David Simkins is a 2023 MA Music with Innovation graduate with a developing career in music and media.
Between working at a local record label alongside his studies, conducting student orchestras and scoring soundtracks for media projects, (including two feature films and a short film), being mentored by the Head of Marketing at Sony Music’s Columbia Records and interning at SoundCloud, David (pictured right) has been busy in the past 4 years!
Drawing on his experience with soundtracks, tech, and client management, David is pursuing a music career in creative sync and marketing while working to improve industry transparency, education, and inclusivity, especially for the LGBTQIA+ community.
We caught up with David about how his extracurricular activities throughout his degree helped him get to where he is:
Lots of social science students are looking for work experience but are struggling to find something that’s right for them. If you’re searching for valuable work experience to help you in your career plans, here are some ideas to help you in your search.
Top tips from the public sector
To find out more about work experience in the public sector, I spoke to James Darley from Transform Society. He was clear that there are often plenty of opportunities to get work experience in the public sector, it just requires some research to find them.
Councils can advertise opportunities for local students on their website, so it’s worth signing up to their jobs mailing lists. Bristol City, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire are our local councils.
Are you an undergraduate looking for laboratory internships?
Finding lab internships for the first time can be confusing, you may be unsure how to start and feel a little overwhelmed. We’ve taken the opportunity to break this down and share some insights from Carol Huang, a UoB MSci Plant Science student, who has successfully gained opportunities within the UK and Europe.
When should I apply?
Peak time is November to January ready for a summer start (typically July – September)
Some will be available later in the year (but usually only accessible via supervisors who have secured funding)
Generally, there’s two routes to getting a lab internship for the summer
Hello! My name is Audrey and in my first year studying Economics and Maths, I completed an internship at Pointer Consultancy Group.
Pointer is a small but growing consulting company based in Bristol. It focuses mainly on project, bid, and change management but has begun offering sustainability consulting to help companies achieve their environmental, social and governance goals.
I worked at Pointer part-time during term time from February until June, completing 10-12 hours per week, mostly virtually from home but also coming into the office for a few hours each week.
I was given the task of creating a tool in Excel to help guide clients through the Business Impact Assessment, which is the first step towards becoming a certified Benefit Corporation (B Corp). I worked mostly with one person, Ben, during the internship but frequently would present what I had done to other employees and directors at Pointer.
Challenges and skills I gained
Time management: The greatest challenge of this internship was learning to manage my time effectively, especially since I was working during term time.Pointer was very supportive and flexible, being happy to let me do more or less each week depending on the intensity of assignments I had due, as well as letting me take a few weeks’ break to complete my exams.
Analytical skills: Another challenge I had was learning to analyse a problem I was facing in the development of the tool and decide which questions were the most important to ask. Everybody at Pointer was always happy to help guide me but were often very busy, so it was important for me to ask precise questions and learn to take initiative.
This experience taught me to be more organised, solve problems efficiently and communicate well with my colleagues. Not to mention my skills in Microsoft Excel, which I greatly improved.
Real-world experience: I also learned a lot about consulting and how a small company operates. I had the chance to attend the Bristol Sustainable Business Festival which showed me the importance of networking and making personal connections to create opportunities for work and growth.
I had a great time during my internship. I loved working with everyone at Pointer and learned so much about the company, industry, and myself. This experience made me more certain of my desire to enter the field of sustainability.
I would advise anyone looking to take on an intern role with an SME to take the time to first read the job description in detail and the SME Internship Scheme Guide and to tailor your cover letter and your CV to include relevant information for the job.
Take the time to read around the company and industry so you can enter an interview with confidence, already have some knowledge of the job, and can ask interesting questions.
During an internship, always communicate with the company any worries you might have about the workload or responsibilities while you are working there, and they will be happy to listen and help.
I wish you all the best in applying for internships and hope you have a great time!
My name is Noa. During my third year studying Classical Studies I got the opportunity to do a 10-week internship at Under the Wing Productions (UTW) through the University’s SME Internship Scheme.
UTW is a Bristol-based video production company that focuses on developing aspiring filmmakers.
I have always had a keen interest in filmmaking and the media industry, so when I came across the advert for this role, I knew it would be the perfect opportunity for me to gain valuable skills and experiences, whilst also building up my CV for when I leave University.
I worked closely with the founder, Tim, to begin fleshing out the brands of his company and organise some elemental ideas around environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policy.
Apart from occasional meetings in local Bristol cafés, my work was remote and flexible.
By the end of my internship, which spanned two months part-time during term-time, we had collaboratively created logos for one brand and created a Venn diagram covering some starting points for what would later be developed into a comprehensive and novel ESG policy.
Would you like to develop your Intrapreneurial skills and gain invaluable experience working with entrepreneurs?
Our IKEEP (Intrapreneurial Knowledge Exchange Enterprise Pathway) programme is designed for current students from all disciplines to undertake training and engage with industry on knowledge exchange projects as business advisors.
Students will get the opportunity to develop business model solutions and market awareness whilst enhancing their skills as intrapreneurs and future employees.
The IKEEP programme includes training in a range of business areas such as managing innovation, business model canvas and leadership strategies. After completing the training, you can apply for a project placement which matches businesses with teams of proactive students to tackle innovative project briefs through flexible 4-week project placements.
Hi, my name is Harry and I am a final year Management with Innovation student at the University of Bristol. This course is a four-year integrated master’s degree, combining specialist core disciplines such as Management, Economics, Physics and many others, with Innovation, to tackle the growing needs of the 21st Century.
Over the summer, I had the wonderful opportunity to join INVISTA, a global manufacturer of fibers, polymers and chemical intermediates, and a subsidiary of Koch Industries. I worked as a Business Operations Intern, joining the wider EU Supply Chain team.
I engaged with the Careers Service at the University of Bristol several times in my third year, when I was looking at, and applying for internships. The service provided me with resources to help my application stand out and signposted internships, including the INVISTA summer programme that I recently completed.
During this internship, I worked in the relatively new Centre of Excellence (COE) team. This formed part of the wider Enablement team, where the focus is very much on innovation. I found the opportunity to be a part of this team exciting, as it allowed me to use the theory I had learned in my course and apply it in the real world to improve efficiency within selected Supply Chain processes.
From a more tangible perspective, I got the chance to experiment and use tools new to me, such as ChatGPT to automate a process, and worked with developers to enhance a current system of capturing customer information. Through the culture of Principled-Based Management™, I also had the opportunity to ‘fail’, and take it as a learning opportunity for when things don’t go to plan – as they so often do. Therefore, this role provided an opportunity for both personal and professional growth.
Following the conclusion of my internship, INVISTA kindly offered me a full-time position as a Business Operations Specialist beginning in 2024, following my graduation. I will be joining the Customer Experience team, where I will be the focal point for my customers to ensure they get the very best service we can provide. I am really looking forward to beginning my career at INVISTA and furthering my knowledge in supply chains and the manufacturing industry.
Whilst studying, I found taking part in activities such as representing the University in tennis and being part of the innovation society, (firstly as Kit Secretary before moving on to Equality Director) will help me develop skills for working life, through teamwork, leadership, and people-skills.
I think one of the key skills to work in this industry would be the drive to continually keep learning. However, there are some skills which would be more obvious to increase your chances of getting into this sector, like teamwork, customer service skills, and experience using software such as Salesforce, SAP, and PowerBi.
I would also encourage you to want to keep learning more about whatever it is you are doing. For example, before my internship, I had very little knowledge of supply chains, business operations or the manufacturing industry, before my internship, but I was given a chance to learn because I showed the drive and commitment to constantly and quickly learn or adapt.