Many students have passed through Kent but what are they up to now? In the After Kent series, we talk to Emma Panteli about her journey After Kent. Emma studied BA (Hons) in Politics and International Relations between 2012-2015.
What do you miss the most about studying Politics at Kent?
There are many things I miss about studying Politics at Kent! I guess the thing I miss the most is having the time and capacity to get to know a subject really well, read about it and all the different opinions, discuss and debate with your peers, and as weird as it sounds, turning all that great knowledge into an essay! You don’t realise until you leave university how amazing it is to have that space and support to learn about a subject and engage in it with such depth.
What are you up to now?
Currently, I am on secondment from an FTSE 250 organisation into the Ministry of Defence to support building relationships between the Defence Industry and the Ministry of Defence. It’s been a great experience for me. I have experience from working in the private sector, as well as the Civil Service. I have also helped shape policy documents such as the Defence and Security Industrial Strategy and I work on really great initiatives such as the Women in Defence Charter.
How has studying Politics at Kent prepared you for the future/current position?
The great thing about studying Politics at Kent was the multitude of modules you could take, from contemporary UK politics to US Foreign Policy, it gave me the opportunity to really explore all areas of politics and the international element has supported me in a career in defence. The other great element was how knowledgeable the tutors are and how open they were to having discussions.
What advice would you give potential/current Politics students?
University provides such a great opportunity to try new and different things and really throw yourself into different societies, modules and meet loads of different people. Kent provided such a great place to do this and my main bit of advice is to take every opportunity that comes your way and use university as an opportunity to stretch out of your comfort zone and to challenge yourself. The other key advice I have is students should utilise the office hours of their tutors. They are beyond valuable and can really help you get into the nitty-gritty of subjects.
What do you plan to do in the future?
I want to continue using the knowledge I have in both Westminster and Whitehall, as well as broader defence policy to support companies on strategic engagement and stakeholder management. When you reflect back on your university times, you always feel you want to become an expert in something, and it’s only taken me just shy of a decade to realise that I am a people person and not everyone knows the workings of Whitehall and Westminster in detail and I want to continue to marry those two things up for organisations who need that support.
If you are a POLIR alumni and studied either an undergraduate, postgraduate or PhD degree with us and would like to share your story, contact us, we would love to hear from you!