge and take stock of the incredible city where I live and study. I also love embracing the Festival Fringe and soaking up the atmosphere of it.”

What are your top tips for future students?

“Go for it! There are so many transferable skills in this course and stretches you to try totally new things, like law and economics, which you'll end up really enjoying.

"Join a society or sports club at QMU. Don't be afraid to talk to new people and try new things, and just enjoy it!”

What are your plans after graduation?

“I’m hoping to maintain a positive relationship with Apex Hotels and become a part of their team.”