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Ola Wolenska – MA Publishing 2011

Ola Wolenska

Ola Wolenska was awarded the Hachette UK Publishing Scholarship for the year 2010-11. She writes about her experiences in Oxford and her work placements at Hachette in London.

Applying to Oxford Brookes University for the MA in Publishing was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I grew up surrounded by books, journals and magazines, having an academic professional for my mum and an aunt in magazines distribution. Literature has had a great influence on my development and who I am right now.

I studied Russian literature culture and language in Poland and Russia for five years and graduated in 2008 with an MA degree. I wanted to start building my career but my uncertainty about what I wanted to do was not going to make the job-hunting process any easier. I travelled and worked, teaching English in Poland and abroad. Books, magazines and publishing in general kept coming back to me and I had been thinking of turning my newly born plans into a lifetime career for some time then. I settled in the UK in 2009 and took a job as a nanny to save money for my next step – an MA in Publishing.

I researched a few universities and Oxford Brookes seemed to be the perfect choice: in a deeply historical place, on a course which is both rigorous and practical, with great networking opportunities, and a strong record of employability. I applied in February and in March, on my birthday, I found out I had been accepted. I carried on saving and then looked for scholarship opportunities, of which there were plenty. In the summer, before the course, I was fortunate to be awarded the bursary from Hachette Group UK. Apart from the financial contribution towards my tuition fees, it also gave me three weeks of full-time work experience in London.

The HR team at Hachette contacted me right away and in January 2011 I was placed in the Children’s and Educational departments working in marketing and publicity. The placement gave me a priceless insight into everyday publishing life, and the knowledge I had gained from the course proved highly useful. I quickly realized how important digitization has become in the publishing world. My supervisors made sure I was learning a lot and gave me a varied set of tasks to complete including writing a press release, organizing sales and marketing kits, designing posters, and creating e-catalogues and web pages. I was able to attend nearly every meeting they held during my internship and I could observe the decision-making processes at acquisition and marketing meetings. I also had the opportunity to meet authors and the representatives of other organizations, such as from magazines or literary festivals.

I was introduced to staff from other departments, who were very willing to answer my questions and tell me about their experiences. After the three weeks I came back to university to start the second semester but stayed in touch. Only a month later I found myself back there for more work experience and valuable practice, this time in the Rights department.

For those who are thinking of entering the publishing industry, the knowledge you will gain from the MA Publishing course at Oxford Brookes, and from relevant work experience, is both invaluable and confidence-giving. I thoroughly recommend the course and wish you all the best. Good luck!

Posted on 08 Mar 2011 around 9am

Filed Under PublishingMA PublishingPublishing Work ExperienceScholarship and Funding