Sophie Stutzinger, alumna, MSc Food Safety and Control
Sophie came to LSBU to study MSc Food Safety and Control as she was attracted by the partnership offered by LSBU and two European universities, ENSAIA France and UPV Spain. London too was also a big 'pull' factor. It has some of the best food in the world on offer and is rightly considered a hotspot for foodies.
As the MSc is an international collaboration, it's a chance for students from all over the world who share a passion for food to come together, especially as it's a professionally focused specific degree. The knowledge Sophie gained on her degree has launched her career. "It gave me the knowledge of what's going on in the European food industry," she says. "I learnt the appropriate skills with the right balance of theory and practice."
Sophie's course highlight was definitely the work placement, where all her learning fell into place. "Sometimes I couldn't necessarily see why I had to learn so much terminology, but once I was in the factory I quickly understood that everything is of use and worth knowing," she says. "I worked for a famous importer-exporter of Asian foods and I had the chance to see how food safety was seen in different countries in the world. This placement just made it easy to put all my learning into perspective and applicable to any future job in the industry."
The placement was the best opportunity of my life. After all, I am where I am because of the succession of experiences this degree generated.
There's fierce competition for top food safety jobs the reputation of the course at LSBU worked in Sophie's favour and employers actually came to her, She then started her career with supermarket giant Tesco as a Food Technologist. She worked in several departments and then as Product Development Manager for dairy products, specifically milk and cheeses. Overseeing new product development gave her the opportunity to travel to source new products. "You grow with every trip and see things no one else will ever see," she says. "You meet people who want to share their knowledge, their passion and their culture."
I've seen how my favourite kids' product is made, visited the century-old cheese caves of Parmiggiano Reggiano, and seen cows giving birth; all of it is amazing and makes you feel very privileged.
Working in Australia
Sophie has recently relocated to Australia to work for Coles, one of the top 25 food retailers in the world. She's responsible for factory audits and ensuring food is prepared in the safest way possible. "I've developed great people skills and become an expert in what makes good food," she enthuses, "I get to learn the secrets in recipes and get stuck in and do it all; you should see me in the kitchen now!"
Sophie's passion (she is "200% passionate", she says) is clear, and she can see the relevance of her degree in her daily work. "The degree taught me how to be responsible and take the right decisions," she says. "Teachers were great at using facts from the industry, and my degree has driven my passion and developed my common sense and critical thinking." In the next five years Sophie hopes to work for herself and as a 'true foodie' she's keen to work in spotting food trends and exploring the history and culture surrounding food in different countries across the world.