Stacey McGill

BA (Hons) Human Resource Management

HR Graduate Trainee – Learning & Development, Hilton Worldwide

Describe your career history to date:
After 5 years of working as a manager in fashion retail, I decided to apply for university to pursue a career in Human Resource Management looking to specialise in Learning and Development.  Once my studies commenced I stayed with the same company but went down to part time sales advisor in the telesales office.  I also joined the Careers Development Centre at Stirling University as their Employer Team Intern in 2009, working mostly in the Job shop. This helped me network and gain invaluable contacts in many different areas. As this was a second job, I also had to learn to organise my time more efficiently in order to fit my studies in.  To get on-the-job experience in Human Resource Management, I undertook some voluntary work experience at the Doubletree Hilton, Dunblane. Working alongside the HR Advisors and working on live projects gave me an insight into the jobs I could be doing in the future. Having this chance to work alongside established professionals has been incredibly valuable in helping my future career decisions. 

Between my 3rd and 4th year at university, I was also selected for a summer internship through the Saltire Foundation to work for Electronics Design Company, Jabil in St. Petersburg, Florida. I was working for the Human Development team as an Instructional Designer and my job was to design the courses that the company used to train their staff all over the world. I was working alongside top level management and directors' and, from day one, I was given immediate responsibility on the project, working on my own initiative and working to tight deadlines. This gave me invaluable experience working on live projects, adding commercial value to the company from my very first day.  I was delighted to be offered a job before I left Florida, continuing to work for Jabil remotely from Scotland whilst I completed my degree.

What attracted you to your current career?
I have always known I wanted to do learning and development. The experience I gained before starting my degree had given me a taste for what I could be doing and so studying Human Resource Management seemed like the most logical step in order for me to achieve this goal.  

How did you get into your current job?
During my final semester, I focused my attention on two things; my dissertation and searching for a graduate job. After hunting high and low, I managed to secure a job with Hilton Worldwide as a Corporate Human Resources (HR) Trainee. Voluntary HR experience completed during my degree (in the Dunblane Double Tree by Hilton hotel), led to a glowing reference, which helped to secure the job. My initial graduate role involved acting as a point of contact for 30 hotels in Eastern Europe, providing them with HR advice. I have since transitioned into a HR role specialising in employees’ learning and development.

In what way did your time at Stirling shape your career to date?
Stirling’s Human Resource Management degree provided me with a solid understanding of all the key aspects relevant to the HR profession. Without this degree, starting life in corporate HR would have been much more difficult. I believe my degree also made me stand out against other applicants who applied for the same role, giving me a competitive advantage in the selection process.

What advice would you give to current students in terms of preparing for life after graduation?
It’s never too early to start preparing for the future. I think any experience, whether it be relevant to your degree or not is going to be useful. Enhancing and developing skills, and gaining new skills will always help you, short and long term. 

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