BA History and Politics
How has your career developed since graduating?
I pursued my interest in politics to work for the Shadow Minister for Communities and Fire in the House of Commons in the months preceding the 2015 General Election and shortly after.
I then decided to apply my skills gained at UEA and experience in parliament in public affairs, beginning as an intern before entering my current position as an account executive at one of PR Week’s top 100 UK agencies.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your current role?
Working at an agency that specialises in planning and communications is rewarding as I believe I play a part in helping to relieve the country’s shortage of housing by securing planning permission for developments. It feels fantastic to think that I help to get much needed affordable homes built or a dilapidated shopping centre redeveloped.
What made you decide to study History and Politics at UEA?
I decided that a joint honours course would give me the opportunity to pursue my interest in both history and politics and the breadth of study would make me more attractive to employers. What helped tip the balance for me was the atmosphere around the campus whichmade me feel comfortable and that I would be happy there. The fantastic speeches given by lecturers at the open and applicant days also convinced me that the course would be really well taught and would give me the chance to study a wide range of exciting topics.
What did you enjoy most about your course?
Without a doubt, the aspect of my course I most enjoyed was the seminars. I felt incredibly lucky to analyse and discuss historical documents from Sir Edward Grey’s diplomatic correspondence to the Paston Letters. Also, seminar tutors always guided discussions well and provided expert comments.
What skills did you learn at UEA?
I consider strong written and verbal communication and research to be among the
most valuable skills I learned through my studies. I also had a strategic approach engrained into my thinking and was taught to have what a former tutor called “sharpened antennae”, to pick out the devil in the detail.
How do you use these skills in your current role?
A strategic approach is crucial to devising an effective stakeholder engagement plan and compelling key messages. I also rely on my ability to communicate effectively in writing and verbally to produce analysis reports, consult with clients and engage with stakeholders.
What sets you aside from you colleagues?
I always try to come up with new and innovative ideas and see details that others
How did careers central at UEA support you?
The friendly, one to one advice that I received from Careers Central enabled me to really convey my achievements and experience effectively in my CV and covering letters. Without the support of Careers Central I would not have secured an internship at a national newspaper and performed so well in interviews for graduate jobs.
Did you participate in any clubs or societies?
The societies at UEA gave me the opportunity to pursue my interest in journalism and politics and also develop the skills I would need to work well in parliament and PR.
I began as a comment writer on the student newspaper, Concrete, before becoming its News Editor at the end of my second year. Writing for Concrete allowed me to really hone my writing style and be a self-starter, going out finding exclusives and interviewing politicians such as the former MP and Secretary of State, Vince Cable.
Through the university’s Labour Society, I was able to work on local and general election campaigns in Norwich which provided a fantastic insight into how to run a winning campaign. I was also able to form valuable political connections and progress with my ambition to enter politics.
Would you recommend studying History and Politics at UEA?
I’m very proud to have gained a degree from UEA and I wholeheartedly recommend studying at the university, particularly for my course.