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From Student Union President to Ambitious Futures Graduate Trainee

Pauldy Otermans

I would recommend Brunel because of the vast support network it provides to its students, its concentrated effort on continuous improvement of the student experience and the plethora of activities it provides outside of academia

Pauldy, Alumni

Ambitious Futures Graduate Trainee, Brunel University London

Psychology PhD - 2018

From UK

Tell us about your career journey since you graduated…

I wanted to move into HE leadership, and my current job, which I secured before graduating, allows me to manage three separate projects in different Universities to develop me for this career path. Each project is integral to the management of HE institutions and encompasses newer regulatory requirements as set by the Office for Students. My first project is reviewing the entire student feedback mechanisms at Brunel with the aim of potentially changing the existing structure to create a high impact feedback system that engages and collects essential feedback from its student population to improve the student experience.

What does an average day at work involve for you?

My average day involves meeting senior members of the University, gathering data and feedback from both students and staff and managing an extensive project to improve the entire student feedback mechanisms at the University. Each day is often dedicated to tackling different aspects of the project. I have also been traveling to meet - and digitally meeting - with Universities across the country to gather the best practices for student feedback in order to include the best fit practices into the Brunel structure.

What’s been the highlight of your career so far?

My highlight at Brunel was becoming the first postgraduate student to be elected as Student Union President, and also the first woman to do so in almost a decade. More specifically, it was being able to deliver the job with excellence and secure a significant amount of funding in 10 months to benefit our students and to facilitate winning national competitions and awards that directly benefited not only our students, but our entire local community.

How would you say Brunel helped you to get where you are today?

Brunel gave me significant opportunities to improve my skill set and build relevant experience right from my first year of study. From being involved in college decision making, to representing 14,000 students across the entire University and nationally as well as showcasing my PhD research internationally in the largest conferences in my field. Without these opportunities I would have been half the person I am today.

Why did you choose to study at Brunel and why would you recommend Brunel to others?

The fundamental reason for me to choose Brunel was the research opportunities I received being a PhD student. Apart from its research, career support and teaching excellence, I would recommend Brunel because of the vast support network it provides to its students, its concentrated effort on continuous improvement of the student experience and the plethora of activities it provides outside of academia to help students increase their transferable skills.

What is your best memory of studying here?

For me it is the tremendous opportunities given to students at Brunel outside of academia, which goes a long way in shaping their transferable skills and future careers. More specifically, it was the opportunities I received to start celebrated projects like my College's Research Conference which is now an annual conference; to organise and launch TEDx Brunel University London; and to lead on a national competition to win a green transport system for my students and the local community last year in the form of the Santander Cycle scheme.

If you could give one piece of advice to new students, what would that be?

Think about your post study career from the beginning of your academic journey. This will help you track and exploit career boosting opportunities throughout your academic journey and thereby greatly magnify your chances of landing a job early after graduation. More importantly, have patience and wait for the correct job, because nothing is worse than wasting time and energy and loosing other opportunities while doing a job you aren't passionate about.

What would be your top tip or advice for new graduates as they begin their career journey?

Take your time to decide the job and career you wish to take as there is nothing worse than starting something that you never liked. Be positive and push quality applications; the correct job will definitely come to you. Finally, finding the right job means having to look outside the box, so do not feel uncomfortable in doing something that is against the norm when applying for a job. I know from personal experience that it was the only way I landed all my projects and jobs in the last three years.