Sophia Monkman

Qualification & subject:
Undergraduate BA (Hons) Equine Business Management
Operations Executive at York Racecourse

What I do now

After four seasons at Thirsk Racecourse as Sales and Marketing Manager, I started at York Racecourse on March 2016 as their Operations Executive. This was a completely new role for me and something I had never done before.

I work closely with the police, City of York Council, St Johns Ambulance and our Health and Safety manager as these suppliers and stakeholders are all vital when putting on a race meeting. One of my main roles is managing all our raceday staff, of which there are more than 160.

I am also responsible for the course’s community engagement, which I thoroughly enjoy. This involved giving a tour of the racecourse to school children with Special Educational Needs and inviting retired stable staff for a coffee morning and showing them our new Weighing Room. Soon, all of our staff are volunteering for the day at a pond near the racecourse, which is part of a local council-led community project. I love the variety in the job!

Why I chose Hartpury University

At first I wanted to be a presenter, but getting into that isn’t easy. I was at Badminton and I saw that at Hartpury University, I could focus on the equine business side. From then on, I always knew it was going to be Hartpury. I had a ball at Hartpury and made lifelong friends.  I wanted to work in racing industry and Cheltenham was only down the road.

During the second year I started doing marketing and really enjoyed studying these modules. I realised that’s what I wanted to get into. It was doing marketing in my second year that led me to do my sandwich year placement at York. They had a large fashion event and I was able to drive that project. It was a fantastic experience. It was through my placement that I was offered a job after graduation. I was marketing assistant at York and I learnt a lot and gained some really valuable experiences. Delivering good racing is what is important to me and it doesn’t always feel like work.

Advice for people wanting to work in the industry

I had to approach many different places and work really hard to get to where I am now. You have to have a fantastic CV and personal statement. I applied to 12 different places for my placement and used 12 different statements. I am always adapting my CV.

I would advise people to always write a letter, instead of an email, and send it to the most senior person. You should always chase up letters if you haven’t heard from them and show them how passionate you are.