Stuart Boyce

MChem Chemistry 2019

Your Time at the University

I have always been a “see what you want and go and get it” kind of guy. When I first visited Edinburgh for an open day I knew immediately it was where I wanted to study. I had already settled on chemistry to study, as it was my favourite subject at school and I knew even if I didn’t end up in the chemical industry that the skills developed during a chemistry degree would be invaluable. The opportunities advertised at Edinburgh, the city itself and the way student life was conveyed made it an easy decision.

I can associate brilliant memories with each of my five years at University and the friends I made throughout are among my closest today. Taking every chance I got to make the experience as good as it could be – whether that be as simple as enjoying every social night out on offer (perhaps a little too often), embracing the role of Chemistry Society president - breathing new life into the oldest student chemistry society in the world – or taking part in a Summer research exchange to Tianjin, China. Studying at Edinburgh, and in particular the School of Chemistry, opened so many doors and gave me so many experiences that I likely wouldn’t have had elsewhere. My final year in Munich was one of the best experiences I’ve had, especially after studying German for my entire school career – who wouldn’t want to spend their free time enjoying Oktoberfest and authentic Christmas markets to name only some of the amazing opportunities available.

Stuart Boyce

Our cohort year were very social and everyone knew everyone and more importantly, was able to get along. This made the years of intense studying, long nights of lab write-ups and constant 9am lectures much more enjoyable. The community spirit within the School of Chemistry is probably unmatched across the university but the diversity of people you meet and the connections you form throughout the entire university network are priceless.

University really is when you become who you are as an adult, away from home and surrounded by new people. I’ll always be grateful that for me, it was studying chemistry at Edinburgh.

Your Experiences Since Leaving the University

Between my fourth and fifth year I completed a summer internship at P&G’s innovation centre in Newcastle working on technology development for laundry products. When I left I had a strong desire to return but was also keen to experience academic research, which was why I chose to do my fifth year abroad in Munich, developing novel 3d-4f complexes. During this year, as with most final year students, I debated between the options of going into industry or completing a PhD. I had loved my final year project, the work was even published which was always a nice boost. However, for me, and it is different for everybody, the right decision was definitely to go into industry and P&G was exactly where I wanted to go.

I was offered a position back at P&G in Newcastle in the October following graduation - a relief given the ongoing pandemic and apparent industry wide lack of roles. Having a Masters degree puts you on the “management entry level” within P&G which means you get a lot of responsibility from day one, and the knowledge and skills gained from a Chemistry degree at Edinburgh were (and continue to be) key drivers for ongoing success. I work in Product Design and Development for P&G’s Professional department; wherein my daily role includes developing new technologies and designing the formulations for well-known laundry brands to be used in professional environments such as care homes, restaurants and hotels. But the brilliant thing about P&G is that this is only part of my role. I also co-lead the intern program for our site, I work on digital innovation and focus on sustainability options for our products. I have never had a day where I thought “I don’t want to do this job today” which is a testament to how enjoyable and rewarding the role really is.

Alumni Wisdom

University isn’t all about getting the top grades. The best decision I made in my first year was that I wanted to make the most of everything and seize every opportunity. Of course, that includes studying and performing to the best of your ability academically, but don’t be so focussed on getting the best grades that you forget to enjoy the rest of what’s on offer. After all, which version of university would you look back on more fondly? Getting the top grade in your class while sacrificing a social life…or still achieving an incredible degree (70 or 100, it’s still a 1st after all) and having countless stories, friends, experiences, and memories to remember?