James Courtney: English Literature

What does your job involve?

I'm a Communications Manager at HSBC Bank Australia. When asked to describe my job I always try to imagine I'm explaining what I do for a living to my Mum - who still has no idea...

My job is divided into two key areas - internal and external engagement - and it's my duty to create engaging content for these two audiences which helps build and protect HSBC's reputation. This content can take many forms - some days I'll be working on a story or an announcement with a broadsheet publication or television network, highlighting recent HSBC research or insights to everyday people across Australia. Other days, I may be required to write a script, hire a film crew and develop a film to help team members overcome an obstacle or explore a new topic.

How did your course prepare you for your job?

I feel most University courses can prepare you for the workplace, they teach the importance of time-keeping, workload management and effective communication. English Literature BA is no different, but the course also opens you to a world of different perspectives, methods of expression and encourages the development of your writing.

During my years as an undergraduate (English Literature BA) and postgraduate (Contemporary Literature MA) student, my ability to craft engaging pieces of written content grew dramatically year-on-year until I graduated (one freezing December morning).

What are your top tips for students wanting to work in your field?

Take every opportunity you can. In doing so, not only are you boosting your network - some of these people WILL become your friend(s) for life - but you're also equipping yourself with vital skills and experiences which will ultimately make you more employable.

With regards to the Communications industry specifically, it's important be curious to the social, economic and cultural changes happening all around you - never be afraid to ask questions. There are stories to be told everywhere, think about what's happening in the world and how your business, client or spokesperson can lead these conversations.


Work hard, but make time to enjoy yourself.

Life's all about balance - don't burn yourself out with too many late nights in the office (or with Netflix). Ultimately, investing yourself too much in one area will only limit your potential in others.

What was your best experience of studying at Liverpool?

My tutors and lecturers. These academics went above and beyond to empower students reading English at The University of Liverpool with knowledge and lasting memories. Thanks again for everything, I sincerely mean it.