Katie Taylor

Country: United Kingdom
Sector: Government
Job title: Policy Advisor
Subject of study: History
Year of graduation: 2021
Type/Level of study: Undergraduate

Current Employer/Organisation Name

HM Treasury

What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?

When I left Exeter, I joined the Treasury’s graduate scheme (called the Graduate Development Programme). For my first rotation, I was based in the department’s Financial Services directorate. I’ve now moved into one of their tax directorates, where I work on VAT policy.

Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?

When I started university, I didn’t know what career I wanted to pursue. Increasingly, though, I heard that the civil service was a popular career path for humanities graduates. The more I looked into this career, the more I could see why; the research, analysis and writing skills you gain through a humanities degree are invaluable to a policy role in the civil service. One of the things that attracted me to a job in the civil service was the room for progression and development. For me, it was important to have a job that challenged me, where there was a clear career trajectory, and where the work I did had a tangible impact on society – and the civil service gives me just that. I also enjoy the variety and high-profile nature of the work I get to do.

Please tell us if you were a member of any societies, groups or sports clubs?

Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Sea Swimming, History Society.

Were you part of the Exeter Student Ambassador Scheme at any point during your studies?


What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?

I really enjoyed the variety of modules I got to study, and the fact that students were really encouraged to pursue their own research interests. I also found the course very intellectually stimulating, and as a result, very rewarding. I also really valued the small class sizes and personal nature of the teaching that’s able to be offered at the Penryn Campus.

Why did you choose to study at Exeter?

For me, studying at a reputable, research intensive university was important. It was a bonus that, at Exeter, I could do this at a beautiful campus in Cornwall that was able to offer a more personalised teaching experience.

What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?

Research, critical analysis, writing clearly & persuasively, presenting, team work, time management, political awareness.

What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?

On a practical level, to anyone looking to apply for one of the civil service graduate schemes, I’d recommend getting as much practice as possible at doing psychometric testing before applying, as there’s a bit of a knack to these sorts of tests. I’d also encourage you to get involved in societies, including getting experience of being on societies’ committees, and take up opportunities such as being an ESA or a peer mentor etc, as all these roles will provide you with tangible experiences that demonstrate your skills in interviews. If you’re not already, I’d also recommend trying to stay plugged in to what’s happening in the world, particularly politically, as well as following Government policies relating to areas you think you might be interested in working in.


Similar Alumni

Amelia Banton

HM Revenue and Customs. When I graduated I started HMRC’s training programme in London where I am currently in the Individual and Small Business Compliance team. The programme has an integrated degree so I spend two days a week studying and in tutorials and the other three days doing compliance casework.

Eilish Calnan

Cornwall Council. I have continued my career in the cultural sector, specifically in museums and heritage. I have worked with Cornwall Museums Partnership as a project officer and continued voluntary roles as a trustee at the Museum of Cornish Life and Kids in Museums.