Our graduates

James McAvan

What did you do after graduation?

Following graduation (2001) I attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and commissioned into The Royal Welch Fusiliers. I deployed to Iraq in 2004 in command of 30 soldiers. The tour of duty was subsequently made famous by historian Richard Holmes, in his book, Dusty Warriors. My next deployment (2005) was on counter-terrorist operations in Ulster in support of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

After this, my next position was as the Aide-de-Camp (executive aide/assistant) to a 2 Star British General at The United States Central Command, Florida.

My final role in the Army was as a Company Commander in charge of over 110 soldiers deployed on combat operations in Afghanistan.

Why do you think a degree is important?

By gaining a good degree from a well-respected university, I was able to show future employers that I had the mental aptitude and determination to take on daunting tasks. I remain very proud of my history degree from Sheffield. It is the foundation stone for everything that I have achieved subsequently.

What are you doing today?

In 2008 I left the army and, following travels in Australasia and the Americas, I returned to university to become a lawyer. I started the Graduate Diploma in Law at the University of Birmingham in September 2009.

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*Please note that the course details set out here may change before you start, particularly if you are applying significantly in advance of the course start date. The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.