Matthew M.

Improving Research Performance Intern
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Matthew M.
Environmental Geography
United Kingdom

My employment

Improving Research Performance Intern
Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI)
United Kingdom
Environment and energy / Science and research
Small business (0-49 employees)

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A day in the life of a Improving Research Performance Intern in the United Kingdom

What I do

My duties included working with information from SEI's monitoring and evaluation system, a piece of software where the staff record detailed information about their research projects. The software enables staff to record changes as a project progresses so that they can respond to unexpected changes or build on activities that are going well. My role was to contribute to exploring a new approach to organisational performance indicators.

I spent a lot of time categorising information from the system in Excel and conducting research into the organisations that the institute works with. Throughout this process I regularly liaised with my supervisor and other staff members from the York centre and SEI centres internationally via email and Skype in order to discuss the progress of my work and gain feedback.

Towards the latter stages of my internship I began to prepare an internal report that outlined the findings of my research to enable to staff to reflect on the performance of their projects. I was also able to take on more responsibility in the role and help out with ad hoc tasks.

Skills I use and how I developed them

Extracurricular skills:
The role demanded a high level of computer literacy and a competency working with large amounts of data. Luckily, due to the nature of my heavily numeracy and research-based degree I was comfortable with these tasks. The project allowed me to further these skills and demonstrate that I can successfully translate them into a professional working environment.

During the role, it was also important to be able to work independently and use your initiative to navigate difficult issues - however, it was also necessary to be able recognise when issues should be referred to senior members of staff. This enabled me to develop confidence when communicating with people at all levels of an organisation.

What I like most

My time at SEI not only allowed me to develop professionally and gain valuable work experience, but it provided me with an opportunity to work within a diverse and intercultural organisation with people who are very passionate about the work they do.

How I found out about the job

Careers website (University of York)

The recruitment process

The recruitment process was quite straightforward for my internship. I saw the post advertised on the Student Internship Bureau website and it immediately took my interest. The initial stage of the application was online and involved answering a couple of questions regarding my relevant experience and interest in the project. Following this, I was invited to attend an interview at SEI where I was asked a number of competency-based questions and invited to ask a few questions of my own (it's very important that you come prepared with at least a couple). The interview was a success and I received an email the next day offering me the role.

Where I hope to be in 5 years

I hope to be working as a sustainability consultant after completing a master's degree at the University of Leeds.

My advice to students considering work

Get involved as much as you can while you're at University. The collegiate system at York is fantastic as it presents a wide range of opportunities for students to get involved such as sports teams, societies and student associations. It's also important to keep a log of your experiences as you go along - they come in handy when you're answering questions in applications/interviews. The recruitment process in today's job market is very rigorous, so having a diverse range of experiences to talk about is vital if you want to differentiate yourself from the rest of the crowd.

About this sector: The environment sector encompasses a wide range of job opportunities. Use your time at university to really understand how you work best and what you are really passionate about - it will be invaluable once it comes to job seeking. If you already know where you want to be, become familiar with the skills that employers looking for in those roles and actively seek work experience where you can develop and demonstrate them.

Next steps...

If you like the look of Matthew’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Matthew a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask Matthew to be your mentor.

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