“My university studies helped me to believe I could do whatever I wanted to do, as long as I worked hard. University made me ambitious and curious.”
Caroline Bird, United Nations World Food Programme
Senior Partnership Manager, United Nations World Food Programme
Why did you choose to study here?
I chose to study at Exeter University because it had an interesting Business Economics course which I could combine with a year out studying abroad. I wanted to attend a campus university with a sense of community and a good reputation that would help my career prospects after graduation.
What did you enjoy most about studying here?
I most enjoyed the balance of teaching methods and the support from staff, but of course, the best part of University life was the people I met. I made friends for life at Exeter.
What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?
Since leaving Exeter I went into a career in marketing/public relations. I worked for some of the world's largest PR agencies, in Europe and Australia. I've worked on projects for various private sector companies, from food, pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, as well as projects for the UK Government and international NGOs such as Oxfam. Since 2010 I have been working as a Senior Partnership Manager at the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). Working for the world's largest humanitarian organisation, my role involves building and managing Corporate partnerships for WFP to end hunger.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I get to work with smart people who understand that the private sector has a crucial role to play in ending hunger. The funds that we raise ensure that WFP can continue to serve the most vulnerable people in the world, whether they have no access to food because of war, disaster or displacement.
How have your University of Exeter studies helped in your career?
My university studies helped me to believe I could do whatever I wanted to do, as long as I worked hard. University made me ambitious and curious. My year out in France opened my horizons and encouraged me to travel.
Do you have any advice for current students wishing to pursue your career?
If you are interested in a career in the United Nations I would suggest trying to secure an internship whilst still studying. This would give you a clear insight into the type of role in the UN that you would be suited to. WFP employs 15,000 people globally, from logistics experts, Nutritionists, market analysts and fundraisers like me. All of us have different skills, but are united in our will to help the world's most vulnerable. Figure out what it is in the UN you could be good at.
What are your plans for the future?
My plans are to grow within the United Nations and to take up a position working in a field location.
Do you have any tips or advice on being employable?
Learning other languages is an important skill. Internships are crucial as is networking.