How did you first become interested in economics?
One day, as a bored teenager, I picked up my dad's Economist magazine and just began to read. It was about Mr Bush Jr and his foreign policy approach post-9/11. Before long I was hooked. It seemed to me that economics was an attempt to understand why people, countries and organisations do what they do and what effects their actions have. Issues like global warming, conflict, wealth, technology, politics and geography all get wrapped up in the world of an economist.
Another factor was that during my GCSEs and A-levels I was lucky to have a charismatic teacher who preached that "economics is about the whole world around you and how it works". That really appealed to me.
Why did you choose to study at the School of Economics at Nottingham?
The truth is that I initially wanted to go to Bath, but when I visited Nottingham I got a great impression. I liked the balance between the behavioural side of economics and the more mathematical elements. Most importantly, the teaching always applied theories to real-world examples, which is the best way to study.
What advice would you give to someone considering or about to start a course at the school?
Read the module descriptions that are on offer and browse one or two of the key textbooks. Don't go overboard - just try to gauge your interest and get a basic understanding of some key economic principles.
Also, look beyond the school. Check out the rest of the University and Nottingham itself. It's a great place to be, but I recommend finding out for yourself.
Tell us about your career since graduation
Straight after university I grew my hair embarrassingly long and went travelling for a while. When I got back - as white as I'd left - I completed a year as an intern at Worcester University.
I then secured a place on the National Graduate Development Programme, which is a two-year fast-track programme into local government. I spent two years at Nottinghamshire County Council as a project manager, working in frontline services that make a real difference to people's lives.
The experience made a real impression on me. For example, I got to see how the most vulnerable children in our society deserve to be given a good start in life and how youth centres, libraries and sports and arts programmes can make a real difference to families and communities.
Towards the end of my time at the council I was as an executive officer, reporting directly to the director of children's services. I then took up a role as a senior consultant for Capita, working for the company's transformation arm.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I like variety. Each day should present different challenges. At the council it might have been a case of setting up a team of social workers to support victims of historical child abuse, helping managers deal with unprecedented public sector budget cuts, submitting funding bids to the Department for Education...I like the idea that all sorts of things can be thrown on to your desk, and I hope that continues in my new role.
How have your experiences at the school helped shape your career?
One important influence was that they developed my ability to think critically and question the status quo. This doesn't happen as often as you might imagine in working life, which is why it's the people who can identify a problem, unpick it and think of a way forward who are highly valued.
My time at the school also developed my social skills. Relationships are key in the world of work, and being able to interact with people from all backgrounds and professions is crucial. The school prepared me for that by giving me the opportunity to socialise with and learn alongside others.
Are you still in touch with your fellow alumni?
I am - mostly through social media now, which allows us to meet up every once in a while.
And why is staying in touch important?
They're my friends, and I take an interest in their lives. It's also nice to see what routes others have gone down, because economics allows you to pursue so many different career paths.
Have you been back to the school since you graduated?
Not yet, but I did work with some professors from the School of Sociology and Social Policy during my time at the county council. It was great to work alongside academics on a professional level, having previously been a humble student!