Megan McFarlane tells us about her role in the Student Recruitment and Admissions team as well as her passion for politics and cuddles with her dog.

Tell us about your role at the University.

I look after the recently refurbished Enquiry Room in Student Recruitment, managing a team of staff who answer emails, live chats and phone calls from prospective students from all over the world. We handle around 3500 emails a month and hundreds of live chats where we encourage people to make an application. We then work with School colleagues, marketing staff and the wider recruitment and admissions team to try and convert these applicants into registered students by sending regular, bespoke and engaging communications, and providing offer holders with the opportunity to take part in a number of activities pre-arrival. One of our best conversion projects provided 700 offer holders with free English language support from a current student ahead of their arrival in Aberdeen.

How do you usually start your day?

Some days I start with a spin class at ASV, but only if a couple of my colleagues are also going. Peer pressure works. After that I get to work and check my calendar for the plan for the day. I usually sit in meetings for longer than I sit at my desk so my day can result in a blur of messages being sent from my phone while running between buildings.

What brought you to the University of Aberdeen?

I studied Politics and International Relations here from 2008 – 2012 and loved every minute of it. When I graduated I worked as an Office Manager for a Member of Parliament before joining the international team in 2013 looking after international partnerships. This was a great introduction to recruitment and prepared me for the challenge of improving our international conversion rates. I’ve been delighted to take what I’ve learned and apply it to the home market, expanding into enquiry management for all study levels and markets.

What’s your favourite thing about your job?

The people! I love working with so many interesting, funny people every day. Working in SRAS is a joy but I’ve particularly enjoyed working more closely with colleagues in the Schools and the Directorate of IT over the last year. The most patient people on the planet, my friends in IT have given me the tools and support to do my job to the best of my ability. It’s also been amazing to travel the world meeting prospective students and training our network of agents. I’ve been lucky enough to visit the USA, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Nigeria, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Norway, Faroe Islands, India and China as part of my job. I’ve not travelled in over a year now as I’ve been so busy setting up and running the Enquiry Room but I’m looking forward to hitting the road again soon.

What are your work priorities at the moment?

Clearing was my most recent big project. A level results day is the best day of the year! It sounds corny but we get to change people’s lives, and it’s a big moment to get to tell someone they have an offer of a place. I spent a lot of time this year preparing academic staff to make follow up calls to offer holders and I’ve enjoyed my time getting to know the undergraduate teaching staff more. My next big projects are the January starts conversion campaign, and putting our recently developed communications plan into action.

How do you like to relax outside work?

I’m a bit of a political geek so spend a lot of time fighting elections for friends who are standing as candidates. With the number of elections we’ve had recently it’s felt like another full time job. Outside of that I enjoy baking, showering my dog in overbearing affection and dragging myself to the gym.