Senior Account Executive, Copper Consultancy
International Relations B.A (Undergraduate) 2016, International Relations (Diplomacy) M.A. (Postgraduate) 2018
Birmingham’s reputation for excellence in POLSIS stood out in a crowded field, instantly putting it ahead of the competition. The University gave me the opportunity to study on the same campus that the likes of Neville Chamberlain and Stanley Baldwin had attended - for someone with an interest in politics, this was quite the draw. But ultimately, as I’m from London, I wanted a university that allowed me to continue living in a major city, while having the space and greenery afforded by the university campus. To have access to Winterbourne House and Gardens, The Vale and Cannon Hill Park all on the doorstep were a significant bonus.
What was your favourite spot on campus or in Birmingham?
Campus is full of hidden spots and spaces. Aside from Muirhead Tower (arguably the architectural gem of the campus), the Costa in The Guild was a go-to space of mine. I wrote many of my essays (and a significant portion of my undergraduate dissertation) in there. The atmosphere was a constant reminder that we’re all in the same boat, striving to meet deadlines, tackling questions about our career choices and ultimately just trying to succeed. Birmingham city centre is awash with fantastic independent coffee shops. Urban Coffee Company on Church Street is a great place to work. If you’re looking for something a little different, try Tilt - this hidden gem combines an extensive pinball table collection with quite the variety of tea, coffee...and beer.
Tell us about your career journey from Birmingham student to where you are today.
In 2016, I graduated with no firm ideas about the direction my career was going to take or what role I’d take up now that university was coming to an end. We hear so often how important it is to get yourself a graduate position before deadlines close and to rush into a job. I disagreed. I needed time to step back and think about my next steps. You’ve just had three years of direction in the form of deadlines, lectures and seminars - no one will blame you if you need time to think. With no firm ideas and a need for a different experience, I moved to Madrid to au pair. It was here (and living with a politically-minded family) that I decided to apply for a postgraduate course in diplomacy at the University of Birmingham. Fast-forward to September 2017 and I’d started my course. By December 2017 I was in regular contact with the Careers Network about my next steps - several discussions later and I was applying for roles in Public Relations. I landed a role with WPR in Birmingham - to complete my dissertation and secure the position I had to work full time and work on the dissertation in the evenings. My time here saw me work alongside the likes of The Chartered Quality Institute, Worcester Bosch, and Spirax Sarco, as well as undertaking the PR for WPR. With my head now firmly into agency life I began exploring my options and opted to move to another agency - Camargue - to work with specialist infrastructure and construction clients. My time here was short - eight months - I resigned. I resigned because I did not feel that the culture was right for me - this is hugely important for anyone taking up a role at a business. If the culture isn’t what you were looking for, then consider your options. I’m now at Copper Consultancy and I feel I’ve struck gold - the culture fits perfectly with what I sought and the client base is precisely what I was looking for when I left WPR. No one will judge you for exploring your options - if anything, they’ll applaud you for taking a risk and putting your wellbeing first.
What has been the most extraordinary or memorable day on the job?
In September 2018, after having worked at WPR for just two months, I helped to launch a national campaign for a client - The Chartered Quality Institute. We launched a report: Technology on Trial to a national audience. I’d helped to draft the report and now we were launching it. On launch day, we arrived at the office at 06:00 and had launched the report by 07:00. We secured coverage in The Sun and opened conversations with BBC News. Securing coverage for a press release you drafted on a report you helped to compile in a national paper is a memorable day. Following the launch of the report, we went on to secure coverage in TechCrunch in the USA. The client was thrilled with the work we completed and as an added bonus - on that day I also completed by postgraduate dissertation. I’ve heard many times that you never forget your first national coverage - I’m now inclined to agree.
What one word would you use to describe the University of Birmingham?
“Remain open-minded when looking for your first role out of university. We often go through university, particularly our final year, with an idea in mind of the job we want or the lives we want to lead. While it is important to have goals, its equally important - if not more so - to keep an open mind about the possibility of pursuing an alternative career. I began university wanting to move into journalism, halfway through my postgraduate course (and several conversations with the Careers Network later) I began exploring opportunities in Public Relations. Two years later, I now find myself writing press releases for national papers, liaising with magazine editors to secure coverage for clients and working with some of the UK’s most iconic brands. It’s not a far cry from the journalistic lifestyle I envisioned for myself when I first arrived on campus in 2013, but I wouldn’t be in this role if I had remained closed-minded about alternative career opportunities. Take a risk.”