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Luke

Smith

United Kingdom
I enjoyed reading deeply into singular theoretical issues and then applying them in group seminar discussions.

More about Luke

Graduated: 2018

Job title: Communications intern at Oakhill Communications

How has your career progressed since graduation?
"Since graduating in summer 2018, I worked in my local M&S store in Wales before securing an Internship with Oakhill Communications, a Political Communications company in London."

How did you find getting your first job?
"This was a progression from a previous internship I undertook with the same company during the summer. They were pleased with the work which I produced and asked me to return. Thanks to this work experience, I know I would like to pursue a career in the political domain. The joint venture between Oakhill and NTU provided this chance has made a positive real impact my future motivations and inspired a renewed confidence to continue to work hard and improve.

Did the support offered at NTU help you?
"It did. The original internship was secured through the course team. They advertised it internally and I had several interviews before securing a week-long internship in my third year with the same company. That is what led to this internship today."

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced since graduating?
"Adjusting to the change in lifestyle, finding direction and prioritising what is important. It is strange to return home when you feel accomplished from graduation, to then adjust to living with your parents again. It can be frustrating and disheartening at times. Seeing friends has been important in this regard but I find it useful to keep perspective; I don’t think I’m going to buy a house anytime soon so I’m grateful to them for the support they’ve consistently given me.

What does your current role involve?
"I work as part of a team which advises leading companies across a range of sectors. The company creates business-aligned public affairs strategies which encompass several services; policy research; delivering briefings to business leaders; advising on corporate narratives and messaging; writing and content production; issue management, and strategic communications and campaigning.

"Each morning I'll read the newspapers and my news subscription bulletins, scan twitter, check the parliamentary schedule and respond to emails. My daily responsibilities vary depending on client requirements. My main role is to conduct research reports, monitor media and parliamentary developments and to organise client events. I also undertake a range of administrative tasks to assist with the smooth running of the office.

What have been the highlights of your career so far?
"There are two, co-writing a research report for a major company, and helping to organise and then attend a client event which took place in the House of Commons. I’ve enjoyed the diverse range of clients which provides for different domains of research throughout the day.

Why did you choose your course and what did you enjoy most about it?
"There are many aspects of international relations which gave me wide exposure to a breadth of issues. The ability to read across philosophy, history, law, human rights, conflict, international relations theory and sociology in one course was such fun. I don't think this can be found with any other course. The course is rigorous and intellectually satisfying. I enjoyed reading deeply into singular theoretical issues and then applying them in group seminar discussions.

Do you have any advice to share with new graduates or other alumni?

  1. "Take responsibility for your professional trajectory. Ask yourself what you could be doing better, but for whatever reasons are not. Then, write it down on a list and start it today. Overcome inertia and get into a rhythm.
  2. Manage expectations after graduation and remain pragmatic. Completing University leaves you on a high, but it doesn’t always equate with instant high paid employment. When it comes to entering the world of work, you may find yourself at the bottom of the ladder, but it should not be disheartening. Instead it should be empowering that there are opportunities ahead. Experience is a valuable currency; making contacts and asking questions during voluntary work or low paid work in the industry of your choice will be more valuable later down the line. At least I hope so! I’m working on that currently but I’m not seeing any reason not to succeed so far.
  3. Enjoy the present, make time for fun, and stay in touch with new and old friends."
  4. While at University, if you do not do more than simply study and party, then you will regret it. Join a sports team, a society or volunteer. When sometimes you may feel carried along by the patterns of attending lectures, studying, and measuring yourself by results or social standards, it will give you purpose and self-belief. University is the only time in your life where you will have this much freedom, unearned money, stimulation and opportunity.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418
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