Durham University: Blending first-rate academics with unrivalled job prospects

Durham University: Blending first-rate academics with unrivalled job prospects

“…I am now working for DFID on fragile and conflict affected states, where I use the concepts and tools studied on this programme every day. It has definitely given me advantage over others seeking to work in this area.” Ben Challis, MSc Defence, Development and Diplomacy 2014/15, Durham University

A degree from Durham University is valuable currency in today’s vying employment market. This prestigious university is actually considered among the absolute best in the world, and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Ranked 34th in the world for employer reputation, according to QS World Rankings, and in the top 10 in the UK for targeted universities by High Fliers and The Good University Guide 2017; these impressive credentials speak volumes for Durham’s reputation as a world-class, leading institution.

A degree from this respected institution will get you through the door of any interview and, with the Durham experience behind you, you’ll know exactly what you need to do once you’re there.

“As I have been extensively involved in development projects implemented by different international organisations such as the Asian Development Bank, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Voluntary Services Overseas, and the UNDP for 7 years, I have had acquired the practical skills of working in different fields with international experts with diverse backgrounds,” says Onon Sukhbaatar, former student of Durham’s MA in International Relations programme.

“While doing my master’s programme at the School of Government and International Affairs of Durham University,” she adds, “I have captured very good academic skills that should help me successfully pursue my career at regional and worldwide development organisations.”

Durham’s approach to education makes for job-ready graduates. A unique blend of practical and theory-based classes means students don’t only gain a sturdy knowledge foundation, but also know how to put that newfound understanding into work.

“My coursework and experience developing my dissertation enabled me to develop strong research, analytical and project management skills,” says investment banker and MSc Finance and Investment graduate, Michelle Okoyomo.

“Planning, researching and presenting my dissertation enhanced my ability to understand and analyse complex data to identify trends and make informed decisions. In addition, this experience helped me learn how to effectively manage a project and present ideas and findings.”

And the chance to get out into industry to solve real-life problems adds another valuable feather to any graduate’s cap.

The Industrial Partnership Committee, as an example, is a team dedicated to the development of strong industrial links with world-class engineering and information technology companies round the globe. This close relationship benefits both student and the industry partner, ensuring all participants learn the latest cutting-edge industry techniques, while also contributing to the research and solution of real professional issues.

Third year Engineering students can also join the Industrial Problem-Solving module that focuses on problem-solving techniques – including value stream analysis, design for assembly, voice of the customer, finite elements analysis, the use of fundamental quality tools – that are important attributes for future careers.

But Durham graduates don’t just walk away with sound knowledge and industry experience; the collegiate system – in which each student becomes a member of a college in Durham City  – gives any student with a get-up-and-go attitude the opportunity to get involved with college life and develop a wealth of soft skills along the way.

Whether it be heading up a college society, captaining a sports team, or even leading your college’s student body; the opportunities to get stuck-in and grow your leadership, communication, and teamwork skills are limitless. And these are indispensable qualities that will resonate throughout your future successes; as discovered by American graduate, Kristina Hagen.

“I gained a solid academic foundation through my BA program but I also learned a lot outside the classroom,” she says. “My degree in Politics and Sociology was a great platform from which to grow, and through my work with my college and with the Student’s Union I learned how to organise and lead. This is what makes me an effective political operative.”

Expanding on this, the university makes sure there are extra-curricular activities to suit all tastes and ambitions. It’s up to you how much you get involved, but the rewards that can be reaped from throwing yourself in to the myriad of opportunities are tangible.

“Durham provided immense extra-curricular opportunities which really accelerated my personal development,” says Philosophy and Politics graduate Afiola Etomi.

“I sharpened my public speaking skills with the Durham Union Society, honed commercial skills as a promoter of events organiser Itchy Feet, and enjoyed the team bonding of college sport.”

For any budding entrepreneur, Durham will make sure you have every chance to succeed, offering the ground-breaking Blueprint Enterprise Challenge for any ambitious postgrad students with a good idea and a fiery passion for innovation.

After several workshops focusing on pitching, financial planning and the legal aspects of a start-up, students are challenged to develop a business plan and present their pitch to a panel of judges; applying what they had learnt directly to the project.

“This was very exciting as we could put ourselves in the roles of entrepreneurs pitching to investors. A great opportunity in a safe university environment,” says challenge runner up, Mathias Schubert.

“The blueprint challenge enabled us to hone and showcase our confidence, ideation and presentation skills, thereby aiding us to convince a jury panel of industry experts and senior lecturers of our business idea…We are now on the road to becoming entrepreneurs and starting a real business someday.”

Durham gives you the support and education needed to become a confident all-rounder once you take your first steps in the workplace. This is reflected in the successes of the institution’s past graduates, who continue to give glowing reviews of their Durham experience.

“Aside from offering a great education, Durham University enhanced my employability skills,” says MSc Software Engineering Management graduate Jo-Sharon Udoh

“I left Durham feeling able to choose who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. You stand out with a Durham degree and I still feel lucky to have been there.”

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