If you're considering applying for the Pearson Student Advisory Board, you probably heard the obvious - it is a programme that encourages a selected group of students to undertake educational research, a part-time job and an opportunity to develop skills and build your CV. However, what is it really?
What will you get to do for the 9 months you are a part of this team? I hope my experience with Pearson will help you answer those questions.
I was part of PSAB in the academic year of 2014/15, while in my second year of a Computer Science degree. I joined based on the recommendation of a friend, who answered my same questions you might now have. That would be my first advice - don’t be afraid to reach out and ask people, friend or not. You will be surprised how responsive and helpful even strangers can be.
This mentality will help you in your work for Pearson too. The research projects often involve distributing surveys, arranging focus groups and gathering people’s opinions in other ways.
That being said, the projects always vary! We were a group of 8 people working on around 6 different projects at the same time. Pearson really takes into account your background and preferences when assigning tasks. I worked on IT-related topics, such as game-based learning and hands-on prototyping education. If you are studying Law, there are products that are aimed towards Law students that you may research, etc. It is, of course, not guaranteed that there is a topic specifically related to your degree, but there are so many, you will definitely work on something of interest!
There are also the expense-paid trips, which are super cool based on their novelty value alone. You get to stay in a nice hotel in London (albeit only the first trip is in central London, so make the most of it!).
The experiences you gain will definitely differ from any part-time job you may get. You can hone your presentation skills, write reports, manage your time, moderate a group discussion… and various other tasks depending on the project. What you end up getting out of the programme, however, highly depends on you, so make sure you have the initiative to work independently.
You are not given a rigid set of tasks or how to get the information you want. I actually tweeted the CEO of a company hoping he could answer some questions, and guess what? He replied, followed by a Skype interview! So be creative in how you approach your work and you will have plenty of fun stories for friends and conversation starters for any future interviews, as well as an enhanced skill set. Good luck!
Irina Camilleri is a third-year Computer Science student at the University of Strathclyde.