Nearly three years ago, after much deliberation, I got set writing my personal statement to study journalism at the University of Sheffield. What's changed in me since then? Well the bottom line hasn’t; I like to both tell and read stories. Get it right and you have the ultimate tool to win people over or keep a conversation going, however big or small.
I have always been an imaginative and inquisitive person, so this seemed like the best way to channel these qualities in a professional way.
So as I reached the back end of my second year of my degree, time was short, and I feared the valuable experience I wanted on my CV was too.
A short stint at a local paper in Sheffield certainly looked good on paper, but after one week I soon surmised that vox popping pedestrians on their favourite pubs was not my kind of journalism.
I wanted to delve into issues closer to my heart, like climate change, technology and business innovation, which the likes of the Economist and the Financial Times cover. Needless to say, BlueSky Thinking's internship certainly caught my eye. It promised me the chance to do this, and a lot more.
The internship offered two weeks of paid work, providing copywriting for ground-breaking researchers at business schools around the world. What's more, I’d have full editorial support on a daily basis and would be expected to produce a minimum of one publish-ready piece a day. It was a challenge I relished the thought of taking on.
And the line which resonated with me so strongly: “The purpose of BlueSky Thinking is to break down the barriers between academic expertise and business practice.” It's like the company had carved my niche out for me.
Published work with my name on it, and work I could be proud of at that. In two fortnightly stints I have written on AI, diversity in the workplace, new business strategies for the music industry and, alongside the academic rigour I have been able to put a bit of myself in as well. It will take some reading of my work to understand how I have weaved in terminator references and Frank Sinatra songs but I’ll let you see for yourself how I made it work! My portfolio of work for the site continues to build up and I can confidently say I have contributed to what I believe is a growing platform of vital importance.
Perhaps the only hurdle of sorts was the more remote nature of work. I say this as a strong advocate of a divide between home and work when it's possible. However we are, of course, now a more hybrid working world than ever before, which I am happy to say was not a detriment to the quality of my work. On top of this I was made to feel extremely welcome by every member of staff I came across day in day out.
I am very grateful for the multiple opportunities and access BlueSky has given me to insightful and thought provoking research and that they have allowed me the creative freedom to tell a witty, persuasive and informative story with it. With the skills, knowledge and insights the platform has given me I sincerely hope I have similar opportunities in the future to take on such great writing projects again.
Author: James Dugdale
2 minute read