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Alison HuntingtonWhat was your first job after graduating?

I graduated and suddenly realised that I was skint and needed to get a job! I was soon busy with daunting and lengthy application forms, typing up my GCSEs and extra-curricular activities until my fingers nearly fell off. My first job was with a market research firm in London, specialising in media research.

What did the job involve? What skills did you use?

This job involved a lot of number crunching and reading vast numbers of survey responses about TV programmes. One thing I learnt is that people get very worked up about Eastenders! The job required the skills that you hone while studying history: the ability to make sense of large amounts of information and the ability to distil that into something meaningful that the client can use.

What did you do next?

After eight months there I was offered another job on the consultancy graduate scheme at Deloitte. That meant I could squeeze in a three month trip to South East Asia before I started in September! Once again, the job is seemingly unrelated to a history degree. We started off by studying for CIMA certification and then had a very intense consultancy `boot camp´ residential training course in Scotland.

I'm now six months into my first project which is based in Leeds. The job is challenging and I am learning firsthand about the way businesses are run. Once again, the skills that I developed studying history are so useful on the job. The ability to work independently without someone spoon feeding you is very important. Being able to manage your own time efficiently is vital. I think it is telling that there is a high proportion of history graduates on my graduate intake!

How has your history degree helped you?

I really enjoyed my history degree at Sheffield and it gave me a strong starting position for my job applications. Many people assume that by studying history you must be going into teaching – I was always adamant that this would not be the case! A high percentage of people at the very top of the business world have history degrees, so it can't be the airy fairy subject that some BSc students say it is!

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