Current Employer/Organisation Name
Department for International Development, British Embassy Beijing
What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?
After leaving Exeter I took intensive Mandarin courses for a year at Peking University. I then interned in London with the China-Britain Business Council, Chatham House, and the United Nations Association. Following that, I took a summer job offered by the Home Office for Chinese language students to work at the British Embassy in Beijing. This led to a Foreign Office role as a Political Officer at the Embassy. After 1.5 years in that role, I was promoted internally to cover a one year slot as Head of Multilateral Trade Policy. I was then fortunate enough to be promoted again, into a newly created position: Partnerships Adviser & Programme Manager in the Department for International Development.
Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?
I did my exchange year at the University of Hong Kong and studied in Exeter’s Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies – both of which helped pull me in this broad geographical direction! I don’t think there was a moment where I ever ‘chose’ this career. It just seemed to gradually unfold… I have thoroughly enjoyed the (limited!) work experience I have gained to date. The public sector has such a broad range of jobs, both generalist and specialist, that you could never get bored. The work is interesting and busy, whilst also allowing a healthy work-life balance.
What did you enjoy most about studying here?
The campus, of course!
Why did you choose to study at Exeter?
Good reputation. Geographical location. Cream tea?
What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?
Flexibility and willingness to try new tasks. Applying for opportunities outside of my comfort zone. Saying yes. Language skills.
What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?
Be persistent in your applications. Don’t underestimate the importance of language skills (and, unfortunately, of getting the formal qualifications to prove them on a CV!)
What are your plans for the future?
To get a masters degree in the field of economics or development. That’s the furthest away I’ve planned yet!