Pauline Houston

Head of Partnerships at TedxGlasgow
BA (Hons) in Business Studies


‌Pauline has had a rich and varied career which has seen her working with refugees in Malaysia and leading consultancy projects in the Middle East and North Africa. Now, she is head of partnerships for TedxGlasgow. We found out more about her time at Glasgow Caledonian University when she was a Business Studies student. 

What are your favourite memories from GCU? 

I made three girlfriends that have been with me my whole life. They've all done completely and utterly different things to me, but they were amazing. Also, a fabulous guy was my dissertation mentor, called Ted Smeale. He was so lovely because I didn't have a clue about the dissertation, not a clue. He could not have been more helpful so he's probably my best memory. 

Why did you choose your specific course? 

The big attraction was the industrial placement year. During the business studies course at the time, you had to do a year out. I thought that was an edge at the time, because universities were usually straight academia, whereas here you could do academia and an experience. I felt that when I left, I would have a year's work experience, plus a degree. That was a bit unique. 

So how does your degree help you in your career today? 

Now probably less so, but it's the backbone of everything that you do so a business studies degree, in particular, gives you a real foundation for life in the industry or business or whatever avenue you choose to do. It's business studies and it’s fundamentally based on economics and labour studies and finance and law. They're all things that are good skills anyway. It's not obvious to you, but it's seeped into the fibre of your being and way of thinking. 

What was your favourite part of the course? 

I loved the placement, but absolutely hated accounts with a passion. I had an absolutely fantastic law professor, Jennifer Ross who was an inspiration beyond inspiration. I loved law and I really loved economics. 

What has been your proudest professional achievement so far? 

The proudest achievement goes way back to the work I did with refugee children in Malaysia. Also, the stuff I'm doing now with Tedx and at the core of that is what I learned here. This university teaches you the ground up and not top down. There's a network here that kind of gives you a root and a branch network that steers you through. So I will say the best thing I had ever done in my life was the work that I did with refugee children and the work that I'm doing now with TedxGlasgow bringing ideas that are worth doing to Glasgow on a free basis for people to learn online.

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