Programme: Geochemistry

Graduation: 1995

Employment: Policy Adviser at Shell

"The most important degree skills that I took away were the ability to analyse information and be able to communicate effectively."

My work

“I didn't have any strong views on my career whilst at university and decided to move to London after finishing my studies.  I knew I liked science and I was also a people person, so I wanted to work in an environment that combined both. 

“I worked for a variety of companies in the energy industry, and each position developed different skills and enabled me to gain new experience.  I mostly progressed through the networks that I made from the projects I worked on; taking time to get to know people is important. Also important was putting the hours in until I really understood the issues and being organised.

“In my current role I develop, at a high level, Shell’s climate and energy policy through working with both internal and external stakeholders.

“I enjoy the variety on a daily basis; from briefing senior management on emerging policy issues, meeting key influencers, hosting visitors from governments, speaking to academics to understand their latest thinking, analysing a policy concept from a business perspective, or sitting in a quiet room and writing a paper.

My course made a difference

“The degree course combined my love of science, mountains, and maps.  I most enjoyed crystallography and the mineralogy practical exercises and went on to do a PhD in Mineral Science.  I found it very interesting to explore different ways to explain what is observed in nature. At the University, I also met really intelligent, driven and fun people and true life friends. I can say that as we are still in contact 20 years later.

“The most important degree skills that I took away were the ability to analyse information and be able to communicate effectively.  Being able to juggle a variety of tasks and prioritise is really important.  Also the ability to understand the science behind the issues or the businesses processes is a bonus that people don’t always expect.

“I really enjoyed university and it taught me a lot about how to organise my time and being able to plan my work and also the type of work I enjoyed doing.  I think I would describe it as high-energy to combine everything I wanted to do for my course, also enjoy other activities and living in central Manchester.  Sometime I didn’t always pull it off!

“My advice would be to gain some work experience and think about what type of career you might enjoy.  Do you want to travel the world or do you have a preferred placed to live? What sort of work environment would you prefer, such as offshore or office?”

“The MSc course went into more detail about a smaller range of topics, so your knowledge becomes really embedded.  I chose to do my thesis with lab work, which required commitment for the late night equipment cleaning sessions, but it felt like a great achievement to complete it successfully. Having an MSc undoubtedly helped me to get a graduate job in a competitive market.

“Finally, if you choose to go to university, make the most of it!  You will be well supported, and there are so many activities and resources at your fingertips, so don’t be afraid to try everything!”

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