“I have found that the MSc International Management programme provided a brilliant platform for boosting my confidence, enabling me to make an impact quickly when having to switch between different subject matters in short, time-pressured delivery windows”
Policy Advisor, Civil Service
Lydia started off as a sports scholar in Iowa, before deciding to switch her focus to academic studies. She chose to study the MSc International Management programme (now MSc Management) after being drawn to the well-rounded structure, allowing her flexibility in her career. Following graduation, she entered the Civil Service as a Project Manager, focusing on Brexit preparations and is now working within the Priority Projects Team as a Policy Advisor.
At sixteen I moved to the USA to study and play tennis full-time at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida. After two years I was offered a full scholarship to Iowa State University where I spent one year studying Kinesiology and playing division one tennis. However, I soon decided that academic study was the most important thing for me and this meant leaving my scholarship in the USA and returning to the UK for a new challenge studying Exercise & Sport Sciences (BSc) at the University of Exeter.
Outside of studying, I was a tennis coach at Exeter Tennis Centre and during the summer holidays I would help my parents with the day to day running of our family business (a number of small cosmetics companies). From an early age, these experiences helped to curate my passion for business alongside harnessing my love of sport. I was then lucky enough to be able to combine these interests by undertaking a 3-month internship at IMG working within the Event Retailing and Licensing team for the Wimbledon Championships. This experience enabled me to decide to take the next step in my journey and diversify away from sport and into the business world.
I chose the MSc in International Management at the University of Exeter because the course offering was unlike most other Masters degrees. Instead of specialising in one area of business, the programme offered a well-rounded view of business by providing you with a wide range of different modules from accounting and marketing, to supply chain management. This was very important to me as it allowed me to be flexible in choosing my future career path.
During the programme, I undertook an Entrepreneurship module whereby, in groups, we were tasked with designing a new product (from procurement to product design) that aligned with one of the UNs 14 sustainable development goals. This enabled me to be innovative, problem solve and work with a variety of different stakeholders to overcome problems and find creative solutions. These skills have aided me greatly in my current role as a Policy Advisor in the Priority Projects Team (BEIS) where new policy interventions have to undergo a series of assessments in their lifecycle, including policy navigation, policy development and policy delivery.
After graduation, I applied for a variety of graduate schemes but decided that during the UK’s current political context, a career in the Civil Service focusing on EU Exit preparations would be a unique challenge. I entered the Civil Service as a project manager focusing on navigating different policy teams and assembling top EU Exit risks that were required to be tracked and mitigated during different EU Exit scenarios. I was also responsible for reporting these to executive and ministerial committees.
I decided that I thrived in EU Exits fast-paced environment and therefore I wanted to continue broaden my experiences. I subsequently applied for a job in the priority projects team whereby I would be seconded to a different policy team every three months. This role gives me a great opportunity to get involved in a number of high profile projects with differing stakeholders including; carbon net-zero by 2050, adapting the British Business Bank to the needs of SMEs and EU Exit no-deal planning.
During this role I have found that the MSc International Management programme provided a brilliant platform for boosting my confidence, enabling me to make an impact quickly when having to switch between different subject matters in short, time-pressured delivery windows. In particular, having worked with individuals from a diverse range of backgrounds as well as developing my business fundamentals on the Masters has been crucial when working within business policy areas at the department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
I would 100% recommend a Masters at Exeter. I would urge anyone who is considering studying a Masters at the University of Exeter to take the plunge – you definitely won’t regret it! I had a fantastic time at Exeter from sport, to studying, to socialising with friends. The University has fantastic lecturers and provides a well-rounded academic experience for all, no matter your background. My top tip would be get involved in anything and everything that the university has to offer; the staff are always willing to help you balance your studies with your extra-curricular activities in order to get the most out of your experience.
My advice on being employable and succeeding in the workplace is always be open to new opportunities, be willing to get involved and make as many connections as possible, you never know what doors they may open for you.
If I had to sum up my Exeter experience in four words it would be: Versatile, inclusive, enterprising and fun!