Undergraduate Degree: Master of Policy Studies
Current Position: Manager - Social Media Advisory, KPMG
1. What attracted you to studying Arts & Social Sciences at UNSW?
I’d always respected UNSW throughout my undergraduate degree and before, and the development of the course around Policy Studies was a natural and more applied progression from my undergraduate degree in Political Science and Media. The evening courses allowed me to get in a day’s work, which demonstrated an understanding this was all part of an ongoing professional journey.
2. Did you always have a clear idea of what you wanted to do after completing your degree?
No, not really – I had a great interest in thinking about how society moves and flows and how that impacts the fortunes and outcomes of people. This includes an appreciation for what sits beneath media, argument and public policy. I just hoped that the degree would place me in better stead to excel in a related field, which it did.
I think it’s important that we take opportunities in our career and not endure a paralysis about change or commitment because we aren’t 100% certain what we want down the line.
3. How did your time at UNSW help shape who you are today?
My time at UNSW put me under pressure. I’d always considered myself a fairly good speaker, researcher and writer – but there were some brilliantly experienced and quirky professors and lecturers who demanded effort and hard work. UNSW prepared me professionally, and instilled important values like thorough research, completeness and transparency about data, writing and presenting in contested areas, and getting work done on time!
4. How did studying Arts & Social Sciences at UNSW help you develop transferable skills?
So much of the modern workplace is in these intangible skill sets. Clients and the business community are not only looking for adept technicians, they are looking for lateral thinkers, clear communicators and people who can champion a case for change and compel stakeholders to buy-in. My UNSW course was acutely aware of this, and structured assignments that would grow our confidence and stature in argument.
5. How did studying Arts & Social Sciences at UNSW help form your view on the world and the contemporary issues we face today?
A good Arts course should mature a student’s view contemporary issues, it should make you consider competing viewpoints for their merit and to provide nuanced reactions to those, which are grounded in broader contests of ideas, the “culture wars”, and generally reading between the lines. UNSW helped me become more grounded in how engaged with ideas, and worked against movement towards more extreme views and styles.
6. How did UNSW Arts & Social Sciences help prepare you for the workforce throughout your degree?
UNSW is often regarded for its practical application to workplaces. UNSW insisted on, and facilitated, internships as part of the assessment program, gave assignments that proved highly similar and relevant to normal business challenges. The course also brought together some guest lecturers and there were a good number of students with extensive professional experience, and their perspectives were also valuable to hear.
In my current role as a social and online data specialist, I have applied concepts I’ve learned through that course to a new data set. Key frameworks around international relations, data analysis, media management, constructing fair surveys, and how politicians respond to debate and advocacy are all concepts explored deeply in the course that I leverage on a daily basis at work.
7. How did you get your foot in the door as a graduate, following the completion of your degree?
I wouldn’t say there was a single moment. The modern landscape for young professionals is a robust place, and it helps to think of University and study as already part of your career. My professional journey has been an unbroken line of upskilling, varied internships and campus activities like University publications, student council, sport and arts at university, into gradually increasing work-commitments into a full-time professional career.
8. What advice would you give to someone considering studying Arts at UNSW?
Just to consider that with changes to the economy, some of the most secure career paths will be navigating through issues, debate and politics, things that can’t conceivably be automated; certainly not in our lifetimes. UNSW is a fine institution, internationally respected, and with a pragmatic Arts faculty.
9. What is your most memorable experience from your time at UNSW?
I have really very strong memories of some of the group assignments working alongside some really sharp and driven people. A good group of my Masters cohort remain strong personal friends, and a healthy circle of professional connections. Working in close quarters brings people together, and is a more exact emulation of the workplace.
10. Why do you Love What You Do?
I love what I do because my role allows me to contend with a number of related passions including technology, data, politics, policy, and media, all in the context of a leading organization with access to top of Corporate Australia and Government. Like my time at UNSW, my colleagues inspire me to be the best I can.