Having just completed both his undergraduate and masters degree here in the Government Department, Peter Wilson reflects on his time here at the school and provides a few tips for new LSE students.
You have completed both your UG and MSc here in the LSE Department of Government. What has been the highlight of your time at LSE?
I have had a fantastic time throughout my four years at LSE, so it is hard to pick just one highlight. If I did have to choose, however, it would have to be taking the Foundations of Political Theory module (GV408) in the first term of my masters. Firstly, it was my introduction to everyone on my masters course as every Political Theorist is required to take it, and so it was the start of many of the great friendships I made over the year. Secondly, academically it took my Political Theory knowledge to another level by giving me a really strong understanding of some of the key foundational methodological debates in the field. Finally, the professors teaching it, Kai Spiekermann and Christian List, were wonderful. They are great lecturers and lead really good class discussions. Kai was my undergraduate dissertation supervisor, and Christian was my master’s dissertation supervisor, so it was a great to have a module where they both taught me.
What has been your biggest achievement during your time at the school?
Without a doubt, my proudest moment at the LSE was being one of the three winners of the Department of Government Dissertation Prize for my undergraduate dissertation. I had really enjoyed the dissertation process and had worked hard on it throughout my final year as an undergraduate and it was amazing to have it all pay off and receive a prize for it at graduation. I didn’t even know that the prize even existed before I sat in my seat for the graduation ceremony, so it was a really nice surprise! It was the icing on the cake of a wonderful three years.
What advice would you give to our new students?
My biggest piece of advice for new students would be the following: look into all that LSE has to offer and capitalise on it. It is easy to miss out on amazing opportunities if you aren’t proactive and take the time to take a proper look at the incredible number of services and activities LSE offers. At one point I needed to improve my excel skills for a summer internship. After a little searching I found out that LSE offers a huge variety of IT training courses. In my final year, I was looking to try a new activity. I came across the LSE Canoe Club, and the next weekend I was having a great time on the water playing Canoe Polo. If there is some activity you want to try, a skill you need to acquire or help you need LSE almost certainly offers it if you take the time to look for it. My mistake in my first year was thinking that all this would fall into my lap. Your LSE experience is what you make of it, so take advantage of all the benefits while you can!
How has LSE shaped your next steps?
LSE has been very important in helping me figure out the future path I want to pursue. The research assistant role the Department of Government offered to me in the summer of my first year helped me see that I am passionate about research. Since then, the careers department has provided me with a lot of useful advice on different research career paths and on applications for internships and jobs. Perhaps more than anything, however, my academic experience and the mentoring I have had from the professors in the Department of Government has left me in a great position to (at some point) pursue academia further if I so choose.
What are your future career plans?
For the moment I am searching for jobs relating to policy research, and have mainly been looking at jobs in think tanks or non-profit organisations. In the long term, however, I can imagine myself being tempted back into academia and pursuing a PhD in Political Theory.
Note: this article gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Department of Government, nor of the London School of Economics.