BA Film, Journalism and Communication
What made you choose Middlesex University?
Middlesex University met a lot of my requirements when I was looking at where to study. I was really attracted to the type of courses available and particularly liked the fact I could choose a combined honours course, providing me with greater career options.
As I grew up in London I wanted to stay close to friends and family but also have the opportunity to meet new people with similar interests. I was able to ride my motorbike, drive or take public transport from home to campus and back, which was very appealing!
What attracted you to your course and made you apply?
I really liked the variety of modules covered by the course. I got to learn about film, directing, publishing, production, writing for TV, journalism and presenting.
What aspects of your course did you enjoy most?
I really enjoyed analysis and group discussions about films, magazines and books on the course, as it allowed me to put my thoughts and perspective across, whilst listening to the different points of view my classmates had.
What is your fondest memory of life at Middlesex?
One of my fondest memories was the drive to the Trent Park campus. Trent Park was very calm and had tranquil surroundings which I thoroughly enjoyed. I would often look forward to attending classes there as we would frequently have breakout sessions in the gardens and discuss subjects pertaining to our course and other interests. I also liked the Cat Hill campus; both locations were built to be well integrated with the ecological surroundings.
What one piece of advice would you give to a prospective student interested in studying at Middlesex?
Make sure you visit the university and get a feel for its location, the campus and the people. You can do a lot of research but I think deciding whether it feels right for you is more important. Speak to the lecturers and tutors who are going to be teaching the subjects on your course. I would also recommend visiting a few other universities so that you can compare how you feel about them before making a decision.
How did your course and time at Middlesex help you to get where you are professionally today?
My degree enabled me to begin my career as a Media Sales Executive at Ocean Media, formerly part of Trinity Mirror Group, and rise quickly in my six and half years there to the position of Group Advertising Sales Manager. It also allowed me to secure my first job overseas at ADIPEC, the third largest oil and gas exhibition and conference in the world.
If I hadn't attended an internationally recognised university and achieved a degree, I wouldn't have been considered for my current role. To obtain managerial status in the UAE, being educated to degree level is a prerequisite.
What made you choose the industry you work in and the company you currently work for? What are its pros and cons?
International SOS, the company I work for, works with companies across many different disciplines: from EMI to Corporate and Government Organisations through to Financial Services and so on. This means I am constantly learning about developments in many different industries which keeps the job interesting but it also means that I have to be aware of changes in many different sectors. This can have its challenges.
How did you get your foot on the career ladder post university?
I didn't take a traditional approach to begin with. As I had my degree, I wanted to do something artistic and enjoy myself for a while. I decided to pursue my interest in performing and worked as a vocalist and dancer for a number of different artists. After about two years, I was unsure what I wanted to do so I began looking at media-related positions before deciding to explore commercial opportunities.
I started looking at adverts in the Guardian and other national newspapers and came across an opening in media sales. My career began at Ocean Media as a Sales Executive which was located in Canary Wharf in the tallest building in the UK at the time.
What has been your defining career break or highlight to date?
I would say my defining career break has been my current role. As the main point of contact for the capital of the UAE, I have a high level of responsibility for leading client relationships and growing the business. A crucial point in my career has been moving overseas - you can't beat picking yourself up and relocating to another country and environment!
What does the future hold for you?
There is such a good mix of people at International SOS. The organisation has offices in 70 countries and its employees speak over 90 different languages, so I would really like to develop my career with the company.
In a few years, I would potentially like to move to a new country and travel further afield – potentially Asia or Australia. I have certainly got a taste for working abroad and the beauty of being employed by a multinational is that it offers the opportunity to work in many different countries.
What are the top three career tips you would give to current students and recent graduates?
Relationship building is very important: from peers, to friends, to management and clients. Building a rapport with people not only widens your network of contacts but also helps you to adapt to different scenarios you may face in your work and social circles.
Also find ways to differentiate yourself from others. Make sure you have interests outside of work, for example learn a new language. A lot of roles now require candidates to be bilingual or multilingual. Take up an interesting hobby or sporting activity.
Lastly don't be afraid to move around for opportunities that may arise in different locations. Don't limit yourself!
What one piece of advice would you give to the 17/18 year old you?
Focus more when studying and be less distracted! That might have been a plus but thankfully things have turned out well so it hasn't been too bad!