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Case Study: Rebecca Trengove

Personal details
Degree:MA Honours Russian Profile picture
School(s): School of Modern Languages
Year of Graduation:Jun-1989
National of: United Kingdom
Employment details
Organisation: Axeon
Job title: Head of Marketing and Corporate Affairs
Occupational Sector: Marketing
What has been your route to getting your current position?
I was very keen to use my Russian so after graduation wrote to about 70 large British companies who were trading with the then USSR, one of which offered me a job in their export department selling into Russia and Eastern Europe.  I then moved to Grampian Regional Council in Aberdeen, helping oil service companies develop business in the emerging Russian market.  From there I moved to Scottish Trade International (the international wing of the Scottish economic development agency), supporting Scottish companies with Russian market entry.  Then I did an MBA and moved into technology marketing, working first for a life sciences organisation and now for a battery technology company, which has since been taken over by a over by a British multi-national.
What does your job involve ?
I manage all our public affairs, marketing and communications activities.  This includes developing and implementing strategies to influence government (UK and Scottish), working with the media, managing events, and developing communications strategies with existing and potential business partners, all with the aim of driving business growth in a new technology sector.
What are the best bits of your job ?
I enjoy the breadth of activities and the fact that the industry is changing rapidly, so there are constantly changing opportunities.  The nature of the job means that I work with people across all parts of the company and there are always opportunities to learn more, both skills and knowledge.
Why were you successful?
Languages and persistence got me my first job, though nowadays as an employer I would stress that work experience is also very useful, and in a crowded job market will help set you apart.  Once in a job, take opportunities to develop your skills, whether via on-the-job training or formal courses - lifelong learning is an absolute prerequisite for those who want to develop.
What skills/ knowledge from your degree have you found particularly helpful in this role?
The ability to assimilate and analyse information has always been useful, as is the ability to communicate effectively decisions and results.  My language skills were partly responsible for the first part of my career and enabled me to acquire the other skills that I now also use, but the openness of outlook and interest in other cultures have also been invaluable.
What advice would you give to students wishing to follow the same path?
Business is a great place to work - it changes rapidly, is intellectually stimulating and offers lots of opportunities, including working abroad and using language skills.  My advice would be to create opportunities for yourself - all the jobs I've had have been ones that no-one has done before.