Why did you choose Cardiff University as a place to study?
Cardiff has a great reputation both academically and in terms of social life. Personally - I really wanted a balance as a student – to have great teaching and a great time, and Cardiff delivered on both fronts.
What was the best thing about your time as a student at Cardiff?
Without a doubt the friends that I made while there. The best friends I have I made at uni – I’m off to a wedding in a couple of weeks where two of my uni friends are getting married (which makes me feel old!) and the week after I’m going to Morocco with some old coursemates. Barely a day has gone by in the last 18 months where I haven’t seen or talked to or at least texted one of the friends I made at uni!
What thing or person inspired you most whilst you were a Cardiff University student?
While I was in third year, I spent Thursday evenings volunteering on a social outreach project with secondary school kids in St. Mellons, a very deprived social housing estate on the edge of Cardiff. The couple who ran the project had essentially given up their comfortable lives in Reading to move there to help – and I struggle to think of any people I have met who have been more determined and more dedicated in my life. I think it’s easy these days to forget what 100% commitment to something really means – but those two embodied it and through working with them and with kids who had so few opportunities in life made me really focus on making the most of what I had, particularly in terms of education, and appreciating it.
What one thing would you tell someone else about the School of Planning and Geography at Cardiff?
I’d say it has a good reputation and has some top lecturers – and if this is the field you are interested in then you definitely won’t regret your choice. While I don’t work in a job directly related to my degree – I regularly draw upon a lot of the things I learnt, and a lot of the topics that we studied while I was at uni were absolutely fascinating and really furthered the passion for Geography I already had when I started my degree.
How did your degree most help you in the career or job you have now chosen?
I think the two most important things I learnt in my degree were to ‘think big’ and to critically analyse. While these might seem like simple things – they are actually surprisingly difficult to do – it’s easy to stop seeing the wood for the trees sometimes. For myself, these two skills which I learnt and honed through the lectures and work that I carried have been invaluable to me in my working life.
Tell us a bit about your current job, how you got into what you are doing and what you enjoy about it most.
I work as a management consultant for Deloitte, one of the largest professional services firms in the world, based in the city of London. I joined as a graduate straight after uni – and have been there 18 months now. It’s a great job in a really fast paced environment and I’ve worked with and advised employees of some of the top firms in the country. The thing I most enjoy about working there is the variety – one week I’m in Soho, the next week I’m in Madrid, the next week I’m in Canary Wharf – and the work is engaging and challenging so there’s never a dull moment!
What opportunities do you feel have opened up to you as a result of being a student at the Cardiff School of Planning and Geography?
I don’t think any opportunities directly have – but that’s more because I have chosen to work outside the field of study. I know for those who studied straight planning they have gone onto some top jobs in planning that they were helped to find by the uni, and without the strong reputation the school has, they wouldn’t be where they are now.
Tell us any interesting facts about yourself, hobbies or interests that you have.
While this is probably not really answering the question – but I was out in Brussels last week for work, and went for dinner with one of my former Geography and Planning coursemates who works at the European Parliament. When I started the course 4 and a half years ago….I definitely did not think I’d be doing that now!