From Student Rep to Sporting Success

Published on 7 July 2021

Now Senior Media Manager at Scottish Rugby, and having worked closely with Scotland’s own Andy Murray in her previous role at Tennis Scotland, sport has always played a major role in Sarah’s life.

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Sarah Cruickshank’s journey began in 2005 when she came to study Interactive Media Design at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD) and later became Dundee Sports Union President.  

sarah at a rugby pitch
“Dundee was always my top choice for various reasons. I liked the size of the city, and also the set-up of the University within the city itself. I also liked the fact it was just a short train ride from Edinburgh, where I was from. It was a chance to live in a new city, but close enough that I could come for the weekend with dirty washing and get a home cooked meal!”

Sarah Cruickshank’

Sarah’s journey to where she is today really kicked off with her experiences in student representation through her involvement in extracurriculars and in the Sports Union (SU).   

“I was captain of the Lacrosse Club and it had been mentioned to me I should think about running as President - which I had not thought about whatsoever! But then as soon as someone puts an idea like that in your head that is that! 

Being involved in the student representation system really can create memories and connections for life. 

“I ran for President, was successfully elected, and came out with a fantastic Executive team – two of whom I am still good friends with today. In fact, one was my bridesmaid and another played the bagpipes on my wedding day, despite not knowing either of them before my experience at the SU.  

Sarah’s first main role as President was to attend the Scottish University Sports (SUS) Conference, which helped her discover a passion for marketing and communications.  

“I worked with staff who were in communication roles specifically in other SUs at other Scottish Universities. This was the first time I was really working alongside other professionals in sport as a career but also in marketing and communications.” 

Sarah’s position within the University also led to fantastic opportunities in Dundee itself. As part of her role, Sarah had to give a speech at the Caird Hall to all the new Freshers at the Principal’s Welcome. 

“I’d never been much of a public speaker, so suddenly standing in front of the whole of the Caird Hall was daunting. At the same time, I knew I was talking about something that was interesting to many of them as sport is such a big part of a lot of students’ University careers.” 

It’s safe to say that Sarah’s experiences as SU President really kickstarted her career in the marketing, communications and media sectors. She first got a job as Administration and Communications Officer for The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Scotland.  

“Something I think is quite key to tell new graduates is not to be scared to go for roles that sound like they are just administration as there are always little gems in there and things you can do to gain different experiences, especially in smaller organisations”. 

Sarah continued to build up her experience in communications, firstly with Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) then with Tennis Scotland. 

 “A lot of organising tournaments on a national scale in Scotland was involved in my role with Tennis Scotland, but then a fantastic opportunity came up – Andy Murray Live! 

“I was given the opportunity to take the lead in organising various aspects of the large-scale charity tennis event led by Scotland’s own Andy Murray, the media being one of them.  Massive names were there – Andy Murray as well as Jamie and Judy Murray. Grigor Dimitrov was there the first year and Roger Federer the second year. Gordon Reid who we worked quite closely with was always fantastic. There was just such a huge buzz.” 

The sporting media success didn’t stop there. Sarah soon moved on to her next endeavour, this time in a different sport entirely. The marketing and communications skillset she’d built up, along with the photography and videography skills that came from her early experiences at Dundee, led her to take on her current role as Senior Media Manager at Scottish Rugby. 

“Going to away games with a national team and being in an elite sport environment has been fantastic. I’ve played sport my whole life, but I had never been in an elite sport environment and being part of the Scotland Women’s management team has been lovely as I’m really made to feel like part of the squad.” 

There are also opportunities that come with being part of the media team in such a big stadium, Sarah was involved when the Spice Girls came to play at Murrayfield.  

“I grew up loving the Spice Girls so that was just amazing! Liverpool Football Club also came and used the stadium as well, and I was able to be a part of their set-up and saw how they operated with the media side of things. Being involved in the press conferences with Jürgen Klopp was really interesting but being in a stadium you know so well and watching football was very strange!” 

Sarah has remained connected to the University and as recently as March 2021 been involved in student society events where she was a guest alumni speaker in the University of Dundee Marketing Society’s conference.  

“When they first got in touch, I wasn’t sure if I could really help! I am only ten years into my career, and I felt like a bit of a fraud at the start! But then I thought about it and realised that, regardless of what level of experience you have, it is enough to help inspire someone who is just starting out on the career ladder. I think you realise that giving back and talking about your own experiences could maybe help people.”  

Were you a student representative during your time at the University of Dundee or would like to share your experiences with our student societies? If so, contact us at alumni@dundee.ac.uk, we would love to hear from you. 

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