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Alumni interviews: Hannah Nicole Simpson

9 July 2014

“I loved my time as a student at Cardiff University. The training and support I received from my School and the wider University as a postgraduate helped me to develop my skills, understanding, confidence and employability.” 


Today we’re chatting to Hannah, who studied the MA in Language and Communication Research before working her way up to being the university’s Postgraduate Recruitment Officer.


Hi Hannah! Can you remember why you chose to come to Cardiff and study at the School of English, Communication and Philosophy?

I always had a fascination with language and communication and had just finished writing some English language textbooks, so when I heard about the Master’s programme I had to apply. I was certain that it would increase my employability in my chosen career path (Communications and Marketing) and I wanted to develop my knowledge at a higher level. I also wanted to be in a better position to do a PhD in the future, if I chose.

What did you most enjoy about your time in Cardiff?

I loved the environment, from the grand Portland stone buildings of the Cathays campus to the numerous, well-stocked libraries and the dedicated postgraduate facilities of the Graduate Centre.

Were there any particular experiences that impact you? 

I valued the opportunity to undertake temporary work through the Students’ Union Jobshop, which led to my securing a full-time job following graduation. I began working for the GP Section in PGMDE and in this role, I developed my administrative skills and prepared myself for the workplace.

Do you remember facing any particular challenges?

Working at postgraduate level is in itself a challenge, and a number of the modules dealt with very complex analytical processes and models. I cannot fault the teaching staff in their ability to explain these complex areas simply, nor my personal tutor Professor Pete Garrett for his dedication and patience!

Do any memories stand out in particular?

I recall a point in writing up my thesis where I found it a real struggle to organise my ideas clearly. I had a few meetings with my (fantastic) supervisor, Dr Frances Rock, and she really helped me to sift through my thoughts. Then there was a total ‘eureka!’ moment where my understanding of how everything worked just clicked together – I have never felt such a rush. To suddenly understand a vast range of complex problems that seemed previously inaccessible made it all worthwhile. It was incredible. I went on to achieve a raw mark of 74% for my dissertation, which made me smile for months!

It must feel strange making the transition from student to employee. How does it feel being back?

It is great to be able to support prospective students and the work of the University as a member of staff. I am very fond of the city, with its extensive parks and numerous attractions. I grew up in Aberystwyth and so the culture and mythology of Wales has always been a part of my life – there’s nothing quite like it elsewhere. I have travelled to (and lived in) many places around the UK and overseas, but Cardiff is the place for me!

What advice would you give to graduates who are leaving Cardiff this July?

Say ‘yes’ to as many opportunities as possible. You never know where the next ‘yes’ will lead you, and if you don’t like it, you can always change your mind and do something else. Take risks, learn new things, never underestimate yourself and remember that hard times are always temporary.