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Louise Burgess (BSc Zoology/Psychology 1987)

Biography

I'm the mother of two teenage sons and co-founder of a Digital Marketing agency, equimedia Ltd. Before the dawn of the internet I started my marketing career as an Account Manager for a direct marketing agency and after spending a couple of years at a specialist charity direct marketing agency working with The Samaritans and MIND, I joined The Blue Cross as their first supporter recruitment and development officer responsible for generating income for the charity. I left to have my 2 children and then founded equimedia at the end of 1999 with my husband, Andrew, just before the dot com bubble burst! We survived that and built a solid business to optimise online advertising budgets and deliver great return on investment for client such as WHSmith, Equifax, Panasonic, Bovis Homes and Premierline Direct, to name but a few.

Why did you choose to study at the University of Reading?

I chose the degree course and Reading was one of the universities that offered it. In addition, I liked the campus and research told me the Zoology department. was one of the best in the country at the time.

What was the best bit about living and studying in Reading?

The Campus environment, the friends I made, the challenges I overcame and the marine Biology field trip to the Isle of Cumbrae.

What top tips would you give to students who are beginning their studies?

Apart from making sure to go to everything you are supposed to go to, don't leave work to the last minute (sitting up at 3 am finishing writing up the backlog of zoology practicals is not great) and go to lots of social events. Learn to budget and grab extra work to earn funds where you can.

What are you up to now? How did you get there?

Managing my own business (with my husband), employing 50 odd people and providing the best service we can to our clients - never a dull moment!

What would be your top tips for students interested in working in this sector?

Digital Media is fast moving as is Agency life. Learn from others where you can through any relevant work experience, research online - there is lots you can learn on your own. Learn to be efficient and organised (if you're not already). Working for an Agency is always a good grounding but you have to be prepared to work hard and be stretched.

How has the University of Reading and the Careers Centre helped in your chosen career path?

In 1987 there wasn't much help available but I did work out I would like to work in Advertising through some info they supplied.

What are your top tips for students graduating this year? What should they be doing to secure the job they want?

Get experience, even it is on a voluntary basis for a short period. Do your research, show you are keen and that you really want to work for the company you are being interviewed by. Think about what you can do for the company not what they can do for you. Also there are digital jobs outside London so be flexible on location.

Why did you decide to give to the University of Reading?

University is such a fabulous experience for so many reasons, and is not just about academic achievement and so I wanted to do something to help more people benefit from that experience.

What does the University mean to you and what is your favourite memory?

An academic qualification I am proud of and the place that I grew up and became independent. My favourite memory is tricky there are several: good times with great friends, seeing Gino Washington at the Student Union, that field trip, the feeling of relief at the end of finals (!) and a few other things I probably shouldn't mention!

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