"The whole process gave me hope that I wouldn’t be judged on what I had studied"
Today we sat with a current schemer, from our 2017 intake, and had a chat about her time with us and a little bit about her and her journey to Penguin Random House. Raphaela is currently in Penguin General and loves it. Fun fact, she walks to work every day which is about 17,000 steps there and back.
Why did you apply for The Scheme?
After doing some work for my University newspaper, I became interested in publishing and getting involved in that sector. However, when asking friends, colleagues and classmates, I was told that an English Literature degree was the only way into publishing... Not deterred by this, I went out to try to get experience in publishing, so I could see if it was really for me. Luckily, I was randomly selected for 2 weeks of work experience in Michael Joseph Marketing and Publicity team. It was a lot of fun, I learnt a lot and I didn’t realise you got to be so creative and use a variety of skills. Nothing I did there required an English literature background. During my time in Michael Joseph, I became aware of The Scheme opening soon and liked the sound of it. After looking at the website I decided this was my chance to get into publishing and they didn’t care about my background. The whole process gave me hope that I wouldn’t be judged on what I had studied.
What was the process of applying for The Scheme like?
The whole process was super friendly, I loved it! Compared to applying for initiatives in other big cooperate where they don’t treat you like an individual, it was refreshing to feel important and valued. During the online application, it was clear they were interested in you, not your experience so it was a chance to really get my personal qualities across. The questions were creative and interesting and got me thinking about the role might involve.
Another thing that was great was you always knew when you would hear back and you always heard back at this time. This helped a lot as I didn’t worry as much during the process as the timelines were very clear. During the assessment days, the fact that travel was paid for made it much more accessible to me.
What do you love most about being at Penguin Random House and in your team?
The highlight of my time here was planning a Mezcal tasting for a launch of a book “The line becomes a river” by Francisco Cantú (great book, by the way, would recommend). The best bit was Jarvis Cocker turned up and it was really cool to be in the presence of a celebrity, enjoying an event I helped create.
The best part about being in my team is that I always feel appreciated, useful and productive. It was great to feel like part of the team, but even better to know that I am contributing positively to the team. Everyone is open and supportive and this makes it a wonderful environment to work in.
What book has changed your life and outlook on things?
One that changed my life is a book called Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. This book is the reason I chose to study Economics and make me think in a wider sense, why we chose to do certain things over others. Basically, it made me a big fan of Behavioural Economics.
Another that changed my outlook is Franny and Zooey by J.D Salinger. I read it when I was 17 years and changed my attitude toward religion, faith and relationships.
What is your favourite song and why?
Well, my favourite song is actually on an album called The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi battles the pink robots.
This means a lot to me because my best friend (who is much for knowledgeable on music) was trying to get me into different types of music. The first CD they gave me was this and I listened to it while studying for 3 months straight and fell in love with it. It can make me extremely happy and also want to cry because of the memories. That’s why I love it.