More about Ben
"Having graduated from NTU in 2017, I spent a year working full-time but felt that I was lacking a distinct career direction. I had a burgeoning interest in international geopolitical events, inspired somewhat by certain events in 2016, and a friend of mine from undergrad had gone on to study the MA International Relations course at NTU after graduating. I asked what the course was like, they responded that it would be a perfect fit for me, and so it has proved. The course content is fascinating for anyone with an interest in global politics, and for me the prospect of coming back to NTU was also very attractive- I’m not sure I would have done an MA anywhere else."
"After graduating in June 2017 with a degree in Spanish and History, I was fortunate enough to secure an internship at a local law firm, which I managed to turn into a full-time job. At the same time, I was looking out for potential pathways into a career I felt would suit me, and came across NTU’s MA International Relations course. Things progressed quickly from there and I accepted my offer in December 2017, and continued to work at the firm until the following September, when I started my MA studies."
"I didn’t want to go anywhere other than NTU, as I do have very fond memories of my time spent here as an undergrad. As a result, moving back to Nottingham was not as disruptive as perhaps moving somewhere new might have been. NTU is a University with a lot to offer its students- city accommodation is a five-minute walk from the City Centre, its social spaces and leisure facilities are excellent, and Boots Library has any resource you need. It’s clear that NTU really cares about their students, and my previous four years here as a student certainly left a mark on me after I left the first time."
"Being an undergraduate alumnus, the incentive of a tuition fee discount is hard to pass up! As postgraduate students our lectures are on Wednesdays and Thursdays, giving us plenty of time for keeping up with the admittedly significant workload required at postgraduate level, whilst continuing to enjoy that work / life balance which is still important. The teaching expertise at the University, and particularly on this course, is considerable, and the positive feedback from a friend of mine who had started studying the course as I was thinking of applying simply confirmed the good feeling I had."
"It sounds obvious to say, but an interest in what you study is so important, particularly at this level as the workload is so demanding. I’ve said to my parents that even if I didn’t do the MA, foreign policy would still be a passion of mine as most of my free time is spent either reading political memoirs or listening to podcasts about international politics, so I have no problem finding that motivation. Obviously, that’s not all there is to it, but in my experience, it’s gone a long way to helping me put the hours in. It also helps taking time out from studying before you apply. I know this luxury isn’t available to everyone, but securing a graduate job gave me the space to do the necessary career planning I hadn’t done before graduating. I weighed up the pros and cons of postgraduate study and spent a lot of time to-ing and fro-ing until I committed to it. I wouldn’t have had that time if I were applying straight from undergrad, and I feel that helped me to appreciate just how big a commitment it was."
"The employability support for Politics and International Relations students is a really helpful resource when it comes to exploring how your degree will benefit you in the hunt for career opportunities. They constantly flag interesting events which are worth attending, or graduate schemes and internships at well-known public sector organisations to give you relevant work experience."
"As a postgrad you will get very familiar with the library! OneSearch is a brilliant resource for tracking down Journal Articles, which are essential for your coursework. Also, we postgrads get our own space in the library, which helps when people are cramming in deadline / exam season and inevitably no-one can find a seat! The SU is also a great space to get to know your course mates. Between classes we always spend our lunch hour having food or coffee together as a group. The International Food is always popular!"
"NOW is essential for any NTU student. All the information about your course, including assessments, is available on there. You can access module reading lists, the library’s online search system and your NTU emails. It also measures your overall course engagement so it’s worth using often. Lecturers and module leaders really do go the extra mile to ensure all the materials we need are available to us, so it’s only fair to repay that effort through familiarising yourself with all NOW’s ins and outs."
"It’s boring but I would say the grades I’ve obtained so far! I’m absolutely thrilled with how my studies have gone. After accepting my offer, I spent a lot of time agonising over whether I had made the right decision to return, which in hindsight I think helped me to appreciate the commitment I had made. This gave me the stimulus to put in the necessary effort and, so far, I’ve reaped the dividends of this. Fingers crossed I can keep it up!"
"Before starting my studies, I was convinced that I wanted to pursue a career related to foreign policy. The challenge for me was to find exactly which area that was, since IR is not a vocational degree- there are a number of places it can take you. Most of our cohort came to the course with similar ideas, whether that be working in the Civil Service, a think-tank or an NGO. I’m now looking into opportunities to work in intelligence, whether as part of a governmental department or a more private, consultancy-based role. This would allow me to use the skills acquired through working full time and my postgraduate studies. I wouldn’t say that this constitutes a ‘change’ per se, more fine-tuning my career plans."
"I’ve applied for a couple of graduate programmes for areas I’m interested in. My goal is to work in either public or private intelligence or the communications department of an NGO, such as UNAUK. I’ve also applied for a nine-month graduate internship at the Foreign Office, which would be a fantastic opportunity to not only impress people in the Civil Service, but also to expand my network to include people in and around Whitehall, as everyone around there knows each other."
"At first it was very strange being back, especially as I hadn’t considered postgraduate study as an option. Fortunately, NTU doesn’t treat its postgraduate community as an afterthought- there were plenty of postgraduate events on over welcome week to help break the ice and meet people in the same boat as you (I even met my girlfriend through one of the events!), and I’m fortunate to share accommodation with fellow postgrads, who have become great friends. So, I would certainly say it’s surpassed any expectations I had before returning!"