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Ian Hunter

Where are you from?

Maguiresbridge, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.

What degree pathway did you study at Queen’s?

I studied English & History and graduated in July 2008.

Why did you choose to study History at Queen’s?

Originally I enrolled in 2003 to study Law. However, within a few weeks I realised that I had made a terrible mistake and jumped ship to a degree in English and History the following year. Best decision I ever made. History was a subject that I enjoyed during my A-Levels and I really wanted to take it further at University.

What did you particularly enjoy about studying this subject at Queen’s?

The range of choice within the History Department at Queen’s is great. I studied a wide range of historical topics ranging from International Relations in the early 20th Century, the American Civil War and Popular Culture in the 17th Century. The level of teaching support is also another huge incentive to study History at Queens. The atmosphere in the History Department was always very welcoming and all my lecturers were always more than willing to have a meeting about an essay or exam topic.  

Tell us about any funding you received to help you take this course or any scholarships/prizes you have been awarded?

I was awarded the Esther Ballantine Award in my 3rd year for best History results in the year.

What about studying at Queen’s in general? What was that like?

Queen’s is a great University with plenty of clubs and societies to join. I signed up to the History Society in First Year and 3 years latter I found myself as President. I found it was a great way to meet other people from my course as well as have some informal chats with the academic staff…oh yea, it was also a great laugh and society nights out have become the stuff of legend. I would also strongly recommend potential students to consider studying abroad. There are plenty of opportunities to take a semester or a year out in another country. Between my 2nd and 3rd year I studied in the US on a scholarship funded by the British Council and it definitely changed my life!

What is your current occupation? What are you enjoying about your career?

I graduated into 2008 with a degree in History and English and am currently working within Invest Northern Ireland as an Associate Business Director in our San Francisco office.

While perhaps unknown to me at the time, studying History at Queens’ equipped me with several skills I now use on a daily basis.  Condensing detailed information into salient points, building a clear argument and defending my positions, constructing a interesting narrative that is also a story that people want to listen too – these are just some of the great assets I left Queens’ with and now use as a part of my career.   These skills have proven to be invaluable tools as I present the case for investors in the USA to consider Northern Ireland as their gateway to Europe.  

During my final year of study at Queens’ I also undertook an internship with Stratagem, Belfast’s premier public affairs agency.  The internship was intense and I was surprised by the amount of responsibility I was given.   The experience offered me the opportunity to put my academic skills to use in a professional and dynamic environment.   I would highly recommend any history students to pursue an internship at some stage of their degree.  It will definitely place you at a competitive advantage after graduation and I’m sure it will be a very rewarding opportunity. 

Would you recommend studying History to other students and to study at Queen’s? What advice would you give them?

Always follow your instincts and study the topics which you enjoy. I tried to do something that I hated for a year and I never had any desire to work but if you’re doing something you’re really passionate about you never consider it to be work.