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Fresh mindset gained from Saltire internship

By Bruce Cooper - Posted on 29 August 2018

Undergraduate student Bruce Cooper was picked as one of this year's Saltire Interns and jetted off to America for an experience of a lifetime. In today's blog, he talks about what this opportunity has meant to him.

I wrote this blog sitting at my desk in Aliso Viejo, South California, in the final week of my internship working at Indie Semiconductor as a Finance & Operations intern. 

I secured this incredible opportunity through Entrepreneurial Scotland’s Saltire Scholar Internship Programme which matches high-potential undergraduates from Scottish universities with leading global and entrepreneurial companies. The Saltire Scholars Programme now forms an integral part of the Entrepreneurial Scotland's mission to inspire, develop and connect Scotland's current and future leaders to build the most entrepreneurial society in the world.

It feels like a lifetime ago when around November time last year I applied to become a Saltire Scholar. I originally found out about the programme from a previous Scholar and after she told me about her experience it seemed too good to be true. The application process was challenging, but less daunting that I originally thought.

Throughout the process, from the written application to the interviews, Saltire want to give you the best opportunity to present why you could excel as a Scholar. To my delight, I got through the Saltire application process and was put in a pool of candidates to apply for the actual internships. There were many internships that Saltire offered in various industries, however, I picked a finance internship with Indie as its job description had a close relation to what I would look for in my future graduate job. Of course, the fact that it was in South California did not hurt!

After a couple of interviews with Indie, they called to say they wanted to offer me the position – at which point my head hit the ceiling! So after what felt like an eternity, I left Scotland to make my American dream a reality.

The work that I have conducted has been challenging but a great insight into what I wish to pursue as a future career. I have had two key responsibilities whilst working at Indie: calculating return on investments as Indie evaluates different routes for applying new funding; and carrying out inventory valuations so that the company’s cost model is more accurate.

These tasks have taught me a great deal about the inner workings of a company and have shown me the large amount of information that is required to justify an operations decision. I thought at the beginning of the internship I had a good understanding of excel, however, after using the programme to present various forecasts and projections, I have a much better knowledge of how this important programme is used in the workplace.

Given that Indie is in the Semiconductor industry and I am a novice when it comes to anything engineering, I have built a good knowledge base on the industry which has enabled me to understand the various processes in creating a product and, more importantly, how to evaluate their effectiveness.

Needless to say, living in South California has had its advantages. My fellow Saltire Scholar Ronan and I have used all of our weekends to see as much as possible. Almost every Friday we have set off to an incredible location including San Francisco, San Diego, the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas. Some of these road trips have been nearly 10 hours long but have been well worth it to see and experience some of the best locations the US has to offer. One aspect of the internship that has been particularly enjoyable is meeting up with fellow interns who are located in different locations of California – as well as Arizona: experiencing all of these moments with other interns who have now become great friends has made it all the more memorable.

I cannot speak highly enough of my experience as a Saltire Scholar and would recommend applying to anyone and everyone. Not only do you get the chance to work with some of the best companies in the world, but becoming a Saltire Scholar makes you part of Entrepreneurial Scotland’s vast network of the very best entrepreneurs and global leaders who you can reach out to and even have mentor you.

Looking forward, I am going to be travelling around America for two weeks after my internship - driving up the Pacific Coast Highway as well as going to the East Coast to visit South Carolina and Washington DC before I head home.

Once I return, I will be starting my fourth and final year at Strathclyde, which I am excited to begin with a fresh mindset and more motivation to secure my degree and begin my career.



Contact details

 Undergraduate admissions
 +44 (0)141 548 4114
 sbs-adviser@strath.ac.uk 

 Postgraduate admissions
 +44(0)141 553 6118 / 6119
 sbs.admissions@strath.ac.uk

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University of Strathclyde
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