Suzanne Gregson (MChem 2004) is a senior patent examiner at the Intellectual Property Office.
I’d heard great things from people who studied at Cardiff, and had a good feeling when I visited. If I had to sum the University up in five words, they would be: excellent teaching, supportive, fun and Welsh!
Cardiff provided the perfect balance between an excellent degree course and great fun. The support I received from my lecturers throughout my chemistry degree was invaluable, as were the analytical skills that I developed. Equally, don’t forget to have lots of fun. These will be some of the best, most carefree years of your life, and you won’t be able to get away with it when you’re older!
My favourite memories are nights out in the union and meeting lifelong friends. I was obviously well-rested, alert and punctual for every single lecture and lab practical so that I could enjoy them fully. Oh, and of course the moment I found out I’d been awarded a first in my degree!
You might find your dream job straight away, or it might take some time. I worked for the Welsh Government and a pharmaceutical company, before starting at the IPO in 2008. Before you apply, seek out opportunities to shadow people who currently work in the type of role you want; in my experience, people are more than happy to take the time to talk to those who are interested in their work.
I’m now a Senior Patent Examiner at the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO). Patent examiners search through patent databases and other literature to establish whether an invention is new, and examine applications to ensure they meet legal requirements. I also visit patent attorneys and patent applicants as part of our stakeholder engagement work.
Since working at the IPO, I have worked on domestic and international copyright policy (including negotiations at the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva), and completed the National Experts in Professional Training Programme, which involved a 5-month secondment to the European Commission in Brussels.
You have so many amazing opportunities ahead of you. The degree you’re awarded at the end of those (short!) three, four or five years at university is going to follow you around for a little while yet. A good degree from a good university can make all the difference, so make it count.