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Alumni Profiles                                                        

Abra Bompas (BA History) 

Barrister, One Essex Court     

Abra Bompas

I am a barrister specialising in commercial law, and I practice at one of London’s top commercial sets. I advise and act for clients in the High Court and in international arbitrations.                                                                           

Studying history at UCL for three years was an excellent grounding for my career. I learnt to marshal complex and nuanced arguments orally in my seminars, as well as in my essays, to read and analyse large volumes of material and I developed a self-discipline in relation to work which is essential as a self-employed professional.  Most importantly however, my degree allowed me to spend three years studying subjects that I loved at a high academic level while gaining marketable skills for the future.    


Catherine Deakin (BA History)

Policy and Advocacy Manager, Help the Hospices

Catherine Deakin

In my current role at the national charity Help the Hospices I work closely with government ministers, politicians, think-tanks and the media to influence the national policy agenda on behalf of local hospices and in the interests of people needing end of life care. Since graduating in 2006 I have developed a career as a policy and campaigns professional within the voluntary and community sector, gaining a Masters in Public Policy, co-editing a book on international health policy, becoming a trustee of a national charity and governor of a local primary school as well as campaigning for President Obama in Virginia during the 2012 US presidential election.

Studying history develops your aptitude to think critically, to write succinctly and produce thoughtful analysis and research. The added value of undertaking a history degree at UCL is the chance to build these valued abilities whilst learning from dedicated and supportive academics at the forefront of their fields.

Studying at UCL gives an opportunity to develop your own interests at a prestigious and respected university in the heart of London and within reach of a wealth of libraries and academic institutions. Above all, I would recommend the Department to prospective students for its people and sense of fun. During my time at UCL I made long lasting friendships which continue to grow after nearly a decade.


Steve Drake (Study Abroad at UCL in History, BA History & Economics, Denison University)

Senior Consultant in Strategy & Operations, Deloitte Consulting

Steve Drake

Going into management consulting I assumed that my studies in economics would be critical with a focus on history more of a personal interest. I found out very quickly that history was much more important to my day-to-day work. The skills I built up in researching issues and critically evaluating sources to produce a persuasive argument – as well as communicating that argument – proved to be far more helpful to me in my career. 

The term I spent at UCL was a great complement to my other undergraduate work at Denison University with the opportunity to tap a larger set of courses and diverse perspectives. After graduating from Denison I worked for three years at Deloitte before pursuing my MBA at Harvard and then returning to Deloitte. Through all of these experiences I have continued to draw on abilities developed while studying history.

Jaedan Edman (BA Ancient History) 

SAP Technology Consultant, IBM

Jaedan Edman

The support I received from UCL's History department throughout my time as an undergraduate was exceptional. The administrative staff and lecturers were always encouraging and available to offer advice when needed. In particular when writing my dissertation the advice and guidance provided by my supervisor was outstanding. The department provides students with access to some of the leading scholars in their fields and the opportunity to analyse a wide variety of sources including inscriptions and vase paintings. Studying at UCL is intense but thoroughly enjoyable. The hard work and time invested definitely pays off and I am proud to say that I studied Ancient History at UCL.  

Following on from my Ancient History degree, I joined the consulting arm of IBM, and I am currently on a two year graduate scheme .  I consider the skills that I developed at UCL to have provided me with a solid foundation in terms of research and understanding complex models and ideas.  Within the consulting practice at IBM I am often required to work on different projects at different clients, which in turn provides a good insight of how business at the corporate level can work whilst providing you with hands-on experience.  I have still maintained my links with UCL and the History Department by joining IBM's UCL campus team which is involved in career fairs and CV and interview workshops           

Charlotte Johnsen (BA History)

Charlotte Johnsen

Managing Associate, Linklaters LLP 

I graduated from UCL in 2003 and spent the following two years at law school, first doing a conversion year and then completing the Legal Practice Course, both of which were sponsored by Linklaters LLP. In September 2006 I commenced my training to be a solicitor with Linklaters LLP, where I have been employed ever since. I now sit in the Corporate Department, advising clients on both public and private mergers and acquisitions, equities and general corporate matters.

My years at UCL were an excellent basis for a career in law: learning how to research independently and how to construct an argument on paper and in seminars are skills that transfer very readily to law. In the Corporate Department at Linklaters LLP I am exposed to a large variety of clients and range of legal matters. Each new matter is analogous to taking on a new area of history: much research needs to be done in a short space of time to quickly get up to speed on the client and their proposed transaction. My experience at UCL prepared me for this variety and it is the variety which keeps my job rewarding and interesting.

Edmond Rhys Jones (BA History & Law)

British Diplomatic Service

Ed Rhys Jones

I graduated from UCL in 2003, fascinated by international affairs, but unsure of exactly where I wanted to pursue them. I was delighted to find myself on the Dean’s List, which together with UCL’s international reputation, gave me the confidence to apply to Harvard Law School as a Frank Knox Fellow. Harvard can be a daunting prospect for new arrivals, but I found the same spirit of vigorous but collaborative debate there that I had enjoyed in the best of my classes at UCL. (I also found beanbags in the library and free doughnuts before class.) 

UCL fostered the qualities and skills that continue to serve me well. The history faculty demanded curiosity, rigour and creativity. We were taught to martial our arguments on scant and conflicting evidence and to find our voices in person and print. Its location in the heart of London ensured that we never lost sight of the world beyond our studies. The department supported my year out to work for one of the country’s foremost human rights barristers. I stayed in touch with friends and faculty and returned with renewed enthusiasm for my studies in 2001.

I joined the Diplomatic Service in 2005. The “Cyprus Problem” was my first assignment. We didn’t solve it, but an appreciation of the power of history to shape today and, often tragically, tomorrow facilitated my understanding of a conflict that began in 1964, 1974 or 1570, depending on who you spoke to.

But perhaps my most valuable lessons were courtesy of Professor Kathy Burk, a world renowned expert on transatlantic relations and, happily for her students, wine. I found that the fundamental drivers and dynamics of US foreign policy had not changed all that much between the Marshall Plan of 1947 and my posting to Washington in 2008. It is a privilege to know that some of my telegrams from D.C. will find themselves in the Public Records Office at Kew beside the yellowing papers that I poured over for my final-year dissertation.                                                     

Alex Lal (BA Ancient History and Egyptology) 

Management Consultant, Velrada                                                                           

Alex Lal

I am a Management Consultant, based in Perth, Australia. I advise large, multinational Mining and Resources companies on how to deliver major business improvement and technology programmes. My undergraduate course was split across the History Department and Institute of Archaeology, which provided me with an excellent grounding in analysing large volumes of complex, often ambiguous and/or technical information, identifying themes and patterns, and presenting my findings in a clear and compelling manner. These are all skills I have called on almost every day in my career to-date.               

I also have the UCL History Department to thank as a fellow alumnus sponsored my application and coached me through the interview process for my first graduate position with Accenture!           

Perhaps my degree wasn’t the most obvious route into business and technology consulting, but it goes to show how broad-based and marketable the skills I developed have been. I thoroughly enjoyed my course and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone with an interest in the subject.   

Page last modified on 13 oct 14 15:09 by S Pickett