Ben Fowler (Philosophy and Politics, 2009)

Volunteer in the Spotlight - Ben Fowler

Volunteer in the Spotlight is a regular feature that highlights the alumni that help current students achieve more. Ben Fowler (Philosophy and Politics, 2009) is an Associate Director at global market research company Ipsos MORI. 

Tell us about yourself and your career journey.

I’m a 2009 graduate of Philosophy and Politics, and currently work as an Associate Director at the global market research company Ipsos MORI. I started out in research working for a small husband and wife team doing qualitative research for government departments back in 2009/10. In my next career step working for YouGov I ran my first international research program for a middle eastern government. At the height of the Arab Spring, they were nervous about global investor sentiment towards the country and we gave them advice about how to weather the storm. From then Ipsos MORI has given me plenty of opportunity to work on high profile reputation issues for major international brands – we provide insight that often goes straight into the board room and supports strategic decision making. 

What aspects of your working life have you enjoyed the most so far?

I love the international aspect of my job. At 5pm LA are clocking on and Europe is heading home – this is a really exciting challenge to get your head around and working with people all over the globe is a perk on the job, especially when you get to travel to these places! I remember a project where we sent interviewers to talk to an Aborigine community in Australia in 45c heat, in the outback. We had to charter a plane specially to fly them in and out. We were really privileged to do that research.

Dealing with corporate reputation issues day in and out really leans heavily on my degree in politics. Whether it’s dealing with European privacy issues, views on corporate tax affairs, or ethical business practice, a good understanding of how to navigate competing opinions and priorities among different actors is crucial for giving sound advice to clients. 

If you weren’t in this sector, what do you think you would be doing instead?

Probably working for a tech company helping them disrupt a market, or academia.

What advice would you give to current students, and how can Exeter graduates get into your area of work?

First would be to get whatever experience you can. It is a sector that rewards proactivity and having a good opinion about the world. Outside of traditional routes (job ads/recruiters etc) - find a company or agency you find interesting and get in touch with them. Tell them why you’re interested in their work, and tell them how you can help them. 

In lieu of experience, interest and proactivity can set you apart from the competition. 

And finally, what inspires you to volunteer so much of your time to help Exeter students?

Exeter gave me a lot in my time there, and it’s only fair to give back what little I can. 

Date: 21 March 2016

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