Admissions Interviews – Dos and Don’ts

Your mouth is dry, your palms feel sweaty and you’re sure the interviewer can hear your heart thumping loudly in your chest. Most people have at some point felt this way as they’ve sat down to be interviewed, but with some simple techniques, nerves can be managed.

A recent article in the Guardian Higher Education Network offers some top tips on how to shine in an academic interview. Here in the Mango office, we’ve also compiled a list of our own: 

Crank up your confidence levels

 Whilst there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance, you need to go into an interview feeling confident in your abilities and what you have to offer. Try thinking of it as a conversation with the university you’ll be studying at rather than an interview. Remember, you’re there to figure out if it really is the right place for you; after all, you’ll be spending at least three years of your life there. What’s more, the university has arranged to meet you because they were impressed by your personal statement; they want you to do well.  

Know your subject and prove you’re enthusiastic about your topic

It’s the obvious one but being prepared will help ease the tension on the day of the interview and make you feel far more confident than you otherwise would do. If you’re aware of your strengths and how they apply to your course of choice, you’ll be in a far stronger position to sell yourself.

Enthusiasm is the one thing which can really make a candidate stand out. When a potential student gets really excited about an idea and is able to offer examples on the spot, they make a really good impression.

Be on the ball

Have a relaxed evening before the day of the interview. Whatever you typically do to unwind, whether it’s a having bubble bath, making yourself comfortable on the sofa with a good book, or hitting the gym, make sure you wake up feeling refreshed the next day. Don’t forget to eat a nutritious breakfast too so that your brain is alert and ready to answer any questions the interviewer may throw at you!

Stay positive

Yes, it may sound cliché but imagine yourself smiling when you first shake hands with your interviewer and answering all the questions just as you’d hope. Positive visualisation is incredibly powerful and smiling releases endorphins that cheat the brain into making you feel happier.

Don’t dwell on it

When it’s all over, don’t fixate on things you wish you had or hadn’t said – as long as you gave it your best shot that’s all you need to keep in mind.

So when it comes to your next academic interview, here at Mango Marketing we’d like to wish you the best of luck!

Beating the bullies!

By Rebecca Rocca

November is one of my favourite months; the run up to festive fun has begun. Just think sparklers, poppies, fireworks and of course the amusing, but charitable, ‘Movember’ movement. November is also the month that raises awareness about bullying with Anti-Bullying Month which was established to highlight the impact of bullying and how to combat it. For anyone who has experienced bullying, it can be an emotional rollercoaster and an upsetting time.

Statistics on bullying, collated from Government reports and research reveal that almost half (46 per cent) of children and young people say they have been bullied at school at some point in their lives. I’m lucky enough to say I was never bullied in school, however, I don’t know if I would have gotten away unscathed had there been Facebook or Twitter back then! You see the bully of the 21st Century looks very different to that of 20 years ago; for starters, more often than not, he is faceless, and nameless. No longer content with stealing children’s lunch money or homework, he’s now stealing something far more precious: their self esteem, ambitions and reputation. In fact, between 8 and 34 per cent of children and young people in the UK have admitted to being the victims of cyber bulling, with girls twice as likely to experience persistent cyber bullying than boys.

The truth of the matter is kids today have far more to deal with in terms of bullying than I (or we) ever did. So as adults I think we need to be extra vigilant when it comes to looking out for the young people we love. We need to monitor their moods and social media activity – let them accuse us of being nosey and interfering – we’re adults, that’s our job! Our job is to protect them, and in this day and age, that includes ensuring that they don’t fall victim of the cyber bully.

Remember remember the fifth of November: Sparklers at the ready everyone!

It’s that time of year again when everyone digs out their winter coats, scarves, woolly hats and gloves and joins together in celebrating Bonfire Night!

Also known as Guy Fawkes’ Night, the event started as a celebration of the arrest of Catholic, Guy Fawkes on 5 November 1605, following his failed attempt to blow up both King James I and the Houses of Parliament.

Burning effigies of Guy Fawkes on 5 November every year served as a reminder that treason would never be forgiven or forgotten. However, the 20th century Bonfire Night/Guy Fawkes’ Night became an enjoyable social celebration, lacking much of its original focus, and today the event is an excuse to light a bonfire, enjoy a tasty winter BBQ and watch an extravagant firework display with family, friends and the local community.

Last year, Guardian readers from across the UK shared their Bonfire Night photos, some of which are so stunning I had to share them with you: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/photography-blog/gallery/2012/nov/06/bonfire-night-readers-pictures#/?picture=398988089&index=2

If you’re in need of some inspiration as to where to go to celebrate Bonfire Night, check out a few of the largest and well-known events taking place in the UK below:

The Lord Mayor’s Show: To mark the end of the Lord Mayor’s Show and the beginning of a new mayoral year, London’s newly confirmed Lord Mayor will launch a magnificent fireworks display over the river on the 9 November. This is one of London’s most spectacular annual displays, with the fireworks visible for miles. For the best view however, head down to the riverside between Waterloo and Blackfriars Bridges.

Leeds Castle Fireworks Spectacular: This huge firework display will take place over the top of the beautiful Leeds Castle while music plays to add a sense of drama to the occasion! This year the event takes place on 9 and 10 November.

The Lewes Bonfire Night Celebrations: The Lewes Bonfire Night celebrations is possibly the biggest bonfire night celebration in Britain, including large bonfires, firework displays, processions become and the burning of effigies of anyone who has caused offence to Lewes over the past year! The Lewes bonfires are always on 5 November.

Whatever you decide to do to celebrate this great British tradition, whether it’s venturing to the park with the kids to watch the local firework display, or setting off a few screech rockets and a couple of Catherine wheels in the garden, here at Mango Marketing we hope you all have fun!

Happy Birthday Bett!

I can’t believe how close it’s getting. A whole year seems to have flown by and now the excitement is mounting. No, I’m not talking about Christmas as you might imagine, but Bett 2014.

Here in the Mango office, we are full steam ahead in preparing for Bett 2014, the world’s leading event for learning technology taking place from 22 to 25 January at ExCeL London. We thrive on the buzz, excitement and general passion for the event that everyone we speak to seems to have.

This year more than ever however we can’t wait for January to roll around because it means we also get to celebrate a very special birthday – Bett’s big 3-0.

I’ll let you in on a secret here – Bett pre-dates me by a few years – yet it continues to go from strength to strength with every passing January. It’s hard to believe that a show that is such an event in the calendar for celebrating technology in education started way back in 1985 when computers were still a bit of a mystery for a lot of people, and Windows was only on version 1.0! Yet since this date, Bett has been on the forefront of recognising and celebrating the greatest thinking and innovation from sector thought-leaders, inspiring teachers and the most inventive of companies and suppliers.

Working on Bett 2014 is my fourth show and even in this time I have noticed a change in the trends; apps and tablets have taken off in terms of their popularity, Bring Your Own device (BYOD) is seeing mobile phones which were banned in my school days becoming increasingly commonplace in the classroom, and Twitter and Facebook are frequently used as a genuine learning resource.

This rapid pace of change is something that Bett is celebrating in January, with the launch of a very exciting competition that will ask schools and students to imagine the classroom of the future in 30 years’ time or what classroom technology has looked like over the years from 1985 onwards. Doing so, they’ll be in with a chance of winning some great prizes. We are excited to see young people’s imaginations at work. Who knows, if we created a time capsule and dug it up in 2044, we might find we had an ‘edtech’ physic sitting amongst the entries!

More details about the competition will soon be available on the http://www.bettshow.com website, so make a note to check it out.

Rebecca

European Day of Languages

The 26th September marks the European Day of Languages, an awareness day jointly organised by the Council of Europe and the European Union in 2001. The main objectives of the day are to highlight the importance of language learning and diversifying the range of languages learnt to increase plurilingualism and intercultural understanding, to promote and preserve the linguistic and cultural diversity of Europe, and to encourage lifelong language learning in and out of school, whether for study purposes, professional needs to boost your CV, to use on your travels, or simply as a hobby.

Since the first European Day of Languages the awareness day has grown every year to include more countries and more participants. A range of events are organised across Europe, these include activities for and with children, television and radio programmes, language classes and conferences.

So what are the benefits of learning other languages? To begin, studies show that those who can speak a second or even a third language generally perform better in exams and fare better at IQ tests. Furthermore, trying your hand at learning another language helps to develop open-mindedness about other cultures. As people learn to interact comfortably with people from other countries self confidence can sky rocket. What’s more, globalisation means that people increasingly need foreign language skills to work effectively within their own countries, so an additional language is fast becoming an essential requirement on job specifications.

To get involved, you may want to learn a few handy phrases like ‘hello’, ‘goodbye’, ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ in several European languages, or perhaps you’d like to focus on one European language in particular and try some out some fun games like Swedish scrabble or Hungarian hangman? Other foreign language activities could include watching a foreign film (subtitles optional!) – you can find a comprehensive list of the top 100 French films here – http://www.timeout.com/paris/en/film/100-best-french-films. And for the romantics out there, perhaps you could serenade a loved one with a Spanish song?

Remember, you are never too old to learn another language and to enjoy the opportunities this opens up!

How do you balance?

September 23rd marks the start of ‘National Work Life Week’, an awareness campaign launched by a group of working families three years ago to promote the balance between working life and home life. The organisers believe that we should be ‘working to live, not living for work’, and that ‘giving plenty of attention to both work and family is crucial to ensure that we live in a health society’; I for one, couldn’t agree more.

For me, having a work/life balance is crucial to ensuring that I am a healthy, happy, well-rounded individual. While I’ve made peace with the fact that I don’t have a definitive ‘thing’ (have you ever been asked what your ‘thing’ is at a dinner party or when you meet new people? For me it’s usually that tumble-weed moment when I frantically wrack my brain for a cool, fun hobby or activity that I can say I enjoy doing outside of work that makes me sound interesting) to ensure I have a balance, I think I manage it pretty well.

I work hard while I am in work and love my job, but once I am on the train home, I switch my mindset; I don’t panic about the tasks I have to do the next day, or check my emails on the hour, or worry about impending deadlines – I switch my mindset. I focus on making plans with my boyfriend, friends and family; planning keeps me attuned to most important things in life and I take real comfort in that. Can that be my ‘thing’? Planning? Well, whether it can or it can’t, the truth is, it is!

I asked the other mangos what they do to get the balance right; here’s what a few of them said:

Lydia – As much as I enjoy my job, I’m partial to a bit of socialising (in the pub more often than not!) I come from a big family – seven of us to be precise – so have become accustomed to having lots of people around me. If I’m with my family or friends, with a glass of wine in hand, I’m pretty happy!

I’d always rather be out that in, so whether it’s going to a gig, heading down to the coast for a walk on the beach or planning a holiday, I don’t waste a moment!

Rachel M – My home life is very important to me. In the week, I like to keep fit by going for a run, or I like just chilling out with my boyfriend and watching our favourite TV shows like Breaking Bad (immense!) and Location, Location, Location. At the weekend, I’m usually busy doing DIY and housework but I always tend to arrange catch up with friends or family. If I can’t see them, we usually Facetime or Skype or just use the old fashioned telephone.

Rebecca T – My travel blog really helps me to get the balance right. I love planning my next travel adventure and blogging to the world about the ones I’ve already been on.

Jackie – My work-life balance is being a mum to my two girls and trying to fit my social life around their ever-increasing social lives. I find wine helps to achieve the balance too.

Joanna – I (try to) make sure that when I’m at work I get as much done so that I don’t have to worry about working at home in the evenings. I enjoy making plans to see my friends, whether that’s meeting up for a drink, catching a movie together or going out for dinner. I always aim to have something fun to look forward to at the weekend too so that come Monday, I feel like I’ve made the most of my 2 days off.

Rach W – Sometimes it’s good to just switch off completely. No conversations, no obligations, just peace and quiet so you can let your mind go. Maybe listen to some music, maybe try and head for somewhere open and green (you can take the girl out of the Peak District etc). And when you’re done with that, it’s good to spend time with family and friends, eating good food, putting the world to rights and having a giggle.

Let us know how you strike a balance?

Life after examinations

By Rachel Mortell

Today, thousands of students across the UK have found out their GCSE fate. Whether they will go on to sixth form college, straight into the workforce or onto a apprenticeship, will be determined by letters on a piece of paper. It sounds dramatic doesn’t it? While there can be a great deal of hype in the media about how exams are getting easier or harder, for the teenagers receiving their results, the only thing they care about is their future and how the grades they get today will affect their plans.

Of course, while GCSEs are an important gateway to higher education or securing an apprenticeship or work-based placement, students shouldn’t feel disheartened if they don’t get the grades they want- it isn’t the end of the world. There are options available to young people who didn’t ace their exams. They can consider re-sitting, especially English and maths, which are important benchmark in terms of basic skills. There are also vocational options such as NVQs and BTecs, which provide a route into more practical work-based learning. Students can even call a designated exam results helpline if they need advice on what to do next.

For many youngsters, GCSE results and what to do next is the first ‘grown-up’ decision they will have to make. For that reason, it isn’t surprising that most people remember their GCSE/O level results day years or decades later.

At Mango we have been reminiscing about our results day memories.

For me, results day was back in 2002, and I was luckily on holiday at the time, which removed some of the pressure. I was on a camping holiday with friends in North Wales, so I sent my dad to school to collect the envelope. From a crackling mobile phone line, my dad listed my grades one by one. I remember a massive sense of relieve when he had finished. Most of all I was just glad that I had passed maths and that I would never have to do it again!

Becky Rocca-

“The one memory that sticks in my mind about getting Junior Certificates (The Irish equivalent to GCSE) was getting my best friend Margaret Mcenery to call my boyfriend’s home number to find out his grades. I knew his mum would answer and she intimidated me, so my poor friend pretended to be me instead. It didn’t quite go to plan, with my best friend being cross-examined by Emmet’s mum and having to reveal her actual identity.”

Rebecca Thomas

“When I went into school to pick up my results, the widely disliked deputy head passed me my envelope and with deadpan face said concernedly ‘I think you might need to talk to your parents about these’. This caused me to almost have a heart attack on the spot! Turned out he was kidding as the results were good all round, but the very first thing I said to my parents in shock through my tears as I walked out was ‘I got an A in PE!’ (This was seemingly unbelievable if you know me at all!)”

Sue Murray

“Ohhh it’s such a long time ago for me!!!! I was on holiday so nicely away from it all. I was in France at the time and the only one I failed was French!! I think I was sent out to chat to the locals to start revising for the re takes.”

Lydia Slaughter

“I remember walking to school with my friends to collect our results and it felt like the longest walk in the world – it was awful. When I got to school I recall looking at all of my teachers’ faces, knowing that they had seen our results…they were obviously well-practised in giving nothing away because they gave absolutely nothing away! I was pleased with what I got and as a result partied hard that evening. The celebrations are the most memorable part of the day for me, but I’m taking that as a good sign because it obviously meant I was delighted with how I did!”

An infographic speaks a thousand words

I think it’s fair to say that we live in a world of information. It’s everywhere and we are surrounded by it wherever we go. It’s on our phones, on our computers at work and at home, in advertising, in the media; and with mobile technology we can literally access it instantly, anytime and anywhere we need it.

Here at Mango, and as consumers in general we are noticing a shift in the way information is communicated. Thankfully for us PR types, there is still a place for the good old press release, but visual communication is becoming more and more popular. Enter the infographic.

An infographic, for anyone who isn’t familiar, is essentially a graphic, or image that displays and explains information quickly and clearly in an eye-catching way. They break down data, helping an audience make sense of complex information.

Interestingly, infographics have been around since before the internet. Wikipedia even claims that the first examples can be traced back to prehistoric times as paintings found on the walls of caves.

I saw an interesting infographic last week, and funnily enough it was all about…infographics! It stated that the reason we like this method of communication as consumers, is because we have become ‘visually wired’.

If you think about it, their popularity has increased with the rise of social media, and that is probably because we have come to expect information in an instant. Twitter and Facebook, for example, enable us to do this in bite-size, digestible chunks, and the infographic follows suite.

We live in a busy world, where people don’t always have time to ready pages of text in order to find the information they are looking for. And even if we do have time, lines and lines of text will never engage us like an image does; I’m of course not speaking for everyone here, but generally speaking.

More and more businesses are using infographics as part of their marketing campaigns and as a consumer I personally think they’re great. There are of course some situations, where reading through text is necessary and unavoidable, but in many cases we need information quickly and whether you like them or not, infographics make it easy!

Another great thing about infographics is the fact that they are so ‘sharable’! They lend themselves to social media are the perfect tool for boosting a viral campaign. Why not give it a go?!

Do you prefer text or images? Let us know by commenting below, or tweeting us @Mango_Marketing!

We heart London!

I read an article in the Telegraph this week that asked, ‘Is London really the most dangerous place for students?’, and had a little giggle to myself. As someone who moved to the big bad city from the Emerald Isle three years ago, I find London to be one of the safest places I’ve ever lived. Fortunately, the journalist who wrote the piece seemed to share my sentiment, going on to list the reasons she felt safer in the busy city than in her quiet hometown.

After reading the article, without realising it, I started running through everything I love about London in my mind. There are lots!! But rather than list them all (and bore you to tears I’m sure!), I decided to share my top five with you:

Friendly locals – Yes, really!! I’ve never had complete strangers come up and compliment me on a pair of boots I’m wearing, or a painting I’m carrying…until I moved to London. I pass people on the street and they smile or wave when we’ve only crossed paths a few times, and have had people personally walk me to an area when I’ve asked for directions on the street. The vast majority of Londoners I’ve met, are extremely friendly and happy to chat, which is perfect for me as I love hearing the different accents too!

Individuality – Londoners always look so cool to me. The eclectic mix of styles and individuality you see on a daily basis, whether you’re pottering down Oxford Circus, or grabbing a coffee in Camden Market, is fantastic. People just seem comfortable in their own skin and completely content in dressing exactly how the want to, which I really admire.

Hidden gems – It is impossible to be bored when you live in London. There are hidden gems to be discovered on a daily basis; last weekend I popped into a new social club, The Effra Social, that opened in Brixton recently only to find the most amazing jazz duo playing to a small crowd in the back room. And two weeks ago I stumbled across a group of elderly dancers, waltzing, jiving and fox-trotting for passersby in the middle of Regent’s Park.

The food! – Whether you’re craving Cantonese Duck, Mexican inspired tapas, fruity frozen yoghurt, fresh sushi prepared right at your table, or a plate of pasta exactly like mamma use to make, London has a restaurant for every appetite.

My Mangos – Soppy but true! I don’t think I would have lasted three minutes, let along three years, without the lovely girls here at Mango. They’ve made London really feel like a home away from home for me!

What are the things you love most about London? We’d love to hear from you (and I’d love hear any recommendations you have for spending a Saturday in the city!).

The world = a giant classroom

As a bit of a travel nut, there isn’t much about the world around me that I don’t want to see, experience and learn about. Our planet is chock-full of destinations that inspire, educate and make us realise that the world is a lot bigger than we can ever imagine as a child. With the longer summer holiday, it presents a perfect opportunity to take our families and children out into it – with trips that have an additional educational benefit!

I’m not alone in thinking this; a survey from Tripadvisor earlier this year, found that the majority of those questioned see travel as part and parcel of holistic learning. As many as 97 per cent said they consider travel to be important for their children’s education, with 70 per cent among these claiming it to be very important.

Whether you choose to go with informal learning as you go along, or pick a more organised educational trip, the outcomes can be rich and the memories long-lasting.

Here are just a handful of suggestions that come to mind:

The Somme, France
For those with only a day or two to spare, a visit to the battlefields and war graves of the Somme provides a haunting reminder of the sacrifices of a generation. As we approach the 100 year anniversary of the start of the First World War in 1914, schools throughout the UK are being encouraged to educate young people of ‘the war to end all war’. While younger children might not realise the significance of the place, for those older students who will learn about WWI in school, seeing it for themselves brings an event that seems so far removed from their day-to-day existence, a little bit closer.

Pompeii and Herculaneum, Italy

The story of Pompeii and Herculaneum is a fascinating one; two cities in the Bay of Naples buried by a catastrophic volcanic eruption in AD 79. While it marked the end of the cities, it preserved them in a way never seen before until they were rediscovered nearly 1700 years later. Taking a walk through the cobbled streets takes you back in time as you explore grand houses, baths buildings and amphitheatres, and even see the casts of people captured in their final moments. There is nowhere quite like it.

Florida, USA
While the word Florida screams ‘theme parks’, for the budding young astronaut or scientists there is another attraction altogether to be found in the Sunshine State. The Kennedy Space Center, the site that has been used for every NASA human space flight since 1968, is the only place in the world where you can walk under the world’s largest rocket, touch a moon rock, meet a veteran NASA astronaut, experience the International Space Station and stand face-to-face with Space Shuttle Atlantis in one day.

N.B – Being left-handed myself, a fact that grabbed my attention is that despite only 10 per cent of the world being left-handed, 40 per cent of the early astronauts (Mercury to Apollo eras) were left-handed!

The Galapagos Islands
Those with a sense of adventure looking for somewhere out of the ordinary could consider the Galapagos Islands? Made famous by Charles Darwin who used his findings here as the basis for his theory of evolution, this series of volcanic islands off the coast of Ecuador are a world heritage site, marine reserve and a biosphere reserve. They are recognised for their huge number of ‘endemic species’, species that cannot be found anywhere else on earth. Because of the islands’ isolation and remoteness, many of these have not changed much since prehistoric times, and the birds, lizards, giant tortoises and sea lions have no fear of people. What better hands-on learning opportunity for young people about the world around us and how important it is to look after it is there than this?

Let’s not forget about the opportunities provided with a ‘staycation’ too. The relatively small scale of the British Isles means that you can fit a lot into a week or two. This might be exploring one of our famous castles (Windsor, Warwick, Chepstow, Edinburgh for instance), spending a rainy day in the Natural History Museum or Eureka!, or getting back to nature in the Peak District, Lake District, or New Forest. For those stargazers out there, you might be interested to know that the Brecon Beacons is one of only 5 ‘dark sky’ destinations in the world; this means that the dark sky is protected to allow the stars and constellations to be that much clearer.

With the opportunities for travel at a younger age increasing with each generation, children throughout the world have a chance to ground learning in real experiences, sights, sounds and smells. Who wouldn’t want that?!

I would like to leave you with one final thought – travel is said to be the one thing you can buy that makes you richer. I couldn’t agree more.

Rebecca