"The geography department was really supportive and the research truly captivating"

Graduate Aamir Khan standing outside the Geography Dept
Aamir Khan
Personal Assistant to CEO
Geography BSc
Aamir discusses how his voluntary work at Sheffield developed into a career in the charity sector.

Why did you decide to study geography, and why did you choose Sheffield?

I really enjoyed studying geography at college, particularly the physical aspects, so it was the natural choice for university. The subject is so broad and covers everything from climate change to the post colonial world, so you can really specialise and gain such a unique set of skills.

I had offers from top London universities but I chose Sheffield because I was so impressed at the open day and enjoyed my time in Sheffield a lot! I found the geography department was really supportive and the research truly captivating.

What has your career path been since graduation?

I worked at Santander straight out of uni and then on the project management team of an EU-funded scheme to improve refugee integration in Sheffield. This role influenced me greatly and now I can't see myself working outside of the third sector! I moved to London in July 2019 to work as a PA to the CEO of a charity that supports disabled adults. I also work on the research and intelligence team for an Executive search firm operating in the third sector. I would like to move into the climate change sector in the future.

How did studying geography help you get to where you are now?

Studying geography was very useful. I gained a breadth of skills that are essential for most jobs in the modern world, such as strong IT and interpersonal skills. It also helped to widen my thinking and made me more receptive to different opportunities such as auditing for Green Impact at uni. Employers really value a varied and broad degree.

What made your time in Sheffield special?

I really enjoyed the city and the Peak District nearby. It has everything you need from a city plus an incredibly accessible national park. Forging new relationships through uni was really enjoyable and I am still very much in touch with friends I met years ago at Sheffield.

What advice would you give to new students in the department?

My number one tip would be to get involved with as much as possible and volunteer if you have spare time. Drawing on my voluntary and work experience has been key to my success so far. Make sure to keep an eye out for the opportunities that are circulated via email and if you can do a placement year or a term/year abroad - I regret not doing this since I think it would be incredibly useful and help to prepare you for life after uni better.

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