Caitlin law, our School’s Liaison Officer, comments on degree choice
For many people, university is finally the chance to focus on a subject that truly fascinates them. There may also be those who have chosen their degree course not only for the academic opportunities, but also because it presents a clear progression to a career in fields like Medicine or Law. Sometimes the path following a degree can seem more uncertain, however, with the bewildering array of opportunities available for graduates increasingly difficult to navigate.
Whether you feel certain about how you will use your degree or would still like some guidance, our talented Lucy Cavendish alumnae go to show that studying something you love can lead to both expected and not quite so expected paths.
Certain degree courses have led our alumnae seamlessly into related professions. Jessie Ingle, for example, studied for a Masters of Law here at Lucy Cavendish and became a lawyer with City firm Linklaters. As part of her role she spent a fascinating six months with the Free Representation Unit, representing women bringing claims against their employers for issues relating to their gender, such as maternity discrimination. Jessie notes that her time at Lucy Cavendish was excellent preparation for this particular type of work, commenting that meeting fellow students from “a vast array of cultural and education backgrounds” meant she was “able to better provide representation to women from all walks of life”.
Elizabeth Lowe’s Pharmacology degree, meanwhile, lead her to work for several years in the pharmaceutical Research and Development sector and then to forming her own business. Elizabeth began to become concerned about the ingredients in toothpaste, as well as its excessive packaging and eventually founded ‘Naked Company’, which aims to reduce packaging as well as to eliminate the potentially harmful ingredients usually found in conventional toothpaste. All the company’s products are responsibly sourced, ethically created and never tested on animals. Excitingly, Elizabeth tells us that “the response has been great.”
Sometimes a certain degree may not seem like a natural fit for a particular career, but our graduates go to show you just never know. Often, the skills degree study can help you develop can lead to unexpected avenues. Take our alumna Nenette Scriver. Following a degree in economics Nenette worked in finance for a variety of companies. Eventually, however, Nenette discovered a passion for chocolate making and founded her own luxury chocolate company. Chocolate and banking may seem worlds away, but Nenette says knew how to run a business thanks to her background in finance (even if doing it all for herself was a bit of a learning curve!) Nenette ultimately reminds us that “you never really know what's around the corner and that it's important to grab opportunities and follow your heart”.
The same could probably be said for our alumna Ellie Brown. A degree in Politics, Psychology and Sociology might not seem at first glance like the first steps to founding a successful food start-up, but it was for Ellie. Ellie decided to give up dairy not long after graduation, but her love for all things cheese led her to develop her own range of vegan cheeses, all packed sustainably. Once again, time spent studying at Lucy was just the right preparation for Ellie’s entrepreneurial endeavours, as she points out herself. “Although I had no prior business experience, the discipline I learnt during my time at Lucy put me in good stead for the hard work that's necessary when running your own company.”
The varied and always fascinating paths our graduates have taken remind us that although a degree can be an excellent way of setting down a clear path, it can be equally rewarding to embrace the unexpected. It seems that in all cases, choosing a degree you are genuinely passionate about will equip you with the transferable skills to succeed in a whole host of fields. Alumna Sofia Maroudia (who has worked in the banking, consulting and not for profit spheres following a degree in Law) perhaps says it best. “Professionally, I believe that diverse experiences help us work on our soft skills as different jobs require an open mind, a flexible approach and a constant remodelling of one’s strengths.”