Hugh Pickering

Degree: BA Anthropology

Year of graduation: 2015

Current place of work: Deloitte

After gaining a University of Exeter degree in Anthropology in 2015, Hugh went on to work for the multinational professional services firm Deloitte. Below he talks about his time at Exeter and offers some advice.

Have you a special memory about your academic school / a lecturer that most stands out?

I had a great relationship with the Anthropology department throughout my time in Exeter. Right from the off they were interesting, personable and really welcoming, and over the years I got pretty involved. One highlight was doing an SCP (Student Campus Partnership) internship which involved me helping one of the lecturers with a piece of research which we used to change departmental policy on marking and feedback. It was a really great opportunity and good fun, and also a nice way to earn a bit of holiday cash. The same lecturer went on to be my dissertation supervisor and also taught the lion’s share of my core modules. Developing those kinds of relationships over the years were another highlight.

What did you learn from your degree that has particularly helped you in your career?

Working to tight deadlines! It’s a bit of a student cliche but nothing prepares you for the working world quite like having to produce decent work in a short space of time. Other than that, any social science degree teaches you how to think critically and develop your own viewpoint from a range of sources. That never stops being useful. From Anthropology, I learnt the value of being skeptical and inquisitive, and an awful lot of good dinner-table conversation. Everyone likes learning about tribes.

What advice would you give current students?

Firstly, don’t worry if you don’t get it right the first time around. I had a stab at Physical Geography before I realised it wasn’t for me and switched over to Anthropology. A difficult decision at the time, but probably one of the better ones I made over the past four years.

Secondly, when it comes to job hunting, make sure you use your degree to your advantage as much as possible. It sounds obvious, but I applied for lots of roles where I was rejected out of hand because what I’d studied didn’t really relate to the position. Once I started applying to companies that were looking for Anthropologists, I (not that surprisingly...) fared much better.

Lastly, enjoy it. It’ll all be over far sooner than you realise.