During his MA Mike was given the opportunity to apply for an internship in policy making.
He undertook an internship at the housing charity, Shelter, where he researched government policy about the private rental sector to help Shelter propose a new model for rental agreements and contracts.
During his internship Mike developed his research skills as well as learning how to explain a complex problem to non-expert audiences.
Mike, Politics placement:
I took a Politics module on case studies in British Policy Making and the Politics Department had organised internships for students. We provided our CVs and a personal statement and were interviewed both internally in the Politics Department and externally by the organisations that were interested in taking internships. I was lucky to get an internship at Shelter, the housing charity. I was mainly working on policy about the private rented sector because Shelter was trying to develop a proposal for a new model of rental contracts between landlords and tenants in that sector.
Top three attributes developed through an extracurricular activity:
Adapt my understanding to new and unfamiliar settings:
One attribute was being able to apply general research skills to problems that I hadn’t come across before. Because what they were looking for was not purely academic, it was trying to relate the evidence to some real life problems, so it involved trying to work out what the sources of information would be for that and how to access them.
Explain and argue clearly and concisely:
I started off writing up my findings in quite an academic way but then I went though a crash course with my mentor at Shelter on how to turn that into something that was more accessible to different audiences. They have to communicate quite a complex subject to a whole lot of different audiences in a lot of different formats especially with social media.
Possess the skills to influence, negotiate and lead:
Some of it was really around influencing and to a certain extent negotiating on things because it was about coming up with practical solutions, not purely academic ideas. I had to influence people to persuade them that what I was suggesting would achieve their objectives, was feasible, wouldn’t outrage any other interest groups and involved a certain amount of negotiation around how far should we go on certain points.