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Alumni

Mark Henderson

Career Path: Economic Affairs Officer, World Trade Organisation
Location: Geneva

First of all working on European regional projects for Durham County Council and then moving to Newcastle City Council as International Policy Officer, I relied upon my knowledge gained at Northumbria of the EU and its policies and programmes to access funding for the North East of England. I then moved to Beijing and worked for a trade project which was jointly funded by the European Union and the Chinese government. I was the main contact point to the EU Institutions and again called upon the knowledge I had gained in my studies to navigate the complicated structures and communicate in commonly understood terms.

Returning from China to Europe, I took up a role as a trade negotiator with the Directorate General for Trade of the European Commission. Again, this called for use of the fundamental elements of my Northumbria University course, notably including the elements of EU law which were covered in the course.

I think I have had a rewarding and interesting career so far and have realised some of my professional dreams, also thanks to the start I had at Northumbria University. I would be pleased to share these experiences with current students.

What are you doing now?Mark Henderson

In August 2018, in part because of Brexit, I moved to the World Trade Organization to take up a role supporting developing countries to implement the WTO's Trade Facilitation Agreement. With the EU as a major player in WTO negotiations and a major funder of the facility for which I work, my university course is still an essential element of my daily tasks. I work on a daily basis with developing countries across the globe to support their understanding of WTO agreements and to seek assistance to implement reforms which help them to participate in the multilateral trading system and take benefit from it.

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?

The specific course combining deep insight into the European Union, its institutions, law, politics and economics alongside French language study was the major factor in my decision.

What was it like studying at Northumbria?

Studying at Northumbria was a positive challenge, with a good mix of lectures, tutorials, group work and individual projects. Staff were demanding, but supportive and always seemed keen to discuss matters in depth, sparking my intellectual curiosity.

How connected was your course with industry?

There was the opportunity for one student to work in Brussels for the third year of the course.

If you took on a placement during your course how did you feel this helped you in your career/ with your studies?

I successfully targeted this opportunity and it proved to be a turning point for my career. I still call upon the hands on learning I gained in that year for my current career.

What was the best thing about your course?

It gave me the foundations for an exciting and rewarding career. I have been able to fulfil personal and professional ambitions and have worked around the world, all based on the start I made at Northumbria.

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/ give your career an edge?

The year working in Brussels was the most significant element of the course in terms of my professional development.

Which skills/knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now throughout your career?

The understanding of the Institutions of the European Union and their functioning that I gained during my degree at Northumbria, enabled all of the subsequent steps I have taken in my career.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

The challenging and interesting study atmosphere among like-minded and motivated students, who became good friends.

What advice would you give somebody who is considering studying at Northumbria?

Go for it, it can be the foundation for an exciting and rewarding career at the highest level.

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in three words?

Rewarding, positive, fundamental

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