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George Vellidis

BA Classical Studies: Marketing Director, WWF (World Wildlife Fund) Greece

Why did you choose Royal Holloway for your degree?

It's weird to go back and try to remember how I first came across Royal Holloway. Yes, back then in the “dark ages” when the internet was not part of our lives (because here you are, reading everything about the the university in a few clicks!), you only had propsectuses and the ratings of universities you could get from various agencies and offices. My first search was done in the British Council at my hometown, Thessaloniki in Greece. I was looking for universitities that scored high in Classics, and Royal Holloway was one of my main options.

So, I applied and a few months later was asked to visit for an interview. Needless to say that entering the campus, I stared at the Founder's Building and said to myself: “no matter what, no matter why, no matter how, if I don’t make it here, I will surely die!” It was love at first sight, and a love that you can’t easily let go… The people, the campus, the overall feeling, the department itself – It was an easy and clear decision for me.

How did your time at Royal Holloway help your future career?

I'll try not to describe it like a feel-good movie, but my time at Royal Holloway literary defined my life: I was lucky enough to meet my future wife while she was studying Media Arts. So, what will you get when you graduate from Royal Holloway? A lovely spouse (I'm kidding, though it may of course be possible), great academic value and the absolute best experience of student life.

Classical Studies, for those who don't pursue an academic career, works pretty much like a Swiss army knife for later life. It equips you with tools you can just open and use anytime you need them.  That was certainly the case for me. I developed my analytical and writing skills and a very sophisticated understanding of how civilization, art and society evolved through time.

I had my studies right in front of me while I was working as a project manager for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, and now I read Homer and Greek Mythology to my five-year-old son before he goes to sleep.

What do you do now and what advice would you give to anyone thinking about a career in your sector?

I have been working for WWF, the global conservation organization, for the past eight years and I am Marketing Director in the office in Greece. While working here, I also completed an MSc in Marketing and Communications at the Athens University of Economics, which was an enlightening experience that further enhanced my career skills.

Non-profit marketing is hard work. But it’s also very creative and satisfying, especially when you reach your goals. Working in the NGO sector certainly pays you back in personal satisfaction. You usually get to work with people that are passionate and focused on the mission.  There are many job opportunities in the broader NGO sector, so if you're passionate, engaging and believe that change can happen, a career in an NGO is something you should seriously consider.



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