Mary Bongiovi graduated from Anglia Ruskin in 2013 and has since found a full-time job with Cambridge University Press; all thanks to her time there as an intern.
My journey to getting a job at Cambridge University Press (CUP) was one part about making informed choices and the other part about pure luck. I did not have much experience in publishing when I first started at Anglia Ruskin in January 2012, so I wanted to get started as soon as I could. This meant going mad applying for as many internships as I could.
Don’t Be Scared to Apply for Internships
The ring-fenced internships for CUP came out not too long after the beginning of the term and there were a wide variety of roles to choose from. I was most interested in editorial, and judging from the people I’d spoken to, pretty much everyone else was, too.
Since I was so new to the field, I didn’t think I would stand out as much compared to some of the other students who already had a term’s worth of internships behind them. I opted to look for something else instead, even though I really had my heart set on editorial work.
The internship I applied to was at Cambridge-Hitachi. It sounded different to the other internships, which were in the departments you’d typically think of, like Education and Journals. They are a small unit and offered a wide range of job tasks. It included some editorial work, but looked like it would focus more on a range of other things.
I decided to apply in the hope that it would give me a good range of skills to put on my CV and then I could move on to something that fell a little more into my interests.
Internships Can Become Permanent
They ended up accepting me, and I ended up never leaving! It hasn’t been without its challenges. My interests have ultimately shifted towards software development, as I worked there during my internship, and that’s also where I wound up working.
The things I learned at ARU were helpful, but there was still much to learn about publishing software and production procedures. After some time, I ended up being hired for a paid position, but there were difficulties because of my visa status (I’m originally from the USA).
I had pretty weird working hours because, as a foreign student, I was limited to working 20 hours a week. When it came time for my visa to end, CUP fortunately agreed to sponsor me so I could stay, but the ensuing paperwork was a process I had to spearhead myself. It has all worked out for the best, though, but it was a pretty anxious time!
I love the team I work with and the experience of working in Cambridge Hitachi has been more enjoyable than any other job I have ever had.
I recognise that I’ve been really lucky to have had this experience, and if I sound like an authority, well, I don’t feel like one at all! The choices I made just happened to work out, which I am incredibly thankful for, but I’m very aware it could have gone a different way.
I guess the best advice I have is not to place yourself in one box – if you can be flexible about what internships and job roles you apply for, it may have unexpected effects.