“I would not have got any of the jobs without a degree as a minimum, and I believe this has helped me to 'fast track' my career.”
Sara Palmer, Crowdcube
Investment Analyst, Crowdcube
Sara studied Business Economics with European Study in 2009 and at first, found it difficult to get a foot in the job market. A short career break helped her focus on finding something to inspire her. She is now back on the University of Exeter campus, working as an Investment Analyst at Crowdsource.
Why did you choose to study here?
At the time it was important to me to stay close to home but also due to the fact the University was climbing UK rankings and the Business School had a great reputation already.
What did you enjoy most about studying here?
Being part of a reputable establishment, the extra curricular activities and the location!
Did you use the Careers Service while you were at Exeter?
Yes, I used some of the courses in the final year to help me brush up on things like presentation and interview skills. If I did it again I would make more use of it!
What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?
2009 was a tough time to graduate in the economy, so after an initial Shellstep placement for 3 months straight from uni, it took me 6 months to land my first job and what felt like 100 interviews! I initially wanted to work in the 'green' sector i.e. environmental businesses,
but in that economic climate I did not have the luxury to be picky! I finally landed on my feet with my first job on the strategy team of a FTSE 250 company in London, researching countries and cities for a multinational recruitment brand to expand into - directly liaising with the board and senior members of all other departments including finance, legal, marketing, company secretary and risk.
Taking the decision to relocate to the South West, I took up a few short term positions in marketing and further in research for business expansion, which helped me to understand more about the areas of business that interested me and where my skills were best put – I learned that I was more logical than creative (so not best for marketing), and also that I was great in outward facing roles dealing with clients, however perhaps not aggressive enough for sales...so I went on to work in partnerships management which lead to a head of department role in partnerships for a marketing agency.
By this point, having had 5 solid years experience across multiple business functions, feeling more confident in my commercial and personal skills, I decided to take a short career break to really focus on finding something to inspire me. I thought perhaps back to the environmental sector, or education, or health...but being much more a 'private sector' type i.e. an appetite for risk, hating too much process and liking my voice to be heard I found myself back in the business world (and back on the University of Exeter campus) - at
what I believe to be Exeter's most exciting and forward thinking company, Crowdcube!
What do you enjoy most about your work?
As an Investment Analyst at Crowdcube, I get to work with hundreds of entrepreneurs looking to raise money to grow their businesses. Every business is different - from restaurants, to shoe businesses, to fintech and property platforms, so every day is different.
Crowdcube is a very entrepreneurial environment to work in with an inspiring and valuing culture.
How have your University of Exeter studies helped in your career?
I would not have got any of the jobs without a degree as a minimum, and I believe this has helped me to 'fast track' my career. I apply my degree knowledge regularly.
Do you have any advice for current students wishing to pursue your career?
Don't be afraid of not knowing what you don't know! Ask questions, always - there is no silly question. Find people who you inspire you in your office, social circle, industry etc. and speak with them.
What are your plans for the future?
To always enjoy my job, whilst maintaining a happy life balance. Life is too short!
Do you have any tips or advice on being employable?
Don't be arrogant, don't be defensive, don't be afraid to ask for anything, and just be a sponge.