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Maria Barrett

Mathematics with Finance and Economics BSc (Hons)

Maria undertook a placement with the Civil Service, whilst studying on BSc Mathematical Science with Finance and Economics.

1.    Why did you decide to do a placement while at City, University of London?

I was interested in seeing how what I had learnt in my degree so far could be applied in the working world. I also wanted to explore different career options, as I was still undecided as to what I wanted to do after university. I believe doing a placement is the best way of seeing if a particular sector is for you or not. Doing a placement also gives you a big opportunity to develop new skills that otherwise may have been difficult to gain during education.

2.    Where was your placement and what was your role?

My placement was with the Civil Service, in particular the Department for Work and Pensions. I was an operational research analyst as part of the digital and channel shift analysis team. I was immediately trusted with important projects including evaluating pilots in order to improve current, and implement new government digital services. I was given the opportunity to provide analysis to a wide range of clients, including the director general, and gain insights into how the Government works from the inside. I was also very fortunate to be part of a group of analysts that were investigating new analytical techniques and see how Big Data could be beneficial to Government.

3.    What has been the most important thing gained from your placement?

I gained an invaluable and unique insight into the working world. When looking for a job in the future I now have another set of considerations and priorities that are important to me, which I would not have known otherwise. On a personal level the one thing that I saw a big difference was in my confidence. I am now less afraid of putting my ideas out there and talking up in meetings, I now believe my contributions make an impact.

4.    What did you do after graduating? If you are yet to graduate, what do you plan to do after graduating?

I am still interested in being an analyst in public policy and have a keen interest in climate change. During my placement I job-shadowed at the Department for Energy and Climate Change where I saw how the analysts there used models to influence renewable energy policy and carbon emissions targets. I also have family connections in Brazil that work in this area so after I graduate I plan to travel there and work in environmental modeling for a while.

5.    Anything else you would like to highlight about City?

City is in the heart of London and I've really enjoyed exploring the city! City also has many international students and I now have friends from all over the world, which I look forward to visiting after I graduate.