Nick Smith, Alumni, School of Psychology

Nick Smith

I have been working in and with non-profits since graduating from Leeds. My first project was with Raleigh International in Malaysia with 120 other people from the city. I then volunteered in Leeds when I returned. Without a clear calling, I decided to try and get a role in a large company graduate trainee programme. 5 years later with Cable & Wireless, I had gained fantastic business experience and decided that I needed to follow my heart into the non-profit sector. I have held all sorts of roles from volunteer to National Director, to Trustee and consultant, and have specialised in education and sport for the past 15 years or so. It has been an incredibly varied and rewarding career.

A degree from the School has benefited me in the workplace hugely, both the Philosophy and Psychology. How to construct an argument and how to develop relationships. They are both critical in the business environment and I often fall back on the foundations of my learning from Leeds. It’s not just what I was taught, but how I was taught (I had excellent tutors and lecturers in both subjects) and how I had to adapt to the environment. The course was very challenging but I was lucky to gain great experience through my studies at Leeds.

If I could, the advice I would give to myself now whilst studying would be don’t worry too much or overcomplicate things (with philosophy in mind). My strategy was good though - I was in the library first thing every morning if I didn’t have a lecture, irrespective of what went on the night before. It wasn’t always productive but it has given me a mindset and attitude that I still carry with me today.