BA International Relations and Politics
How has your career developed since graduating?
When I first graduated some of the tasks I had were very basic, some were tedious,
but through completing these effectively, I was able to build trust with colleagues,
progress to more complex tasks and gain a better understanding of how tasks fit together.
Now, two years after graduating I am responsible for huge pieces of work, large presentations and representing the company, something I could not do without putting in the hard work earlier on in my career. Keep plugging away at the basic things, it’s invaluable.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your current role?
Being responsible for engaging suppliers and ensuring best value for the largest construction project in Europe. The task is daunting, and the work is hard but I know in ten year’s time, transport in the UK will be changed forever due to the work that I am doing now.
Why did you choose to study International Relations and Politics?
I always had an interest in military power, its role in the Cold War, and how power is displayed in the modern world. When reading prospectus’ it became clear that International Relations covered everything I wanted to study. Once I visited UEA I knew I wanted to study there, it was a match made in heaven!
What skills did you learn at UEA?
How to effectively read and analyse the content of texts, has proved invaluable, as a lot of my role involves analysing written responses to detailed procurement strategies and technical information. How to get information across succinctly in reports is also key. I need to ensure that feedback is coherently stated and we can make informed decisions. Writing essays, reports or briefing papers throughout university was fantastic practice for this, and something that all employers will expect.
How to present effectively has been another valuable skill. I often have to present to CEOs, internal clients, MPs, and suppliers of all types and sizes, so having the confidence to present coherently is brilliant. Seminar presentations at university provided the perfect place to practice and improve this skill.
What sets you aside from you colleagues?
By undertaking internships and networking, I have progressed my career significantly quicker and am now in a position with significant responsibility, which is a challenge, but I enjoy proving myself and surprising others.
Did you undertake any work experience during your studies?
I undertook a month long internship in the East of England Regional European Office in Brussels. This was invaluable for me to learn how to work in a business environment, and apply skills I learnt in the workplace such as analysing high volumes of text, writing reports and effectively networking.
Through networking, I was able to secure an internship at TfL (Transport for London) working on a construction project. It was this experience that exposed me to the construction/infrastructure sector and a wealth of job opportunities that matched my skillset. I secured a job after university and continued networking until my mentor recommended I apply for HS2. The rest is history.
Did you participate in any clubs or societies at UEA?
I was the principal trumpet for the UEA Symphony Orchestra and being a musician and playing in ensembles both big and small has allowed me to develop a strong team work ethic, as well as understanding how my part fits into the big picture – very useful in a project based role.
Would you recommend studying International Relations and Politics at UEA to others?
Absolutely, it allowed me to study areas I knew was interested in, and discover so much more about the world and complicated relationships. The skills I learnt at UEA have allowed me to flourish in the world of work.
People often presume that by studying Politics the only job available is a Politician or working in an NGO. Not at all, studying Politics gave me the skills to develop a career in an industry one step removed from this, and understand how transferable skills such as report writing, presentation skills are that, transferable. How many people get to say they have built a railway with a degree in International Relation and Politics!