In March of this year, I was browsing the University of Manchester student careers page when I came across the student experience internship (SEI) at Manchester University Press. As I am about to begin my third and final year at the University of Manchester, thoughts of a “real job” had been crossing my mind with increasing frequency. Whilst I’d decided I’d like to go into publishing, that was as far as I’d got. To somebody with no experience, the publishing world can seem rather mysterious. So, the summer internship at MUP looked perfect; four weeks divided between all departments within the Press, allowing interns to gain first-hand experience and understanding of academic publishing.
The internship began in early July, with my first week being in marketing. Of all the departments, marketing surprised me most. Retrospectively, prior to the internship, I perhaps just wasn’t clear on what marketing actually entails! I really enjoyed the work I completed; my tasks included creating email newsletters, Twitter banners, scheduling tweets and researching relevant social media influencers. I got to use software that I’d never come across too, including Canva and TweetDeck. Overall, it was the creative aspect and social media management that I really found enjoyable.
The following week I was in production and operations, which encompassed a vast range of tasks. I learned about metadata, worked on THEMA codes, proofed eBooks and audiobooks, and even got to visit MUP’s archive. Working within this department was great as the tasks were so varied. I had previously thought proof-checks would be completed by the editorial department, so this was another opportunity for me to gain in-depth knowledge of publishing processes.
Next was editorial. Again, I had some misconceptions regarding editors, and I learned about the various roles there are; commissioning editors, copy editors, editorial assistants and assistant editors. The work I undertook included draft manuscript assessments, researching university reading lists and looking at handovers. Having worked in production the week prior, I found handovers were particularly interesting. By working on them, I gained an understanding of the relationship between editorial and production and the steps needed in order for a text to progress towards publication.
In my last week I worked in sales as well as social responsibility. For sales I got to use software such as Burgundy Cascade and the AMS (account managing system). Additionally, I learned about rights and the procedure for publishing texts abroad or translating them – this was another aspect I particularly enjoyed. For social responsibility I completed a research task in addition to creating a newsletter featuring MUP titles that correspond with UNESCO’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It was brilliant to learn how MUP operates conscientiously and the steps it is consistently taking to consider social responsibility.
Having almost completed my internship, I can confidently say I would love to go into publishing following my degree. I am incredibly grateful to have had this opportunity because it has allowed me to gain fundamental first-hand experience which will facilitate my ability to make informed choices concerning my career in the future. Where I previously had misconceptions or gaps in my knowledge, I now have an understanding regarding publishing processes and roles. It was so great to be able to speak to people within the industry to learn about their experience and career history in publishing too. Every member of the Press I have worked with has been beyond kind, patient and helpful – I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to intern for!
Bella Panzer is a twenty-year-old student from Surrey, studying at the University of Manchester. She’s about to go into her final year as an undergraduate in English Literature and is hoping to go into publishing after her degree. She loves to read in her free time; authors such as the Brontës, Auden and Criado Perez are some of her favourites.