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Take a look at what our alumni have achieved

Take a look at what our alumni have achieved

Our alumni have been successful at continuing their learning and making it the focus of their careers.

Psychology alumni career paths range from journalism and academia to active practice in business. And if you're a second-year student, make sure you read about our micro-placement opportunities to boost your career prospects.

Name: Joanna Swiatek
Subject: BSc Psychology
Graduated: 2010
Place of work: ETS plc
Position: Business Psychologist

ETS plc offers HR consultancy from business psychologists and helps some of the world’s leading companies design and implement employee surveys.

Joanna has worked at ETS since the end of her Masters, following a one-month temporary contract.

What first attracted you to Royal Holloway?

I chose Psychology because I was always interested in understanding human behaviour and people’s motives for doing things. The Psychology course received really high scores in research, teaching and student satisfaction.

The lecturers seemed extremely passionate about sharing their knowledge and experience in managing people’s behaviour at work. The College was everything I was looking for.

What did Royal Holloway teach you?

I had a chance to meet students from all over the world. Such a diverse social and academic environment taught me a lot about other cultures and increased my appreciation of the unique value they can contribute.

My final year project taught me how to effectively manage group work, be a good team player and be able to work on my own. I also developed organisational and time management skills by working part-time during my full-time degree.

What’s happened in your career?

I completed a Masters in Organisational Psychology focusing on both academic research and business application. I applied for a one-month contract with ETS plc which turned into a permanent position as Business Psychologist.

I have been responsible for producing employee engagement reports, using strong interpretive skills to diagnose key areas of strength and development and presenting the data in a visual report format.

Presenting recent projects to Masters students and lecturers at an occupational psychology forum was a great professional achievement for me.

I have a great opportunity not only to learn how the principles of occupational psychology are applied to organisational challenges, but to develop professional networks too.

Name: Alex Jansen Birch
Subject: BSc Psychology
Graduated: 2004
Place of work: Ipsos MORI
Position: Associate Director

Ipsos MORI provides research services to clients on a global basis. It is the only global market research company that is still controlled and operated by market researchers.

Alex has worked there since completing a Masters in Psychology.

What first attracted you to Royal Holloway?

I knew that Royal Holloway had a very good department so was happy to go there. Also, I was looking for a campus-based university as I really like that kind of atmosphere.

What did Royal Holloway teach you?

When I actually started studying Psychology here things changed a bit and I was more inspired to go down this route.

The lifestyle as a student is such that you have time to focus on your studies. There’s no other time in your life when you have that luxury, with enough time to spend with your friends.

The lecturers’ knowledge about their particular area was always inspiring. In your career you have a similar structure to the way you do things, such as writing academic papers and getting things done to a high standard.  

What’s happened in your career?

I didn’t want to go into the clinical side so it was a choice between health and occupational psychology. I decided to do a Masters because you really need it in order to pursue a career in psychology.

I was offered a junior role for a business psychology consultancy, starting on a one-year contract. I was then promoted to Analyst which was brilliant as it was just what I wanted to be doing.

Becoming Chartered was a big thing for me. I had learned a bit about personality theory at Royal Holloway but here I was trained on how to use it properly and it’s one of the things that I still find fascinating.

Name: Sophie von Stumm
Subject: Psychology
Graduated: 2006
Place of work: London School of Economics and Politics
Position: Associate Professor in Developmental Psychology

On completion of her studies at Royal Holloway, Sophie developed her career in academia and was awarded an ESRC post-doctoral fellowship at University of Edinburgh.

She is also currently writing her first book explaining the role of education in society and determinants of educational success.

What first attracted you to Royal Holloway?

I was determined to study Psychology and Royal Holloway was the highest ranking one that made me an offer. I fell in love with Surrey and its beautiful landscape but priority was the course.

What did Royal Holloway teach you?

My studies at Royal Holloway intrigued me enough to pursue psychology further and gave me the skills to do so. There are a lot of choices in terms of classes and assignments both within and outside psychology.

I liked the choice of essay questions enabling students to follow their personal interests within a course module. My thesis topic was different to the research interests of my supervisor but he was nonetheless enthusiastic and absolutely supportive.

What’s happened in your career?

My undergraduate studies played a crucial role in my choice of career as an academic. After completing my MSc and PhD I became a Senior Lecturer before being awarded a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Edinburgh.

As an academic and teacher I try to look after my students in the same way that I was taken care of at Royal Holloway, while in my research career I am able to follow my curiosity and explore new topics.

My latest book explains the role of education in society and determinants of educational success. It was a terrifying project and very different to what I normally write about and I tremendously enjoyed the challenge.


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