Mezzo soprano is career chameleon

harriet-kirkHitting the high notes as a professional opera singer is a far cry from one alumna's first job as an auditor at a big four professional services firm.

Harriet Kirk (BA Music and Italian, 2006) now combines her passion for opera singing with working part-time in higher education.

After leaving Birmingham, Harriet joined financial services firm Deloitte on the Graduate Scheme because she wanted a well-paid job with good opportunities.

'The job wasn't for me but I will never regret taking it because, without it, I wouldn't be where I am today,' she says.

After a year working in the audit department, Harriet moved into graduate recruitment. She also rediscovered her love of singing by joining the Holst Singers, a semi-professional choir in London.

It was only when she won a place to study for a Master's at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama that she decided to leave the corporate world behind her and pursue her dream.

Since graduating from the Guildhall, Harriet has completed the acclaimed Opera Works training programme at the English National Opera, appeared in the chorus for Opera Holland Park and is now auditioning for roles at Glyndebourne and the National Opera Studio.

She still utilises her experience in recruitment; working part-time as a Placement Officer for Henley Business School has helped her fund further studies and specialist singing courses.

So what is Harriet's advice to other Birmingham alumni considering a dramatic change in career?

'Trust your instincts and go for it. It may be a bumpy ride but if you want to do something, believe in yourself and others will believe in you,' she says.

If like Harriet, you have had a dramatic career change, please let us know and join our LinkedIn career change discussion.