For me the highlight was my thesis; getting to spend a dedicated amount of time focusing on an area of interest and really honing my arguments and analysis. We presented our theses to a group of Art Historians at the end of the process which was really satisfying, especially as it allowed me talk about the wider context of my area and include some items that I couldn’t fit in the word count!
I am a company secretarial assistant for Eversheds LLP. I am studying for my Chartered Secretary exams currently. The role title always confuses people and whilst there is a fair bit of administration involved, I focus on ensuring my clients are compliant with the statutory and legal obligations of UK corporate law. I also provide board support which involves meeting with the boards of companies, minuting their meetings and ensuring they are abiding by the best standards of corporate governance. I fell into the role really, which seems to be par for the course for company secretaries. I went to work for the Co-operative Bank on the business management graduate scheme which helped me define what I enjoyed and wanted from a job. I then saw a role in the Co-operative Group Secretariat which I joined just before the well-publicised crises which hit the Bank and the Group so it was certainly a baptism of fire.
How did and do the skills you acquired when studying History of Art support you in your work today?
We get some fairly obscure queries about corporate law so the research and critical analysis skills I developed come very much into use, as does the ability to speed read! Being able to really draw out the crux of the matter and define the boundaries of the question being asked is a direct result of the teaching at Oxford. I find this a crucial skill when working in the law industry. When I first came to study History of Art at Oxford, I hadn’t studied it previously and hence discovered a whole new world of academic thought and approach. Being able to work in that environment and complete essays on Plato one week to Seurat the next has given me a confidence when approaching new topics. Recent changes in UK law have changed the requirements for companies and I led the department’s response to that, publishing website articles and liaising with clients about it which I think stemmed directly from my time at university. I also write minutes for board meetings which can be up to 6 hours long. Writing essays for discerning academics with an expertise in the essay topic has given me the skill to identify the key items for recording and précis the events of the meeting whilst provided a good representation of the topics discussed.