Alumni - Laura Gibbons, MA Publishing

Like many other students, I had as my main motivation for taking the MA Publishing course at Oxford Brookes the aim of landing my first job in publishing. Oxford Brookes has excellent connections with the publishing industry and has such a brilliant reputation that a lot of publishers, such as Pearson Education, actively recruit students from the course.

Before the course had even finished, I had a paid summer job lined up as an editor in the rapidly expanding Custom Publishing department of Pearson Education. Custom is an exciting new venture creating bespoke textbooks, both print and electronic, tailor-made for specific university courses, using the expansive range of market-leading content in the Pearson archive. As an editor I was responsible for managing the whole book-build process: working with Acquisitions Editors to create a P&L for each project; briefing cover designers; sending proofs to lecturers for approval; checking rights and permissions; liaising with typesetters; and sending titles to press.

My favourite thing about the job was the high level of responsibility I was given very early on; I had my own list of titles to work on within a couple of weeks of being there, and it was down to me to make sure they published in time for course start dates.

The skills I learnt during the MA Publishing made me a real asset to the team, and Pearson kept me on as a permanent editor when my short-term contract ended. I worked in Custom for a year-and-a-half, after which I felt ready for a new challenge and began looking for that second job in publishing. Within an international company like Pearson there are no shortage of opportunities, and the variety of experience and knowledge of internal processes I gained during my time in Custom appealed to other departments within the company.

I quickly progressed into a new Project Editor position within the new School Improvement division, where I am currently working on a brand-new pilot website for secondary schools. This is a fantastic opportunity that enables me to simultaneously hone my editorial skills within a digital environment and work closely with teachers and students to develop a product in line with their needs. The skills I learnt during my MA, and the subsequent experience I gained during my time in the Custom department, have really helped to kick-start my career in publishing.

Posted on 17 Feb 2012 around 10am