It all started when...
"I was motivated by my experience of working for several months in a city PR firm which dealt with private equity companies and hedge funds. Long hours, extreme pressure, zero interest from an intellectual point of view and no room for fun or personality. Just the corporate machine with only the promise of a job down the line in Goldman Sachs or JP Morgan where I would get more of the same, but better pay. After I left that job, I decided that for me, there was no substitute for a job which I was actually interested in. I have personally always been fascinated by war and the military - humanity at its worst, best and most ingenuous all mixed together and coupled with politics on the geopolitical scale.
It took me several months of searching for an interesting job, during which time I published an academic paper and presented on nuclear weapons (subject of my MSc dissertation) to the Project on Nuclear Issues (PONI) summer conference at Sandia Nuclear Weapons laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Finally, I spotted an opening for an internship at RUSI and managed to get it. After 3 months of fascinating work there as an intern, surrounded by kind, interesting and intelligent people, I landed a research analyst position and haven't looked back.
RUSI is a defence and security think tank which provides research, analysis, events and publications for governments, the MoD, the media, industry and corporations. My role as a research analyst in the military sciences team is to support on large research projects, write and publish my own articles and papers, visit military bases, and run events. This week I met and talked to the head of the US Air Force, and that sort of high level access is routine in my job. I have also been interviewed on BBC's Newsnight as RUSI's expert on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, as well as quoted on radio and in the main newspapers, most recently the FT.
My plans for the next few years at least are to stay at RUSI and continue to build my reputation in the industry and the media as an expert on airpower and combat jets in particular. This will enable me to continue to publish work, make contacts and enhance my value as a subject matter expert. I may decide to do a PhD in a few years time but at the moment I think it is more likely I may eventually take a job with a specialist security consultancy such as McKinsey, or go into industry or the MoD as a specialist.
My MSc at LSE gave me the academic credibility to pursue a career where success comes from intelligent thought as opposed to (as my old boss put it) 'being reliable, putting in the long hours and not complaining'. It also gave me the opportunity to make contacts all over the world, given the international flavor of the student body and the staff, and get my first serious academic journal paper published on the back of my final dissertation. "