Pete Burgess – University of Glasgow
I graduated from the University of Glasgow with a degree in Law and German. Since graduation, I’ve now been working full time with Southwestern Advantage and can honestly say I’m having the time of my life.
I’d only just started university when I heard about the program in November 2006. Alasdair Marshall, who became my manager and a good friend, was holding an information session on campus so I went along with a couple of friends. I interviewed and was eventually offered a spot on the team, and so I began preparing for the summer.
We trained thoroughly on campus during the months leading to the summer. Alasdair worked tirelessly with each of the students under his care to prepare them as best he could for the summer. After completing exams, I flew to the company’s headquarters in Nashville, TN. For a whole week, we trained along with the rest of the Glasgow students at the company. On completion, we flew out as a group to Utah, ready to embark upon a great summer.
We were trained on what to expect, and how to react to the unexpected. A hard working and positive mental attitude was our focus. We improved ‘technically’ and a winning spirit was one of the many reasons that the University of Glasgow finished as the #2 team company-wide.
All the students who completed the summer returned home with an experience which many university colleagues who had ‘normal’ summer jobs found difficult to relate to.
I was invited back as a student leader and took time out of my university schedule during 2nd year to recruit and train a team for the summer. My second summer was both amazing and challenging; I had to continue dealing with my own business yet this time I had a team of 7 new students to lead. I grew tremendously and had the chance to gain the type of real management experience that most 19 year olds, or even 29 year olds, find incredibly difficult to come across.
Southwestern Advantage is clearly something unique and different; it’s a real world challenge. My math teacher always said to us that in life there is one universal law: “The more you put in, the more you get out.” While I was there in America, I made the resolution to do my best and work my hardest. I’ve saved and invested far more in than I would have had I stayed at home for my summers and worked. I’ve also travelled far more (and often for free!) than I would have otherwise. I’ve made many close friends (especially my wonderful wife!) and gained experience I couldn’t have gained elsewhere.
I’m currently working full time with Southwestern Advantage. Our program is not for everybody; it is tough like I’d never known tough before. But that’s the point. It’s for students who are hard working, positive, fun, and who want a challenge; a challenge which pays you back whatever you put in and then some! I’ve had a fantastic experience and thank my colleagues, managers, and the many students who I’ve lived and worked with for making my work and life what it’s been.