Kingston alumnus Alice Saggers has been called the perfect example of a well-prepared MA student by her current employer Phaidon Press, where she works as International Editions Assistant. Alice took the MA in Publishing at Kingston in 2010/11, and has recently written about how it affected her journey into the publishing industry.
Before coming to Kingston, Alice worked in a bookshop for two years, applying to publishing houses with this experience:
I had second interviews, even third in some cases but was always pipped at the post by someone who had more experience or – in at least two instances – someone who had an MA in Publishing.
After more of the same, Alice looked around for an alternative route and, attracted to the location, price, and general feel of Kingston University, she enrolled on the Publishing MA. During the year she balanced studying with part-time work experience, a common story with many current students; Alice reflects on the benefit of testing out what she learnt on the course in a ‘professional arena’. But what did the course offer in itself?
On a general level it meant I could continue my quest with the support and empathy of a group of wonderful and like-minded people, (who I know will be worthy contacts for the future) and I could absorb the advice given by those who had been through this wearying cycle before. On a more practical basis, I learnt about the less-romantic-but-vital ‘business’ side of publishing – the legal and financial aspects, the effects of the digital revolution and the challenges facing the industry in its fight for survival…it restored my confidence in my own ability and ideas.
Fast forward to the end of the course, and Alice landed her first job. While she couldn’t know if it was because of the MA or her work experience, she writes that taking the course certainly made everything less daunting – in particular, without the module on rights and international publishing, she ‘wouldn’t have the first clue’ about her current position.
What an MA does give you is the opportunity to study something you love in glorious depth. It allows you the time and resources to explore your particular interest, become involved in it and maybe even further its development in some way. It can help you to realize your true potential and push you to the very limits of ambition.
The MA pushed me out of my comfort zone in the best possible way. I know that for me, it was absolutely the right thing to do.
Read the full post over on Alice’s blog, The Old Lemon.
You can also check out this post on BookMachine for Kingston lecturer Anna Faherty‘s thoughts on the merits of an MA in Publishing.