In our ‘PhD Journeys’ series, we focus on the experiences of LSE alumni after their PhD – this blog explores the career trajectory of Dr Magdalena Delgado…
Magdalena is a Privacy and Data Policy Manager at Meta’s Public Policy team in London.
She completed her PhD in International Relations at LSE in 2016, where she also held various teaching positions during and after her doctoral studies. Now Magdalena works with internal and external stakeholders to inform, develop, and manage platform policies to protect users’ privacy on Meta’s products. She first joined Meta (then known as Facebook) as an Investigator to identify, manage and mitigate risk associated with the US election in 2020. Prior to joining Meta, Magdalena worked in HSBC’s Financial Intelligence Unit, where she conducted political risk research and data analysis to assess the Bank’s financial crime risks. Prior to her PhD she also worked for a year at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London, contributing to research on international affairs.
Be willing to learn
Learning is a key feature of Magdalena’s career story as she has gained knowledge in a number of different roles and organisations. It can be scary not knowing what will happen at the end of your PhD, and reaching out to LSE alumni helped Magdalena understand more about the employment landscape for PhD graduates in London. It was through these networks and connections that opportunities began to be revealed and curiosity paid off. With hindsight, it became obvious that concepts and theories from her International Relations course would be needed in the political risk and financial crime parts of the finance industry, and it was through some fixed term contracts that Magdalena built experience which led to her first full time position at HSBC.
Make bold moves
Learning continued on the job and Magdalena’s roles changed often within this large organisation. Moving, learning, and moving again is another theme. She learned to love numbers more than she anticipated whilst also building her confidence in her key strengths such as writing and working with people. It was this combination of skills and a growing interest in the big tech sector that motivated her to make a bold move – moving away from friends and family to work in Ireland at Facebook’s European HQ. This was only for 12 months and soon she was able to relocate back to London.
Learn from experience
Being bold, flexible, and coping with setbacks are attitudes that have helped Magdalena at several stages in her career so far. After not receiving the post doc funding she was promised, Magdalena learned to shield herself from uncertainty. Her advice to others includes being honest with yourself about your strengths and priorities. For some, family and location may matter more than the job role or organisation, so listen to yourself and take action when you are not satisfied. Making stepping stones towards an imagined future can seem daunting but will expose you to more opportunities. Also keep in mind that Magdalena’s current job did not exist when she left LSE so she could not have known about it then. The labour market changes quickly so it’s good to keep an open mind about the world of opportunities out there.
Work your way up
Getting in is the most difficult part of a job search. Magdalena advises PhD students to be very clear about how you can solve the specific problem the recruiter needs fixing. Try not to overwhelm them with too much non-essential information about yourself and everything you have done. Even talking about just one project in the right level of detail is enough to show you will be of use. Always remember that your first job role does not define you or your career. You can be flexible and become known for other things too, then gradually progress onwards into roles which are increasingly satisfying.
Questions for you
How will you learn about roles, organisations and, most importantly, yourself in your career journey?
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