Queen Mary Alumni

Alumni profile - Alexandra Millman

I’m quite proud of being able to work in Paris (for the time being!) I come to work every day and speak in two different languages, and I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to exercise my brain and my professional interests in this capacity.

(International Relations (Paris) MA, 2020)

 

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Could you tell us about your journey to Queen Mary? Why did you choose to study the MA in International Relations?

I started looking into doing a master's abroad when I was a senior at college, around early 2018. I was curious about being able to do a Master’s in France and looked at a few programmes, then found the programme in International Relations at the University of London Institute in Paris. Although I double majored in International Relations and French in college, I did hesitate before doing another master's because I thought that a Law degree or an MBA might be more relevant. However, after doing a one-month internship with the Commonwealth Attorney in Harrisonburg, Virginia, I realised that Law wasn’t necessarily my path.

After working for a year in Northern Virginia, my mentality shifted and my interest was re-ignited to go to France, network with people, and open a different chapter in my life. Ultimately, I chose Queen Mary because I liked the programme options and I also liked that the programme was only for a year because it was more financially feasible for me, and the location was next to Les Invalides, so it was well-served by transportation.

What aspects of your degree did you enjoy and what were your most memorable moments at university?

I really enjoyed course readings and conducting research on topics such as “Empires, systems and states: great transformations in international politics”, and “Sovereignty and Territorial Borders in a Global Age", because they gave me an opportunity to learn more about more complex topics in IR. We were able to study war, peace, the idea of the state, borders, drones, foreign aid and empires.

No matter what career you pursue, it is important to always grow your network and meet people, because it will open you up to different perspectives and potentially inspire you to try another field in the future.

My most memorable moments at university were seeing my classmates on a Friday, studying at the library during the week, attending weekly events on different IR lectures, and actually writing my essays! I love researching various topics and, over time, my writing and critical thinking improved.

You recently began working for Affluences as a Business Developer. Could you tell us about your work and provide some insights into any projects you are currently working on?

I used to work in public sector sales with Adobe, so after having graduated, I became interested in customer success and various Business Development roles. I loved working with clients and being able to discuss different projects every day, so I wanted to exercise my work strengths and competences while searching for roles where I could grow. I applied to Affluences, and after several interviews received an offer! In my current role, I am exposed to new responsibilities and different ways of thinking, especially strategy. I strive to bring a lot of energy and focus, but it is also important to be open to self-improvement and be able to listen, so that you can take in feedback and use these skills to meet new clients. I am constantly engaging new clients (i.e., university libraries), and taking meetings to introduce them to our company, our value, and our client network. Each time we meet with someone, the meeting can transform into a project with short term and long-term objectives, which I love because it allows me to take more responsibility while bringing unique challenges.

What made you enter this field? What opportunities did you see?

I am interested in digital transformation and Business Development because they fit well with my strengths - my energy and excitement for client relations, my determination for challenges and my willingness to grow.

At Affluences, I saw an opportunity to own and drive the territory in the United Kingdom, which meant that I would come to understand the business cycle and how to work with clients in this country. I also saw opportunities to acquire experience internationally, because we can potentially travel on-site in normal time.

Who has been your biggest influence and why?

Probably my boyfriend. I stayed in France during the pandemic, and he was the biggest supporter of my work. He helped me stay positive and reminded me that I could do anything that I set my mind to.

In your career to date, what achievements are you most proud of?

I’m quite proud of being able to work in Paris (for the time being!) I come to work every day and speak in two different languages, and I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to exercise my brain and my professional interests in this capacity.

I’m also really proud of my dissertation because I wrote it on international development projects, specifically in sub-Saharan Africa.

What are the open questions you would like to see addressed in your field?

I think it would be interesting to study how we work with clients and more so with technology. There are so many startups which are aiming to transform the way that we understand customer behavior digitally. How will technology play a role in shaping our future decisions? How will we use data, especially to drive decisions that change our everyday habits and behaviors?

What practical advice do you have for students interested in pursuing careers outside their degree discipline?

I think it’s a great thing to do! Sometimes you end up studying something and working in something completely different. However, it depends on the investment that you make. No matter what career you pursue, it is important to always grow your network and meet people, because it will open you up to different perspectives and potentially inspire you to try another field in the future.

Where do you see yourself in 2030?

I hope to be a director or project/sales/partner manager in the future, depending on what happens. I can picture myself living in France, still working and potentially with a family – I’m always open! I’m a very driven person and I’d love to advance in my career, so we’ll see what happens.

If you would like to get in touch with Alexandra or engage her in your work, please contact Nathalie Grey at n.grey@qmul.ac.uk.