Thursday, 5 December 2013

Graduate Student - Natalie Armstrong

It was great to catch up with graduate student Natalie Armstrong recently who is attending Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh studying Business Management after completing HND Fashion Design and Production with Retail. Whilst a student with us at Fife College, Natalie juggled her HND course, part-time work with a daily journey to college of 102 miles to achieve her qualification. At times, it was very challenging for her, especially during the winter, but she made it!

Q1. Is University life very different to college life Natalie?
University life is very different to college life. You can’t depend on your tutors to pull you through a module, it’s based on your own commitment and dedication into the piece of coursework you are completing to have it done on time. Alongside exams and pieces of coursework it is a requirement to prepare for each tutorial for each module, which can sometimes take hours of prep work to complete, tutors do not take lightly to the work not being completed. Apart from this, university life has been great experience so far. 
Q2 After the Fashion Business HND, you are now heading towards a career in fashion merchandising. Could you explain the importance of having a part time job whilst being a student?
It is very important to have a part time job whilst being a student, your part time job is that break away from the demands of your course, it’s a chance to forget about the workload you have although it is tough to get the right balance. My part time job with Miss Selfridge has provided great experience in the retail industry whilst at college and university and I have been given great opportunities through this, it teaches you about working life and how to balance things when your workload is increased. I have learnt most of what I know about my job through persevering and dedicating time and effort to learning whilst in my work. It’s a great way to build up knowledge of the industry as well. 

Natalie's work re-merchandising Miss Selfridge, Oxford Street in London.
Q3. Have you had any good experiences in merchandising outside of the Edinburgh store recently? 
Yes definitely. Over the summer I had some amazing experiences outside of the store. I was involved in a Miss Selfridge store opening near Middlesborough, it was amazing seeing the shop going from a building site to a store in a matter of 3 days. I was recently taken down south to be involved in the launch of the Miss Selfridge Oxford Circus Street, London store Christmas launch. It was brilliant! Over just 1 night shift, the full store was completely re-merchandised for the launch of peak season. I was able to work with very important people in the company and have learnt some valuable skills by doing so. It was also amazing to work on the flagship store, such an exciting experience. 
Q4. Whats next for you Natalie? 
I plan on completing my Degree in Business Management and hope to pursue a further career in fashion merchandising. Since leaving college I have realized this is my passion and a future career I would love to pursue, which without Christine, Maureen and the teaching team would not have been possible.

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