Features - Alum of the Month
New York Programme
January 2001 Intake
What and where did you study before your Mountbatten internship?
American Management Science at University of Wales, Swansea including Commerce at Dalhousie University, Canada
What made you apply for the Mountbatten programme?
A friend on my course in my final year had been on Mountbatten as their "third year out" of university (before the "must be 21" age restriction was applied). I reckon they were responsible for many subsequent applications from Swansea students.
Describe your sponsor company and your role within it.
I worked for the AESC, the Association of Executive Search Consultants - which is the professional association for top end headhunters.
My role was advertised as being a database administrator, but I was lucky that it was a brand new position, so I was pretty much able to get involved in anything I had the time to do. With an office of only 9 people, of which 3 were Mountbattens and a fourth was an ex-Mountbatten, it was easy to get involved in interesting things. For me, this meant a newly setup website called BlueSteps.com. It launched just before I arrived and it was great to be involved as it grew and the revenue from it multiplied.
What was the highlight/most memorable moment of your working experience during this year?
Not really a highlight, but the most memorable moment was definitely having prepared for a big regional meeting with members arriving in New York from all over the Northeast. But I arrived at work and the day then became about something else entirely. That day was 11th September 2001. The instant kindness shown to the Mountbatten interns by the other AESC staff is a particular memory, followed by a 7 hour journey back to Pavonia Newport with the bridges and tunnels closed.
What was the social highlight/most memorable moment during this year?
Fellow intern Toby Heaver somehow managed to get 2 box seat tickets for Game 4 of the 2001 World Series at Yankee Stadium because his boss's wife considered it too cold to watch baseball. So on 31st October we were lucky enough to witness one of the most famous games of baseball ever played. If you follow baseball, it was Derek Jeter's "Mr November" game.
Please share a little wisdom/philosophy that you acquired during your internship
Living in New York helped me learn that life is about making chances and taking them - don't hang around waiting for things to fall into your lap.
Other interns might suggest that I learned never to "guarantee" that I know the way somewhere.
If you could change anything about your internship, what would it be?
Who wouldn't prefer a single room?!
What happened after completing the year - what did you do next?
When I left Mountbatten, I didn't really know what I wanted to do. But being in NYC for 9/11 had made me clear about what I didn't want to do - as many friends at home had now had a year in a management consultancy / accountancy type firm and enjoyed the money but hated the job. I very clearly started to look for a job I would enjoy.
I started working at the BBC as a Production Assistant in Live Subtitling - working on news output the day they found Saddam Hussein in that hole. I then got onto a Production Management Trainee scheme and got lucky when my first production was a drama about Genghis Khan and I spent 2 months in Mongolia. With that under my belt it was easy to get onto productions that required foreign filming. My mum is most proud of my having worked with Sir David Attenborough on his very first climate change programmes. But my most enjoyable job was for a BBC Three series called Last Man Standing, for which I travelled to Brazil, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Nepal, Philippines and India.
After some other similar programmes I took over running internal post production and innovation for BBC London Factual. This brought out my inner geek and got me interested in fancy high-end cameras and filming & editing techniques.
Where are you now in your working life and what do you do?
My partner, Amber, is Australian and we recently moved to Melbourne. I'm currently working at the ABC as a Production Manager in their Sports & Events department. At the moment I'm looking after live coverage of Australian Rules Football on Saturday afternoons, and a live studio panel show (also about Aussie Rules Footy) on Thursday evenings. Great experience for me as I'd been trying to work on both a studio show and an outside broadcast for a while at the BBC - even though I have very little idea about what's happening on the pitch at the moment.
Do you have any future plans that you would like to realise & what are they (career & social)?
Long term, I'd like to stay in TV, probably getting more involved in production technology and in particular high-end cameras. I definitely feel a need to be involved in something that will get me away from my desk every now and then. It would also be great if one day I was able to make a programme with my brother (who also works in the industry).