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Case Study: Fiona Graham

Personal details
Degree:International Relations Profile picture
School(s): School of International Relations
Year of Graduation:Jun-2007
National of: United Kingdom
Employment details
Organisation: Institute for Family Business
Job title: Communications Director
Occupational Sector: Public Affairs
What has been your route to getting your current position?
I worked in various roles in the Scottish Government and Parliament during university holiday. After graduating I started working in public affairs, first in Edinburgh then in Westminster.
What does your job involve ?
I am responsible for ensuring the family business voice is heard by politicians and other policy makers. That includes raising the profile of the incredible contribution family business makes to the UK economy, and sharing learning amongst family firms to support them in building a better future.
What are the best bits of your job ?
Meeting inspiring business owners, who care deeply about the long term wellbeing of their business, their employees and their communities.
Why were you successful?
Work experience! Even if you don't end up going in to that industry having real experience on your CV is a must. Don't wait for jobs to be advertised, approach organisations you might want to work with. If you can't find 'career' work experience, get any job that proves you are willing to work hard and muck in (housekeeping and waitressing are great examples).
What skills/ knowledge from your degree have you found particularly helpful in this role?
The ability to take in large amounts of information and distill the key messages. Being able to argue a particular position and build an evidence base to support it.
What advice would you give to students wishing to follow the same path?
It's a fantastic career - with a huge amount of variety and lots of opportunities to be creative. Hours can be long, and it's not a 9-5 job you can just leave at the office. But the rewards (in terms of job satisfaction) are huge, and there is a real feeling of achievement and making a difference in the world.