Following your passions: KCL alum Rory’s journey to a career in healthcare policy

Celebrating the everyday career stories of KCL alumni, today we are excited to share a recent alum Rory’s journey into healthcare policy and public affairs. Read more about how Rory translated a passion for public policy and an internship into a career as a Consultant.

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My name is Rory and I work in the healthcare policy, advocacy and public affairs team at Hanover Communications as a Consultant (sometimes referred to as Account Manager). I am responsible for managing projects for a number of large healthcare companies and support their engagement with government, Parliamentarians, civil servants and the NHS. I have been working at Hanover for over two years now having started as an intern while studying at King’s.


What made me focus on this career

My focus on this career came about as a result of my interest in politics from a young age and passion for being on top of what is going on in the world. This has come in very useful in my career as I often am asked by clients for insight or analysis into the latest goings-on in politics whether that be Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic or government policy.

In health specifically, I have always found it an interesting policy area as it is something that will impact all of us at some point during our lives. It is also an area which is changing at pace as science and medicine evolve and we discover new ways of treating people. This provides an exciting challenge for the clients I work for but also for policymakers we engage with who have to adapt to an ever-changing way of delivering healthcare services.


My career journey from King’s to working as a Consultant

Before King’s, I undertook an undergraduate degree in Politics and International Relations at the University of Aberdeen. During my time at Aberdeen, I got involved with a number of political campaigns and realised I was most interested in the development of public policy. For three months I interned with the National AIDs Trust, an HIV charity, where I undertook research for their policy team. I actually applied for a masters at King’s after speaking to their Director of Policy who had done the same degree and told me it was a good stepping stone to a career in healthcare policy.

I then studied a master’s degree in public policy at King’s College London in 2017/18 and during this time had the opportunity to work at Hanover as an intern for 3 months. This experience resulted in them offering me a permanent position in their team as an Account Executive following the completion of my degree. Since then, I’ve worked my way through the ranks and was promoted to Consultant in October this year.


Commercial awareness tips for the communications and public affairs industries

The main change to the communications and public affairs industries in the last few years has been the move to digital engagement platforms. Almost every client project I work on now involves an element of digital work whether that be social media, videos or, in the age of COVID, virtual events and meetings. This requires a change in skillset and means that understanding how to effectively use digital platforms is more important than ever.

For public affairs specifically, the increasingly erratic and complex nature of the political environment makes our jobs even more important. This environment has changed client priorities by seeing public affairs and their work with government as a core business function.  More than ever, this means that clients want us to help unpick complex pieces of policy or comment on developments in politics which could impact their business.


My tips for current students and graduates

For those interested in public affairs and/or health policy, I would say that it is important to network and ask questions of those already working in the industry. They will be able to help you understand the best route in as there are so many options at the moment to pursue a career in public affairs. The careers market for students is more competitive now than it was when I was applying just two years ago but I would say that perseverance will pay off and using your contacts is very useful for finding out which area of the industry you would be best suited to.


King’s Careers’ Take: Following your passions can often lead to great employability opportunities, like Rory’s journey from working with charities, to getting a Masters and now working in healthcare policy. If you would like to reflect on your values, interests and passions, and imagine where these could lead you towards on your career journey, then visit our E-learning careers course on KEATS.