Alum of the Month

Laura McNally

Laura McNally

February 2014

New York Program

March 2010 Intake

What and where did you study before your Mountbatten internship?
English Language and Literature at the University of Leeds.

What made you apply for the Mountbatten programme?
I was working as Editorial and Portal Manager for a video mobile company called Mobix in Chelsea when I left university. We later merged with a larger company called the On-Demand Group (now Vubiquity) where I joined the music team, working with major and independent record labels to generate music video promotion schedules for the likes of Virgin Music On-Demand and O2 but the team dynamics changed a lot – there wasn't a huge amount of interaction between us as a team anymore and I started to think about what else I could be doing. The Mountbatten Programme had been mentioned to us in our Careers sessions at Leeds so I decide it was now or never. On-Demand were really supportive of my move – it was touch-and–go for a while as to whether Mountbatten would be able to find me a placement on the 2010 intake and On-Demand held my position for me until I knew I was Stateside-bound for sure.

Describe your sponsor company and your role within it.
I had the privilege of working with Michael Billett OBE (former Director of the Mountbatten Programme) at his start-up company, 'Phase Two Inc' as Projects Coordinator. I worked with Michael on all aspects of new business start-up for his new projects which included introducing former New York and London Mountbattens to potential full-time and permanent employers after completion of their internships, as well as 'Fellows Without Borders' – an international Conflict Resolution program for young activist university graduates from warring countries.

What was the highlight/most memorable moment of your working experience during this year?
Michael being awarded his OBE whilst I was working with him was special – I felt incredibly proud and privileged to be the apprentice of someone known and recognised by the Order of the British Empire for their contribution to International Education.
Working in an office on Fifth Avenue also meant that literally every day was a highlight – like most Mountbattens, I had no money but I used to strut down from the PATH station at 33rd Street up to 42nd every day thinking I was Carrie Bradshaw. We also shared the floor with Marc Anthony productions so I ran into J-Lo one day – I tried to act casual but burst with excitement instead.

What was the social highlight/most memorable moment during this year?
Running the New York marathon in November 2010 was magical - I remember eating chicken jambalaya with Mum and Dad (who were visiting at the time) afterwards in the Houlihan's in Weehawken with my medal around my neck.
The 27 hour train ride from NYC to Miami for the Ultra Music Festival at the end of my Internship was unforgettable too.
As was ending up at a party in an insane apartment on Wall Street, the parties at Greenpoint Gellery in Brooklyn and the Staten Island New Yorkers who took me under their wing like I'd lived there forever. There are far too many moments to single out just one.

Please share a little wisdom/philosophy that you acquired during your internship.
I'd have to go with the old classic 'we're here for a good time, not a long time'.

If you could change anything about your internship, what would it be?
To make it last forever!

What happened after completing the year - what did you do next?
I hit the road and went to work for Red Bull Racing Formula One team as Digital Content Producer flying to grands prix in Australia, Malaysia, China, Bahrain, Spain, Monaco, Canada, Spain, Silverstone, Germany, Hungary, Belgium, Italy, Singapore, Japan, Korea, India, Abu Dhabi, the US and Brazil for two and half years, interviewing celebrity guests for the team podcast and creating digital content to increase the team's online and offline fan bases. F1 is traditionally a very exclusive sport but Red Bull Racing were all about pushing the boundaries and breaking that tradition to try and make it more accessible to people from all walks of life around the globe. It was thrilling and rewarding to be a part of that.

Where are you now in your working life and what do you do?
I left Red Bull Racing in October last year to move up the ladder and try my hand on the agency side of the marketing industry, joining a brand-entertainment agency called Cake. My title now is 'Content Strategist', working on consumer brand campaigns. It's definitely challenging but I'm enjoying the buzz of agency life, being involved with multiple brand campaigns at the same time and working with a team of young, fast-thinking and creative 'Cakers' - it's a really inspiring environment.

Do you have any future plans that you would like to realise & what are they (career & social)?
There's definitely more time in NYC to be had at some stage…