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Politics

Tom Danaher

Politics, Philosophy and Economics BA

Tom Danaher, Politics, Philosophy and Economics BA
Tom Danaher was looking for a degree which would be highly regarded by graduate employers.

Why did you choose Manchester?

When making a big decision such as choosing between universities, it’s important to go with your gut feeling. When I visited Manchester after being given a conditional offer, my instinct told me that this was the place for me.

Because I wanted to live in a vibrant city, as opposed to a more campus-style university, Manchester was one of the standout choices. Since I arrived here in 2012, there has been growing investment in the university and the city more generally. It really is a fantastic place to live and study.

Why did you pick your course?

PPE is the perfect degree for anybody who has a keen interest in current affairs, and holds opinions on issues affecting the world around them. I didn’t want to commit myself to one of the three discipline areas when choosing an undergraduate course so PPE was the ideal option.

Choosing my degree programme was the biggest investment decision I had made at that stage in my life. I wanted to make sure that I left university with a respected degree that is highly regarded by graduate employers. PPE certainly does that.

What are the best things about your degree?

One of the great advantages of the PPE programme is that you’re afforded the opportunity to interact with students from other degree programmes, as well as developing a close circle of peers who also study PPE. The PPE Society is a fantastic support network, and the Mentoring system is also very helpful when settling in to the city.

The degree can be quite intellectually challenging. You can go from a lecture on Calculus to a seminar on the Global Poverty. It’s testing, but rewarding! As you progress through your first and second year, you begin to recognise what your strengths are, as well as what you enjoy. Being able to specialise in your final year is a real advantage of PPE at Manchester.

Is there a unit you’ve particular enjoyed? What made it stand out?

I’ve particularly enjoyed studying Elections & Voters this year. The course coincided with the General Election, so we learned about new voter trends as they were emerging.

This course was taught by a lecturer who recently won ‘Political Book of the Year’ for his work on the rise of UKIP - which shows the high calibre of academics that you will interact with here at Manchester.

It also gave me the impetus to pursue my dissertation in this acute area of political science.

How will your degree prepare you for life after Manchester?

Graduating with a good degree classification in PPE opens a lot of doors in the competitive job market. The skills you will acquire on this degree include interpreting complex academic theory, developing opinions on a wide range of issues, and communicating in a reasoned and sophisticated fashion.

I have course mates who are pursuing careers in Law, Diplomacy, Investment Banking, Broadcast Journalism and a number of other areas when we graduate shortly. The options are virtually endless.

Leaving aside the employability aspect, studying PPE gives you an insight into how big decisions are taken, which affect the world around us.

What extracurricular activities/societies you’ve been involved in?

One of the great things about starting university is that you can take up hobbies that you may have wanted to try for a while. There are so many different societies that afford you the opportunity to pursue different interests and connect with new networks of people. If there isn’t one to suit you, create a society from scratch.

Since starting, I’ve played for a sports team, written for The Mancunion newspaper and held two committee positions within the PPE Society. My most recent committee position was the role of Social Secretary for all PPE students. This was particularly fun - there’s no better feeling than arranging an event and watching it pass off successfully after weeks of preparations.

I’ve also held down part time employment throughout my time in Manchester. Living in the biggest city in the North West means that part time jobs are plentiful.

My advice would be to try something new during your time at university. Take up a new sport; try learning a language; or join a strange society. You won’t get a better opportunity to do these things in your life than at university.

Why should a prospective applicant choose Manchester?

Everybody has different criteria to compare universities when making that decision. For me, Manchester ticked all the boxes. There are three main reasons why I would recommend spending your university years in Manchester.

Firstly, because of its Russell Group status, graduating with a strong degree from Manchester will make you stand out. There are always employers from every sector on campus and enticing students to apply for their organisations.

Secondly, there is always something to do in Manchester. There are great restaurants, theatres and music venues around the city – all within walking distance. I’m a big sports fan, so trips to the Etihad and Old Trafford have been plentiful. The nightlife is also second to none – crucially important for any university student.

Finally, the people of Manchester are a very friendly bunch. As a southerner, it took a while to become accustomed to entertaining conversation with random people in public places! In a new and unfamiliar city, it’s reassuring to feel welcome.