Amina Adjerid graduated in 2018 in International Politics from City, after which she worked in the UK’s Ministry of Defence. Currently working in the Cabinet Office as a Private Secretary & Chief of Staff, Amina advises key senior officials.
We caught up with Amina to see how studying at City helped to get her where she is today, her journey, as well as hear her advice for future students wishing to study International Politics at City.
Why did you choose to study at City?
I actually did a year at a different university initially studying International Relations, but as the university was located in Brighton I felt I wasn’t getting the university experience I wanted - as well as not seeing my ability to network and ultimately secure a job in London.
That’s when I decided to complete my second and third year at City University. I really liked how City’s course was set up, in the sense that there’s a nice mixture of modules that I could choose from so that was a key factor for me.
What was your experience of studying at City?
So, as I mentioned City was able to provide me with a great course that had broad module choices. This was really great for me as I was still unclear as to the line of work that I would eventually be going for once I finished.
The selection of the modules and the tutor’s insight into those areas was really helpful for me in deciding later on. Also, with City being in located London it was really inspiring for me to see the areas that I would one day want to work in.
I would also say a really big point was that I was coming into my second year at City so thought I was going to miss out on making friends there, but that couldn’t be further from what happened.
Straight away I found my group of friends which made my experience of university really enjoyable. I’d also say that City has an extremely diverse student and academic body and that really was something I liked to see and helped to develop how I see the world and connect with people.
I remember my favourite module at City was on security and defence. The experience of studying that module really opened my eyes up to what I wanted to do and helped me to build the foundation of my career!
How was life after City?
It’s always tricky leaving university, I was definitely in panic mode not being a student anymore. However, City gave me focus, so whilst I was applying to lots of jobs I was selective about what they were. I was set on working for the Civil Service and eventually I got an interview and got a job! I would also say that the things that I’m doing day to day in my job are very much linked to what I learned in my time at City.
For example, in my current role I provide advice to a senior official, which I wouldn’t be able to do as successfully without the theoretical underpinning of public policy that City gave me. I also think that having a degree from City really gave me the credibility to move forward confidently through interviews. When I got my job with the Ministry of Defence it was a really exciting time for me.
I remember feeling I had impostor syndrome like I was not good enough to be there or ‘why would they trust me!?’, but again having that ammunition in the form of a degree from City helped to calm that side of my brain!
What advice would you give to students starting out at City?
Pick a module, don’t be hesitant about that. There are so many modules to choose from so if you don’t like it you can change it! Get involved with as much as you can and enjoy your time! University goes so quickly, so really soak up as much as you can from the different tutors, the careers services, other students – everyone will have something new to teach you!