09 August 2019

Belonging at Unibuddy: Elliot’s summer internship

Elliot is an NCH student and Unibuddy ambassador. He is joining the company this summer as an intern with the Customer Success team. 

This summer, I’m really excited to get the chance to work with Unibuddy in a month-long internship. In many ways, this is my first interaction with the real (I am almost tempted to say grown-up) world of work. I’ve become increasingly interested by the prospect of following a career in Education Technology after I graduate. Considering that I have used Unibuddy throughout my University career so far, this seems like a fantastic place to start. 

As you might well expect from a History and Philosophy student, I am fascinated by people. I love trying to understand why people think and act the way that they do – even if they have been dead for centuries. With this in mind, New College of the Humanities had been the perfect University for me.

Aside from the excellent pay, my fondness for NCH made me keen to become a Student Ambassador. Rather like a kid who wants to show off a new toy, I always enjoy introducing keen prospects to our quirky campus in Bedford Square. Yet I’ve noticed that NCH is like Marmite. Some prospects will show up to an open day, enjoy the sandwiches, and disappear, never to return. Yet others will then continue to show up at other open days, taster days, public lectures, offer-holder teas, baptisms, exorcisms, inaugurations and any other public event that they can possibly make their way to. It’s not at all uncommon for students to already be familiar faces around campus by the time they begin Freshers’ Week. It’s very often those same Freshers who introduce their fellow newcomers to the older ambassadors with whom they are by now familiar. It is these Freshers who play an important role in maintaining NCH’s vibrant, inter-year social scene.

As an Ambassador, I have found that Unibuddy is a fantastic way of making prospects feel welcome, even if they don’t get the chance to do the same amount of legwork as some of their peers. Through Unibuddy, I have spoken to a range of prospects, some of whom are visiting the NCH website for the first time, others who are already determined to apply, and yet others who are waiting for their first lectures. Given that the entire culture of NCH rests upon close personal relationships, these early conversations can be hugely effective. Not only do they help the right people find their way to NCH, but they allow those people to begin feeling at home. This can even take place before they move to London. One of my closest friendships makes this clear. Three days into Freshers’ Week,  I realised that one of my favourite arrivals was actually the same girl who had been my most vocal prospect on Unibuddy throughout her application process. She now frequently comes over for dinner and is close to my flatmates and many of my friends. I also often find myself working as an Ambassador alongside another prospect who I spoke to lots. 

I also feel as though working with Unibuddy this summer will be an important first step towards achieving my long-term goals. Eventually, I’d like to set up a charity which will help underfunded schools gain access to supportive Education Technology software. However, I have a long way to go before this will be possible, and I feel as though gaining an understanding of the way in which the Ed-Tech industry works will be a vital step. With this in mind, my time with Unibuddy will be helpful in two ways. Firstly, by working with a range of departments from Data Science to Customer Success, I’ll get a sense of the roles within an Ed-Tech company that will suit me best within my early career. Secondly, by seeing how those departments work together, feed into one another, and respond to different problems, I’ll have a better sense of the general operations of an Ed-Tech company. Hopefully, this will allow me to approach potential Ed-Tech partners later in my career with a better understanding of their wants and needs. 

The world of Ed-Tech is a new and strange place for me. Like I say, I’m used to spending my time in the company of people who have been dead for centuries. When I’m not, I’m usually carrying plates and chatting with customers at my local pub. However, my internship feels like an excellent opportunity to become more comfortable in modernity. I am very excited to see where this month takes me, and I am certain that there is an awful lot to learn!


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