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 Careers Event

A major careers event specifically for Arts & Humanities PhD researchers.
14.00 – 18.00, 24 June 2015, K4U12, Strand Campus

This event looks at your career inside or outside of academia. With opportunities to hear about the academic labour market, the chance to get your CV checked, and an informal speed-meet with alumni and others from various industries, this is your chance to start thinking about your next step.

Hear from:

  • Arts & Humanities Research Council – discussing the findings of the 2014 Oakleigh report; a detailed survey into the issues faced by Arts and Humanities researchers in the period immediately following completion of a PhD – ahrc.ac.uk
  • Researchers in Schools – a teacher training and professional development programme exclusive to researchers who have completed a doctorate – researchersinschools.org
  • King’s Careers & Employability Careers Consultant – Sabrina Duggan talking about portfolio careers if working 9 to 5 just isn’t for you – kcl.ac.uk/careers

Speed meet:

  • Deloitte – Talk to recruiters from professional services firm Deloitte, to find out what they and similar companies look for when employing King’s graduates – deloitte.com/uk
  • Civil Service Fast Stream – Working in the civil service can be a highly rewarding job with rapid career progression – uk/faststream
  • Current Arts & Humanities PhDs – find out first-hand about PhD careers in sectors including tourism, academia and researcher development.

CV check:

  • Be sure to book in a 15 minute CV check appointment to make sure it is up to scratch and ready to dazzle employers. Hurry though, only 18 appointments available! – book your place now via the Eventbrite page.