Ellie Edwards, Class of 2015, is about to embark on a Health Fellowship at WPP (British multinational advertising and public relations company.)
What was your experience at Manchester High like?
I had a wonderful seven years at MHSG. I was there from year 7 until I left in sixth form. I got the sports scholarship so I had the most amazing experiences from doing counties and nationals with the netball and hockey team, furthering my athletics training and the amazing 2-week tour to Malaysia and Singapore in 2012 and obviously training multiple times a week for all the sports teams.
I had great teachers that helped me succeed in my academics and met amazing girls there, many who I am still extremely close with and see often.
How do you feel it helped to shape the person you are today?
I feel Man High really allowed you to excel in whatever you wanted; be it music, the arts, science or sport, there were so many opportunities. There were wonderful trips abroad or in the UK, amazing and supportive teachers and of course incredible facilities and equipment. No matter what you wanted to do, you could. For example due to my sporting schedule, I was allowed to have extra time for homework to allow me to train and compete to my full potential whilst also achieving academic success.
I also feel it helped me to be proud of being a woman, an academic woman who wants to go far in life. Having been at an all-girls school, you are immune to any hiccups and never feel you will face any setbacks because you are a woman. If anything it makes you realise how impressive we are and because everyone else is so driven and motivated, it makes you want to strive for the very best in your life and career.
Were there any teachers who made a particular impression on you?
Miss Martin (who I first met as my History teacher in year 7), although her surname might have changed since she got married, and Miss Hadley my psychology teacher in sixth form.
I became very close to both of them. They were incredible teachers, putting in so much effort with their learning materials and often putting in extra hours to help us (me) with exams, questions and anything you didn’t understand. I often ended up going to them about issues outside the subjects they taught me. I still occasionally email Miss Hadley to check in with each other’s life!
Are you still in touch with anyone from your time at School?
Yes so many of them still, we only finished four years ago but our big group are still in touch and meet up when we are all back home and obviously have our group chats.
My best friend Anoushka and I are actually about to go travelling together for 4 months!
What did you do after Manchester High?
I went straight to University in Birmingham to study Human Neuroscience and had the best three years ever. I still carried on all my sports at University. I quickly realised however that although I loved my course, I didn’t want to have a career stuck in a lab all day and I fell into Health advertising. After achieving a first class degree, I wanted a break and planned a four month round the world trip, and actually got a six-month job in an advertising agency in Altrincham.
My plan was to go travelling from March to July 2019 and find a job when I came back. I applied for one job for WPP (the biggest communication company in the world) and after four rounds and an intense two-day assessment centre in London, I was one of six people chosen to be a WPP Health Fellow to start in August in London.
This means I will be working with the biggest and largest Pharmaceutical and Technology companies, looking at all their communications; PR, marketing, Market Research, Business Strategy, Advertising etc.
You had to have a science degree to apply so I am beyond happy I got the job.
What has been the highlight of your career?
It has only just started but definitely getting this WPP Health Fellowship job. I wouldn’t have believed in my wildest dream I would get such an incredible opportunity, I had to go to the two day assessment centre on the day of my grandmas funeral and I was so close to not going at the last minute. However, thankfully I did and made all my friends and family so proud.
What advice would you give to girls considering your career?
Firstly always work hard, never be lazy, if you want something you have to work very hard, don’t expect you will just get top grades if you’re not revising, or getting a job or apprenticeship without having experience or doing lots of research. If you want to be the best, you have to work like it.
Never be too scared to apply for something. I very nearly didn’t apply for WPP as I was scared I wouldn’t get it and thought it was way out of my reach, if I hadn’t pushed myself out my comfort zone I never would have got the job. The worst that can happen is that you don’t get a job or don’t get into the University of your choice, but you deal with the situation and move on. Never give up.
Finally, do not think just because you study science at University that it means you have to go into research. I am proof there are other routes! Study what you love, and you will excel.
Who are the inspirational figures in your life?
My parents. They have been the most amazing and supportive people throughout my life, in whatever I do. Everything I do is to make them proud.
What are your ambitions for the future?
I am not too sure on exactly what I want, but I know I want to get to the top. Be it at WPP or another opportunity that arises, whatever job I start in, I want to become a leader in that field, whilst also eventually having a large family !
What do you like to do in your spare time?
The spare time I do have is spent on exercising e.g. going to the gym or going to the track and running. I also love to travel, meet up with my friends and go out having a great time.
What achievements are you most proud of in life?
Apart from getting the job at WPP, it would be a sporting achievement; winning the Maccabiah gold medal in the 200m in 2013 and 2017 is a moment never to be forgotten!