Laura McNally

Meet Laura McNally who has turned her passion for the environment into a career. Since graduating in 2005, she has excelled in her career and is currently an Area Visitor Services Manager at Forestry and Land Scotland

Read more stories BSc (Hons) Geography
Current job roleArea Visitor Services Manager at Forestry and Land Scotland
Year of graduation2005
Course of studyBSc (Hons) Geography and Geology
Laura McNally

Laura did not know what she wanted to do after graduating or what career she would end up in. Her studies led her towards a career in sustainability and she is currently an Area Visitor Services Manager at Forestry and Land Scotland.

Her role involves a variety of responsibilities including the management of and improvement to the visitor offer at Forestry and Land Scotland sites around Strathspey (northern Cairngorms), south shore of Loch Ness and Inverness including the Black Isle. She deals with a variety of local stakeholders to ensure that all are involved in the successful management of the sites.

Laura remains passionate about sustainability and has recently begun studying for an MBA alongside her job. Her final project is entitled  ‘Visitor management and adaptation in a climate emergency’.

When talking about sustainability Laura has some very clear advice for individuals and business alike, 'In sustainability, be open and honest. There are contradictions and compromise everywhere (e.g. between plastic reduction and carbon footprint, between electric cars and their lithium batteries).

Be clear about your or your company's priorities and be open if you have to make compromises to achieve that but seek ways to minimise those compromises.'

Real-world application

Laura says her time at the University has been hugely useful in her professional career. She says, 'The geographic information system (GIS) element of the course was particular useful as both a GIS Manager and in the Royal Air Force which placed heavy use on remote sensing. I also took a placement year at a local authority who offered me a part time position throughout my final year and a permanent role upon leaving.'

She says she had a lot of flexibility in her studies and the University offered many opportunities to combine her personal interests and professional goals. Placement years are a fantastic aspect of study that gives students invaluable practical experience in the professional world which often leads to employment and fruitful careers.

Laura adds, 'The placement opportunity helped me figure out how my interests could fit into a job and set me up for my career.' She also says the flexible module structure on her degree helped her increase her employability by tailoring her degree to match her career goals.