What does your working day at POLIS involve?
As I am teaching this semester some of my time is taken up with preparation for and the conducting of seminars. This also involves attempting to deal with student queries and worries through both email and direct contact. Aside from this I am currently grappling with my final substantial chapter of my thesis, dealing with a host of corrections to previous chapters, maintain my current affairs knowledge of the Southern Cone; and, given the fact that my thesis is concerned with financial crisis, watching a lot of News24!
What brought you to POLIS and the University of Leeds?
I came to Leeds from the University of Bristol, where I completed my MSc, to start a 1+3 ESRC PhD Studentship scheme. I chose Leeds due to the fact that I had some personal contact with some of the tutors prior to coming here, and felt that this, combined with their expertise, would provide the best team given my PhD proposal.
What made you decide to do a PhD?
Prior to starting at Leeds, I was a supervisor at a well known global bank, involved in the roll out of IT solutions to other parts of the global business. After having done this for over a year, I decided that I was not using the knowledge that I had gained from my Undergraduate and Masters degrees, nor did I feel that I was being stretched intellectually on a daily basis. I therefore took a difficult decision, and a substantial pay-cut (!), dusted off the PhD proposal that I had been toying with during my time at Bristol, and got it submitted!
What are some of the other jobs you do?
I have been involved in private research consultancy work, helping in the production of a report on the rise of Asian Financial Centres and the Challenges/Opportunities that they present to the financial hegemony of London and New York. I have also done some guest lecturing at the Universidad de Moron in Buenos Aires during my field work. I have become a bit of a dab hand at DIY as I have been decorating my house, and I am trying to teach my nephew Spanish – although this is a little tricky as he is only four!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Being intellectually challenged every day, by both my own work and my students; therefore I feel that I am constantly learning and developing, which is very important to me.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
During a PhD write up there is no spare time!
What are your plans for the future?
In the immediate future, finish my PhD. In the longer term, find a career that involves using my PhD!
If your life had gone in a different direction, what might you be doing instead?
If I had stayed with my chosen career, I would now be an investment banker. Given the current situation I think I made the right decision!
What's your most frequently asked question by students?
Does this count towards my degree?
If you could get students to understand one thing what would it be?
The importance and implications of the nature of the relationship between politics and economics.