Jonathon Foster, BA Business Management with Law

Jonathon Foster

BA Business Management with Law

Can you tell us about your current role?

I am currently working as Senior Parliamentary Assistant to Dr Daniel Poulter MP, Member of Parliament for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich. 

Overall, I have responsibility for: leading on several ongoing projects relating to, for example, planning consent and other matters; progressing complex casework; collecting and analysing data to prepare briefings and reports for use in the Commons Chamber or Select Committees, and; liaising with the media and ensuring that Dr Poulter is briefed and prepared for interviews.

Can you describe a typical day?

A typical day would start with ensuring I am fully up to speed on proceedings in the Chamber taking place later that day and through the week, as well as ensuring that preparations have also been made for Select Committee business that Dr Poulter is participating in. Following this, there will inevitably be many emails that will require responses as well as diary appointments that may need finalising for the week ahead. Occasionally, I may attend meetings either with Dr Poulter or on his behalf with other MPs or Ministers, lobbyists, pressure groups or external organisations and partners. Otherwise, much of a usual day is spent progressing ongoing projects, research, casework and briefings.

What was the application process like?

Applying to work for an MP in Westminster is surprisingly straight forward. Unlike many graduate schemes and graduate-level jobs, the process for applying to work in an MPs office usually consists of a stage 1 interview with the MPs Office Manager followed by a stage 2 interview with the MP. It is likely that candidates will be asked to complete a task ahead of the interviews, but there are minimal lengthy sifting processes and psychometric tests, for example, which tend to make lots of application processes very long!

All current listings for jobs with MPs can be found on W4MP.

How did the university support you through this process?

The University of Liverpool was extremely supportive of my efforts in applying for graduate jobs and has a fantastic range of support available through the Career Studio and the Careers and Employability Service. I made good use of the advice available from Career Coaches to bolster my CV and covering letter. The interview preparation sessions available were also invaluable in learning what to expect during an application process.

How do you feel your degree course prepared you for your current job?

Although my course was not directly related to politics (BA Business Management with Law), the mode of delivery of the course certainly prepared me well for any graduate role. The pedagogy and practice of the Management School provided me with all the tools I needed to develop strong skills in many areas I use daily at the House of Commons from research to communication.

One piece of advice that I was given by Dr Simon Snowden with regard to writing reports was to follow the ‘collect, analyse, interpret, communicate’ model, which I have done since and continue to use on every report and briefing I write today.

Why did you choose the University of Liverpool?

The University of Liverpool immediately stood out to me as an appealing institution as soon as I started considering which University I wanted to go to when at secondary school. The Management School offers a world-class education and is AACSB accredited, placing the school in the top 5% of business schools worldwide.

Furthermore, the extra-curricular offering at Liverpool is exceptional. Whether you are looking for a sport team or society, it is an extremely welcoming environment, located in one of the most welcoming cities in the world. Liverpool itself is bursting with culture and the combination of everything the University has to offer paired with the city of Liverpool itself, made the decision to study at the University of Liverpool very easy.

What was the most rewarding thing about your course, what did you enjoy the most?

The most rewarding aspects of my course were certainly the extra-curricular activities I engaged with. I was fortunate enough to be Vice President of the Business Management Society in my final year, which was an amazing experience to bring people on my course together for social events and to offer great study support and opportunities to boost employability. I was also heavily involved in the representation structures, both in the Management School and centrally in the University, acting as a Course Representative and representing the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Senate meetings whilst studying.

Engaging with extra-curricular activities at University is essential and it is the best way to get as much as you can out of your degree. I enjoyed every moment of my degree and topped it off with a year as an Officer at Liverpool Guild of Students, which plays a crucial part in making sure that all students at the University of Liverpool have the best possible experience from application to graduation.

What are your future career goals?

I have always had an aspiration to work in a sector which has a real way of positively contributing to society. Throughout my studies I have developed an increasing interest in international development and related issues, which has guided my choice to study for my MSc in Global Governance and Ethics at UCL from September this year. Ultimately, I would love to work in the diplomatic service at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, or at an organisation such as the United Nations which can bring real change in so many areas.