Portrait of Harry Ellis

Harry Ellis

Please tell us a bit about yourself, your background etc?

I’m in the final year of my Economics and History degree after having come back from an industrial placement year in the world of finance

What made you want to apply to your course and to Leeds?

I knew I wanted to study either economics or history at university as I enjoyed both at A-level and liked the scope of careers that either option could bring.  I then realised  that studying both together would bring a lot more variety to what I was learning and to potential career routes. I was drawn to Leeds for two main reasons; first, I really liked that the University was situated  close to the city centre.. Secondly, Leeds offers so many different options of what you can study, and you get quite a lot of say in what you do study. 

Are you studying a joint honours course? If so, please tell us why you decided to study two subjects and how you think they complement each other.

I am studying economics and history and this was genuinely because I just wanted as much variety as possible in what I studied and I also found it difficult picking between the two subjects when I was applying to university. Although it seems like an unlikely combination, the two subjects do complement each other quite well as I have done a lot of study involving the history of economics and have therefore been able to incorporate economic theory into history, which I have found to be fascinating. 

What is it that makes you passionate about History?

I find history to be a fascinating subject as it is interesting to see how the world has changed and how what happened has shaped the world we live in today. It is also interesting to see similarities between historical events and current events and how lessons learnt from the past are applied - or not applied.

Which History modules have you particularly enjoyed studying, and why?

My main areas of interest so far have been post-World War II British Politics, especially with regards to economic development and the social changes that have bought us into the 21st Century. I have also just started doing my Final Year Project and Specialist Subject on Indian independence from Britain and the subsequent partition of the country.  So far this topic seems fascinating and I am excited to see how the religious, cultural and political differences between Britain and India, and within India itself at the time of its partition, play their part.

Please tell us more about your work placement year.

I undertook a yearlong work placement at Redmayne Bentley, an independent stockbroking and investment management firm based in Leeds. I undertook 4 rotations throughout the firm including working in the back office and then in investment services, where I did a lot of investment research. The Careers Centre and School of History were very helpful in checking through my CV and covering letter as well as giving me a mock interview and giving me pointers on where to improve.
The placement year has been able to provide me with work experience, particularly in the world of finance.  The experience has therefore enhanced my CV and improved my technical knowledge, which I am hoping will make me stand out when I apply for jobs in the future. It has also helped me realise the scope of jobs out there and given me more of an understanding of what career I wish to pursue. 

What activities have you been involved in outside of your course and what have you got out of being involved? 

Outside of my studies, I am part of the Raising and Giving (RAG) Society and as part of that I was fortunate enough to go on a two-month volunteering trip to Cambodia at the end of my first year. I spent my weeks working at a primary school where I lived on site and would spend my mornings doing building work around the school and my afternoons teaching English to the children. This was a challenging but really enlightening and enjoyable experience and something I would recommend to anyone who gets the opportunity.

What would you say about Leeds as a city and how do you think it has helped you make the most of your time here?

I absolutely love living in Leeds! It is my fourth year here now and I’m still not bored and still finding loads of new and fun things to do or places to visit. The University is laid out over a campus but is a short walk to the city centre. There is never a shortage of activities for students such as nights out and offers at restaurants and bars. 

Do you have any comments about the support you receive from the School of History? 

The School of History offers excellent support with there always being someone on hand to help you with whatever you need. Tutors genuinely want you to do the best you can and are always happy to reply to emails with any questions and have office hours to drop by in or you can arrange another meeting if needs be. Personal tutor meetings also offer lots of support and allow any problems to be discussed and solved very quickly by an experienced member of staff.

What do you plan to do once you’ve finished your course, and how do you think the skills and knowledge you’ve developed at Leeds will help with these plans?

I hope to continue working in finance or do a Masters in International Development and I am now in my final year so I am applying and deciding, however, I am not entirely sure yet what I want to do. A History degree has taught me how to analyse information quickly and effectively to solve problems whilst also thinking critically to create balance and these are skills that are transferrable to pretty much any profession whilst also teaching me to work independently. Economics, on the other hand, has taught me a lot of theory that I am excited to see how it applies to the real world.