Caller Testimonials

The following quotes have been provided by a number of the callers who worked on Pembroke Telephone Fundraising Campaigns between 2011 and 2015 inclusive:

“I really loved working on the telephone campaign last summer. I thought talking to strangers over the phone would be difficult, but it was surprisingly natural and I learned a lot throughout the campaign. Talking to alumni about their time at college, and what they have done since was really interesting. Hearing the connection they still felt to college, sometimes years and years after graduating, reassured me about graduating myself. There were some really interesting people who I would never have gotten the chance to talk to if it weren’t for the telephone campaign.” Maev Conneely McInerney

“I’d heard great things about the campaign from a couple of friends who’d done it the year before, so took a chance and applied, and I’m really glad I did. I had some very entertaining conversations about literally life, the universe, and everything. There are some wonderful alumni out there, and in some cases it felt like a real privilege to be able to hear about their experiences. The working hours also gave plenty of time to enjoy Cambridge before the term kicked off as well. All put together, it made for a fantastic couple of weeks!” James Roberts

“I am really glad I took part in the telephone campaign. Besides the obvious benefits of free accommodation and kinder eggs for successful calls, I had some really interesting conversations. After you get over the initial strangeness of having alumni tell you their life story, it is so lovely to hear about what Pembroke used to be like and what alumni have gone on to do (and also makes ‘the real world’ feel a lot less scary). I would really recommend it.” Sarah Howden

“Doing the TFC improved my confidence on the phone, which will help me when I start work this year. I really enjoyed talking to alumni about their experiences and it was a great excuse to be in Cambridge for the last of the summer’s sunny weather.” Alison Humphreys

“I found the Telephone Campaign to be a very worthwhile experience. It had its challenging moments, but these were balanced out by some really interesting conversations. It was also great for finding out more about what alumni who had studied my degree went on to do, which should be really useful come graduation.” Dom Hall

“Always looking for new experiences, I had a great time participating in the Telephone Campaign. At first, I was a little bit nervous about calling strangers, but it turned out to be really enjoyable since we were matched with people having common interests with us. I had really nice and long conversations with people from all over the world and who were happy to give advice and share their experience. We were also trained in dealing with with all sorts of negotiation situations, which I now find very useful. That was both a pleasant and instructive experience that I recommend to anyone.” Ben Pingault

“The telephone campaign was actually one of my most enjoyable experiences in Cambridge. The work is in the evenings so during the day you are free to do whatever you want. Then once calling starts, there is a really fun vibe in the call room with call associated games and prizes of sweeties on offer. It is really interesting to discover the career paths alumni have taken and take on advice on how to approach your own career. Ed organises various socials so there are lots of opportunities to get to know you fellow callers and you end up making some really great friends by the end of the campaign. I’ve also found the campaign useful for job applications as it ticks those client interaction and negotiation skills boxes on your CV. In all the campaign was a great experience (and a tidy little earner!) which I would recommend to anyone.” Matt Shaw

“I found the Telephone Campaign a good opportunity to improve my communication skills and enjoyed it. It is particularly suitable for returning students, as it will allow them to comfortably prepare for term early. This is because it only involves weekend and evening work. The job generally involves talking to past alumni about their life and how they found Pembroke College, after which a donation with them is negotiated. Through a computer algorithm, you are matched to people who share your interests, which generally makes the conversation you have with them interesting. I can whole-heatedly recommend the job.” Kassra Rashidian

“Really enjoyed the telephone campaign, the hours were very easy to work and left plenty of spare time for settling back into college. Speaking on the telephone campaign not only helps Pembroke a great deal but also yourself. I got the chance to speak to many career professionals which has helped me to better understand the choices I have after uni. Without a doubt I’d recommend the telephone campaign – there was a friendly, relaxed, fun atmosphere in the room.” Richard Ollington

“The two weeks of telephone campaign were some of the most enjoyable I’ve spent in Cambridge this year. The hours of work meant I was free to relax during the day, giving me a chance to appreciate Cambridge without worrying about all the pressures of term. By the time the rest of the undergraduates came up I was very comfortably settled in, having formed close ties to my comrades in the call room. I spoke to a wealth of interesting characters amongst the Pembroke alumni, and gained a lot of insight into my future career (as well as some amusing stories from years past). I would wholeheartedly recommend the campaign to any of my friends.” Simrun Basuita

“I found the Telephone Campaign a really enjoyable experience. It involved working only evenings and weekends, which was great because it meant having freedom in the day to prepare for term. It was great being back 2 weeks early to settle in- and accommodation and food was free for this period too. The match-up questionnaire that you do at the start of the 2 weeks means that you’re matched to people you share interests with, meaning there’s always something to spark off the conversation. I spoke to lots of genuinely interesting alumni, many of whom were more than happy to give me career advice as well as their contact details if they had a career I was interested in pursuing, so that I could contact them later for work experience etc. The job looks great on your CV as it shows a number of skills- effective communicating, teamwork, and building relationships. It was tough at times but a challenging job tends to be a more rewarding one, which was certainly the case here.” Ellie Gould

“I really enjoyed working on the Telephone Campaign. I was able to speak to people from a wide range of career paths and learned a lot from their experiences, as well as having fun reminiscing about college with them. The training and the calls themselves were also of tremendous help in developing my confidence on the phone, my ability to negotiate and build a rapport with people.” Julia Schulman

“I highly recommend the telephone campaign to any Pembroke students and would be back on the team in a shot if I wasn’t going abroad (and if they’d have me again). I have stayed in contact with several of the people that I spoke to and had a great number of very interesting conversations even if they did not always lead to a gift – including one with Bill Oddie! It felt great to sell something to people that I felt really passionately about and to make a difference to current and future students like me just by giving up a bit of time at the beginning of the year. It wasn’t always easy and is a steep learning curve, but I learnt a whole load of lessons for life and things about myself that I will take away with me onto my next job.” Isobel Gooder

“Participating in the TFC was a unique and very rewarding experience for me. I really enjoyed being able to talk to lots of Members of all ages and backgrounds, and I had a few fascinating and meaningful conversations that I won’t forget. I really appreciated being able to take my time talking to Members, and it was very interesting and inspiring to hear about what they have been up to since graduating from Pembroke, or what studying here was like, e.g. in the sixties. The team spirit among the callers was great too, and there were lots of games and treats to keep us motivated. I’d really recommend the job to anyone who would enjoy talking to Members and raising money for Pembroke.” Kathrin Göransson

“Despite its short duration, the Telephone Campaign was an experience that really changed my personal connection to Pembroke College and its Members. First of all, you learn more about how the College works behind the scenes and its rich history. Talking to Members of different ages and backgrounds also gives you an idea of how the College has changed over time and which parts of College life you don’t come in contact with. Although keeping conversations going and fundraising can be challenging at times, during this intense period of time you also bond with a great team of fellow callers who keep the morale high at all times. On top of the fun you have, the Telephone Campaign is extremely enriching and something that I would recommend for anyone to experience. You learn more about other people, understand your own strengths, and where you need to improve. Whether you’re a confident conversationalist or extremely shy, you will definitely gain something from the campaign and feel satisfied by the end.” Nine van Strydonck

“I had a fantastic time being a part of the TFC team, and I would thoroughly recommend others to apply. The job greatly improved my communication skills, as well as putting me in contact with alumni who offered invaluable advice about different opportunities and potential future career pathways. The job was as much about teamwork as one’s individual drive and I gained some great friends and great stories over the course of the two weeks.” Sajeed Ali

“I really enjoyed the Telephone Campaign! There was a good bunch of people, and the atmosphere in the room was really great. The hours were really good for settling back into College early, and I got to call lots of interesting people. I think my favourite aspect of the campaign (apart for everyone else that was there), was being able to experience the callers’ side of the conversation. I would thoroughly recommend it to people considering the job!” Audrey Lejeune

“I really enjoyed my time as a caller – the majority of Old Members loved being at Pembroke and were happy to talk about it! Not only did I have great conversations but I got some excellent career advice from Members who had done my course (and even a job offer). I absolutely recommend applying!”

“The best aspects of working on the Campaign were the strong team spirit and the chance to talk to Old Members from all different generations, who are leading varied and interesting lives and give extremely good career advice. We all felt a tremendous sense of achievement raising money for Pembroke.”

“The skills I picked up the telephone have been invaluable in renegotiating my contract with my future employer. Although I have yet to use them, I picked up a number of contacts that offered me work experience and received some useful insight in to future careers.”

“Working on the telephone campaign was a great chance to build up a picture of Pembroke in the past, and track how it changed throughout the generations, which is fascinating. I actually spoke to three people who had lived in the same room as me in first year. I was also able to pick up valuable careers advice, and one of the callees got in touch with me personally following the phone call, thanking me for the conversation.”

“I had just graduated when I participated in the 2012 TFC – so I found it very useful to speak to so many different Pembroke alumni, from actors to academics, who were usually very happy to provide advice about career paths. Also, I often use the skills I gained during the TFC – negotiation, communication, perseverance – in interviews and on CVs. Equally important in making the TFC a valuable experience was the definite sense of call room camaraderie and the plentiful supply of amusing anecdotes from alumni.”