Yasmin Marshall

MA International Relations, 2017

Yasmin Marshall

I found the teaching and support at Brookes outstanding. The class sizes were small so I was able to contribute as much as I liked and ask questions. The lecturers were always great at acknowledging my point of view and adding to it so that I had an even more thorough understanding of the topics. They were also very supportive and responsive with questions via email and during office hours. Therefore, if you put the effort in, you see the rewards

Yasmin worked in Marketing for four years before deciding to Study an MA in International Relations at Oxford Brookes University in order to change her future career path, to better help people and add more value to the world.

Having finished my bachelor’s degree in Classical Studies in 2013, I worked in Marketing for four years and also studied Economics and Justice at the School of Economic Science to gain an understanding of the Global Political Economy. However, feeling unfulfilled in and unhappy with my career I decided to pursue a Masters in International Relations at Oxford Brookes University with the hope of changing my future career path to better help people and to add more value to the world.

Having been out of academia for a while, I was concerned by the advanced language and material when reading my first few articles; however I found the teaching and support at Brookes outstanding and I was quickly comfortable in an academic environment again. The class sizes were small so I was able to contribute as much as I liked and ask questions. The lecturers were always great at acknowledging my point of view and adding to it so that I had an even more thorough understanding of topics. They were also very supportive and responsive with questions over emails and in office hours. Therefore, if you put the effort in, you see the rewards. Oxford is also a fantastic city for history and culture, and working at the Bodleian library as a Masters student is a must!

I particularly liked the structure of the course and the choice of modules. I was concerned that I had no prior knowledge of International Relations but the first semester gave an excellent, broad overview of the subject. The semester also covered research practices, which were highly valuable for writing my assignments and my dissertation. In the first semester, I also began to develop my areas of interest, which I was able to explore more specifically in the second semester, by choosing from a great variety; the modules which best matched my interests. The course’s assignments were also highly relevant and very flexible allowing me to invent and research my own questions, again allowing me to study what really interested me.

I personally became increasingly interested in women and gender in politics and this ultimately became the topic of my dissertation. I researched whether the day-to-day gender discrimination that the everyday woman faces is reflected in the experiences of female political leaders running for national office. I studied the autobiographies, speeches and interviews of Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher, Benazir Bhutto and Hillary Rodham-Clinton to understand if the gender biases they faced in their political pathways, leading up to running for national office, were similar or idiosyncratic to other women globally. I’ve always been very interested in gender equality and diversity, it’s been a huge part of my life from a young age and I’ve always struggled to understand why there are so few women represented in political institutions across the world. My MA in International Relations has allowed me to investigate this and provided me with the skills to hopefully change this dynamic in the future.

A master’s course is a real challenge and can be very busy at times; I therefore have also learned how to prioritise work, while maintaining a social life. It has taught me how to be critical and not believe everything I read, especially with regards to the media! The course has also greatly helped me with my research, reading, analytical and written communication skills and has given me a better understanding of gender, which I now apply to my career.

I currently work for the Oxford Brookes Business School as a Research Assistant in the Centre for Diversity Policy Research and Practice, working on projects to promote diversity and gender equality within workplaces, I feel that my hope, of changing my future career path to better help people and to add more value to the world, is being fulfilled and that my decision to undertake a Masters in International Relations facilitated that and I now also have ambitions to pursue a PhD in future!