Arts & Humanities PhD Case Studies: Consulting

This interview, and the others published over the past and next few weeks, are with the employers represented at the recent King’s College London Arts & Humanities PhD careers event. They have been written by PhD candidate Valeria Valotto, to whom we are very grateful!

From Philosophy and Political Theory to Management Consulting

Dr. Dom O’Mahony Consultant at The Boston Consulting Group

Current position: Dom is Consultant at The Boston Consulting Group.

Starting point:

Between 2010 and 2013 I completed a PhD in Philosophy and Political Theory at Cambridge. I worked on the conceptualisation of judgement in Politics. Before starting my PhD I had been working for BCG as an Associate.

First turn – Consulting

I first applied to consulting more or less by accident – I had looked at a few other career options (mainly thanks to Summer internships while completing my BA) like investment banking, that I eventually decided weren’t for me. I had heard that consulting was a good way to create options for whatever it was that I would eventually decide to do with my life.

Second turn – PhD

I moved back to academia because I was seriously considering a career as an academic. My PhD was a unique opportunity to think hard about a particular problem. While doing my PhD I found ways to develop my business skills further. I was Entrepreneur in Residence at Groupon and eventually founded ‘Campus Partners’ a start-up that provided a number of services to companies looking for graduates.

Third turn – Consulting

The diversity of experiences, as well as the pace and the impact of the work, eventually drew me back to BCG.

Arts & Humanities PhD Case Studies: portfolio working

This interview, and the others published over the past and next few weeks, are with the employers represented at the recent King’s College London Arts & Humanities PhD careers event. They have been written by PhD candidate Valeria Valotto, to whom we are very grateful!

Full-time PhD, Portfolio career

Georgios Regkoukos

Current position: PhD student in History at KCL, Tutor and GTA at KCL, Tour Director at EF.

Starting point:

I am enrolled as a PhD student at KCL, writing a thesis on Politics, political thought and gentry liberalism in the era of Great Reforms in Russia.

End point:

When my sponsoring institution cut my funding I took a job as Tour Director at EF. I found the job advertised on jobonline, the UoL Career Group website. I liked the sound of it because I have always loved travelling and this way I am getting paid to do it! My duties consist of accompanying groups mainly consisting of students from the US and Canada throughout their tours of European countries, on-tour logistical support and organisation of activities, various educational responsibilities, such as giving walking tours of European city centres and coach commentaries.

How did you make it?

I had been working previously as tutor and really enjoyed it. My language and people skills definitely helped a lot. This is a part-time job which allows me to concentrate my travels in few stints over the year. As a result I have a lot of free time for my academic work and teaching at KCL.

Arts & Humanities PhD Case Studies: Ministry of Defence

This interview, and the others published over the past and next few weeks, are with the employers represented at the recent King’s College London Arts & Humanities PhD careers event. They have been written by PhD candidate Valeria Valotto, to whom we are very grateful!

From Politics and International Studies PhD to Defence and Security

Dr. Victoria Tuke

Current position: Victoria Tuke works in the Defence Strategy and Priorities team within the Ministry of Defence.

Starting point:

Between 2008 and 2011 I completed a PhD in Politics and International Studies, writing my thesis on Japanese foreign policy.

First turn – Daiwa Scholar

For many years I have been keen to enter public service but with a specific interest in Defence and Security issues. My PhD was a means to an end: a career in government, think tanks and NGO. Immediately after finishing the PhD in 2011 I was lucky enough to get a two-years long Daiwa Scholarship (Daiwa is an Anglo-Japanese Foundation). The scholarship allowed me to hone my Japanese language skills while working ‘hands-on’, this time, for the British Embassy and a Japanese politician, in addition to continuing my own research.

Second turn – Civil Service Fast Stream

Upon returning to the UK in 2013 I secured a job as part of the Civil Service Fast Stream. I had the chance to work in a range of departments including Cabinet Office, Ministry of Justice and on a short secondment to BAE Systems. In April 2015 I eventually landed my current position at the Ministry of Defence.

How did you make it?

The move from academia to government has been challenging and quite an adjustment. If you are keen on a specific sector or industry my advice is to get your foot in the door first, and only then work your way to your ‘dream job’. Because I did my PhD with the transition in mind I put extra effort in securing a number of internships (editorial, research) in Government and Think Tanks alongside my PhD.

What is the next move?

After developing experience in the ‘reality’ of public and foreign policy, I would very much welcome a portfolio career and any opportunity to return to some form of an academic career in the future.

Arts & Humanities PhD Case Studies: A Portfolio Academic Career

This interview, and the others to follow over the next few weeks, are with the employers represented at the recent King’s College London Arts & Humanities PhD careers event. They have been written by PhD candidate Valeria Valotto, to whom we are very grateful!

From PhD to Lecturer and Chaplain: A Case of Portfolio Career

Revd. Dr. Rosie Andrious

Current position: Rosie is New Testament teacher at KCL and Chaplain for Imperial College Healthcare Trust.

Starting point:

After reading Theology I completed an MA at King’s, where I then returned for my PhD after being ordained. Prior and alongside my PhD I was a mental health chaplain for fourteen years for the South of London and Maudsley Mental Health Trust.

What was your first step outside academia?

There was never a moment when I ‘leaped’ outside academia. Throughout the PhD I have been building a portfolio career, combining research and teaching with full-time chaplaincy.

How did you make it?

My previous role as chaplain was crucial in allowing me to carve out my unique career profile. While doing the PhD I had been teaching, it was natural to continue this activity alongside my job as a chaplain, which provides financial stability.

Arts & Humanities PhD Case Studies: the other side of academia

This interview, and the others to follow over the next few weeks, are with the employers represented at the recent King’s College London Arts & Humanities PhD careers event. They have been written by PhD candidate Valeria Valotto, to whom we are very grateful!

From Cultural Studies and Media Phd to Academic Services Research: the other side of Academia

Dr. Laura Speers

Current position: Laura is Post-Doctoral Associate at Queen Mary University London. She works in the Post-Graduate Training and Knowledge Exchange Unit.

Starting point:

I received a BA in Philosophy at the University of Newcastle. Prior to beginning my PhD at King’s, I studied for an MA in Telecommunications at Indiana University.

First turn – Temporary Research Position

Immediately after finishing my PhD I was not sure whether I should pursue an academic career. I got a temporary research position through my supervisor. This was at 53 Million Artists, a collaborative project between KCL Cultural Institute and an external organisation. My role involved helping shape the research agenda of the project, synthesising academic and policy literature for research reports, and devising evaluation activities to assess project progress.

Second turn – Post-Graduate Training and Knowledge Exchange Unit

My position, for which a PhD is a requirement, entails researching, developing and co-ordinating the delivery of research training and knowledge exchange activity for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences as an associate member of the London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP), which is an AHRC-funded Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP). The role involves the planning, programming, organisation and delivery of knowledge exchange activities by working closely with academic Schools, external partners and cultural institutions both in London and overseas.

I am very happy with the change. This postdoc position offers the best of both worlds (academia/outside) as I’m still in Higher Education so have university affiliation and library access (I’m in the process of publishing my PhD). I’m doing something new by applying my PhD experience and knowledge to researcher training and development. Researcher development is satisfying because it’s people-focused and you’re making a direct difference to the working lives and experiences of PhD students and ECRs.

How did you make it?

I encourage a twofold strategy to career transitions: hunting for information on the short run and chasing one’s interests and passions on the long run. Before applying for jobs I would make sure to shadow and interview people in that position, to understand better what the role implies. My active participation to extra-curricular activities led me to discover Post-graduate Training. As a PhD student I attended training sessions, which gave me the opportunity to understand the importance of Postgraduate Training and to understand how this service could be improved. At King’s I was Humanities PhD Students Representative, in such a capacity I organised workshops and gained valuable experience in chairing meetings and events. This made me realise that I enjoyed managing people and facilitating ideas exchanges. I had been cultivating these skills since her time at Indiana University, where I was an associate instructor, research assistant and served on the Graduate and Professional Student Organization (GPSO) committee.

For an in-depth interview to Laura and for pratical tips about how she made the transition, see the following article on King’s Careers Blog.