Lauren Archer

Year of graduation: 2016

Current employer: Ipsos MORI

Current job title: Graduate Research Executive

Current location: London

“Before attending university, I was primarily interested in pure mathematics topics and disliked statistics. However, after studying at Plymouth, my passion for statistics developed through the engaging and interesting way it was taught.”

Tell us what you have been doing since completing your studies.

I spent the summer in a temporary job before my graduate scheme started in September. This involved supporting property managers and the accounts team within a property management and lettings agency. I then began my graduate scheme as a graduate research executive within Ipsos MORI. I am based within the healthcare department, specifically working on the Rheumatoid Arthritis therapy monitors.

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

I think one of the best, most exciting things I have done so far in my career is getting onto my current graduate scheme. It has been such a good experience learning about an exciting and growing industry in market research whilst meeting and training with all the other graduates.  

What would you do differently since graduating?

I think I would have taken the time to go travelling before starting a full-time job as time becomes a lot less available and a lot more precious once you start!

Imagine you were about to start university again - with the benefit of hindsight - what would you now tell yourself to have done differently?

Firstly, I think I would have dedicated more time to learning a new sport. There are a vast number of clubs and societies within the Students’ Union; I wish I’d taken advantage of those available opportunities whilst it was cheaper and more accessible than it is now that I am in London.

Secondly, I would have been more prepared for the job finding process earlier on in my university degree; specifically, writing CVs, competencies, attending career fairs, and identifying skills and experiences that I can improve in preparation for the interviews. Each university year becomes more demanding and less time is available to focus on these tasks; therefore, I wish I’d begun the processes sooner.

What was your main reason for choosing to study your course at Plymouth? With hindsight how significant was this for you?

I think the main reason for choosing to study my course at Plymouth was the opportunity available to undertake a placement year. After seeing the vast amount of skills, experiences, and enjoyment my older sister had during her placement year I saw it as a key criterion when choosing my university.

How did we support you in your studies? If you used any support services whilst at the university how did they enable you to get to where you are today?

I found the advice provided by the Careers & Employability services particularly helpful. Not only were some of the sessions which were provided by external companies useful, but I found the online services particularly helpful. There was advice and guidance provided for every element of the CV writing process and templates which were very useful.

How did studying at Plymouth change your career aspirations and plans?

Before attending university, I was primarily interested in pure mathematics topics and disliked statistics. However, after studying at Plymouth, my passion for statistics developed through the engaging and interesting way it was taught. This led me to aim for more statistics based roles and I hope to undertake a postgraduate course in statistics in the future.

What is your favourite memory of studying for your degree at Plymouth?

One of my favourite memories during my time at Plymouth involves some of the extracurricular activities I undertook with the Mathematics department. A friend and I had the opportunity to work alongside our lecturers at Family Science Weekends at Butlins. This involved explaining the fluid dynamics of walking on custard to children. It was extremely rewarding helping children become engage in mathematics simply by walking on custard.

How well did Plymouth prepare you for the challenges that you have faced, or will face, in your career?

Since working in the industry I have recognised a number of ways studying at Plymouth has prepared me to face the challenges I meet. After completing a number of group coursework projects at university, I was prepared to deal with teamwork in the workplace. I believe, because of that experience, I am able to effectively manage my own time while incorporating the schedules of other team members.

Why would you recommend undertaking a course with the University of Plymouth?

I believe how the course is taught has a big impact on the enjoyment and success you can get from your degree. From my experience at the University of Plymouth, I cannot fault the treatment and support provided by my lecturers. Their passion in the subjects and their willingness to help allowed me to excel and to not be afraid to get help when needed.

If you did a placement how did this impact on your short and long term career plans?

In the short term, my placement year made me much more driven and motivated. It helped to improve not only my grades but also encouraged me to reach for greater career goals. My placement year also impacted my longer-term career plans by highlighting the options for undertaking part-time postgraduate courses while continuing working. This was achieved through networking with colleagues on my placement. As a result, in the future, I hope to undertake a part time postgraduate statistics course to further deepen my knowledge of statistics.

Inspired by this story?

For more information about studying statistics please visit our BSc (Hons) Mathematics and Statistics course page. For more information about our range of courses within the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics, please visit the school page.

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Students and tutor studying mathematical model on computer screen