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The University of Southampton
Social Statistics and DemographyPart of Economic, Social & Political ScienceOur alumni

Maria Martin BSc Population Sciences

Tesco Club Card Analyst (trainee)

Maria Martin's Photo

In the summer of my second year, I was offered an internship at the FT. This really opened my eyes to the massive range of careers open to graduates who are proactive and enthusiastic.

Q: Why did you choose to undertake your studies at the University of Southampton?

I knew the University of Southampton quite well before I applied; several of my friends were studying here while I was taking my A levels. I knew then I wanted to go to a campus university, ideally not right in the centre of a city, although I didn't want to be totally isolated.

Q: How did you find the course at Southampton? 

In sixth form I loved geography. Although physical geography was more of a chore, human geography was very interesting. I also loved maths, particularly statistics, as I could see the obvious applications of it in the real world. Population science was an unusual course that allowed me to combine statistics and human geography. At the time, Southampton was the only UK institution to offer this degree.

Q: What did you enjoy about studying at the University of Southampton?

I enjoyed being able to customise my course with optional modules. I've studied courses in management, economics, statistics, sociology and geography. Some of my colleagues took courses in French or German, while I enjoyed studying computer-aided geographic information systems (GIS).

There's excellent support for extra-curricular activities too. My last year I was captain of the women's fencing team and lecturers were very sympathetic when I was forced to miss their classes to travel to away matches.

Q: How did your course help with future career plans?

When I began my studies at Southampton, I was pretty sure that I wanted a career in the public sector – particularly the ONS – and felt my degree was the perfect preparation. In my second year the public sector recruitment freeze was announced. This closed door meant that I had to reconsider my plans for the future.

In February 2011, I accepted a place on the graduate scheme at Dunnhumby. Dunnhumby analyse data from the Tesco Clubcard, allowing Tesco to target marketing and vouchers based on individual customers' purchasing history. I have been placed in data management, which means that I will be able to apply all of the statistical techniques that I have developed on my degree programme. It's a fantastic job that looks really interesting, with great prospects. In hindsight, I am thankful for the public sector recruitment freeze.

Q: What have you achieved as a result of studying at the University of Southampton? 

My career is only just beginning, but I know that it has been shaped by the decisions that I have already made in respect to my studies and my first steps into the job market.

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