- Jonny Hargreaves
- MSc in African Studies
- Doing Now
- Political and security risk analysis (sub-Saharan Africa)
Why did you decide on the MSc in African Studies at CAS?
I chose Edinburgh because I wanted to enrol on a well-respected Africanist course in a vibrant city that would be better value than studying in London. Being so close to the outdoor spaces of Scotland was also greatly appealing.
What was best about the degree?
The step-up in the student-teacher relationship from my undergraduate days was most refreshing - despite my initial lack of knowledge, I found the course lecturers to be highly approachable, and pleased to cultivate your own interest in the subject, whatever varied tangent fascinated you.
What have you been up to since you graduated?
I spent some time interning as a conflict researcher, with responsibility for Central Africa, at the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London. I then became a freelance political and security risk analyst and journalist specialising in Africa and security affairs. This enabled me to make a number of paid trips to the continent - for which there are few better feelings. I presently work in a small investment fund in London, that specialises in African commodities and mining, and continue visiting the continent, both for business and pleasure.
How did your degree help you when you graduated?
To put it simply, I feel that gaining the MSc made the difference between my continued role in African affairs, and becoming another generic finance professional.
How does your degree help you now?
As African Studies is a relatively rare course, it is often a good conversation point in my daily business role, and especially as an icebreaker. With the internet nowadays, most people can keep abreast of the general news in Africa, but my year on the MSc course gave me the tool-set to analyse information far more cogently than otherwise, and the confidence to go out to Africa itself not just as a simple tourist.