Spoiler alert – it all turns out well in the end!
When I started my Marketing degree Cardiff University, I was so thrilled to get into my preferred university that I didn’t give much thought to the dissertation I’d need to hand in at the end of the four-year course.
I knew some friends at Cardiff had already done a lot of research on the finish that would match their course specification, and many based their choice of printer on reviews by people they knew, praising the quality and speed of turnaround.
There was definitely a lot of dissertation printing talk, and I’d heard that the Mail Boxes Etc. store in Cardiff – which is just along the road from the campus – offered great quality.
I still wasn’t really that concerned, though – I was certain none of the horror stories would apply to me and anyway, surely all that was a long way off? But the years go by so fast, and before I knew it, I was working hard on my own dissertation.
The deadline was looming – in fact it was just a couple of weeks away – and I hadn’t quite finished editing it.
Then one of my friends said she’d had a shock when she took hers to the university’s print room: they were snowed under, a machine was down, and they couldn’t guarantee to meet her deadline.
That’s when I was suddenly grateful to all those friends who’d done their research. I knew Mail Boxes Etc. in Cardiff was a favourite of many of the people on my course, so I popped in to see what they could do for me. I wasn’t sure they would really understand how desperate I felt and didn’t know how far I could trust them to create what I wanted – but I needn’t have worried.
All the staff were very helpful – I was shown examples of the binding options available, including comb, wire and coil, fastback or hardback, with gold or silver leaf lettering and other finishing touches. There was a choice of paper quality, font styles and layouts too. They also told me the most popular option for the other students on my course.
I was still pretty flustered, but I started to calm down once I saw how experienced they were. The lady who helped me looked up all the specifications for my course, and we agreed together on the right format and finish. Then came the crucial question – could they do it in time? The answer – thank goodness! – was ‘yes’. Not only did they print and bind it in double-quick time, but because the store is so close to the university, I didn’t have to go out of my way to collect it.
Although that was only two years ago, I had no idea that I’d actually end up working in the marketing department at MBE’s head office. But it’s great that I can vouch for their dissertation service that’s offered by more than 150 locations around the country – there’s an MBE close to most of the UK’s universities. It’s also good to know that they offer postal and courier services too, so if the worst comes to the worst, you can have your dissertation delivered straight to your tutor’s door.
So what advice would I give to other students about to tackle their dissertations? Do your research: talk to your friends and the other students on your course to see what they’re doing, and get some recommendations; have a back-up plan; work with a printer you can trust – one that is experienced in providing dissertation printing for your university. And try not to leave it till the last minute!