Produced by: Erin Eldridge
🎙 Our guest mentor is a Policy Advisor for the UK Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, Mahek Mehta.
📻 In this podcast:
Mahek shares how she found passions in environmentalism and community building through
her studies. She speaks candidly about her positive experience working in the government, from the changes she has seen in working conditions to the unique path she took to her current role.
Mahek offers her best advice on how to navigate career uncertainty and continue building
“identity capital” when you feel stuck. Listen to the full podcast for a heartening conversation that will help you foster resilience and reflect on your potential to make the greatest impact.
Mahek has worked across the Civil Service in three government departments, and completed the Summer Diversity Internship Scheme (SDIP). She previously worked at HM Treasury on the
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and currently acts as the Head of Clean Energy and
Advanced Economies in BEIS. Mahek has a BA in History and International Relations from
Loughborough University, including an ERASMUS at Maastricht University, and a MSc in
Environment and Sustainable Development from UCL. In her free time she enjoys reading,
growing vegetables and learning about the built environment.
Here is a skip time for you:
[01:00] Can you give us a brief introduction about yourself?
[02:17] You have extensive experience working in the UK government. Can you speak to why
you decided to pursue development in a public capacity as opposed to working in the private
sector? What are some of the benefits and drawbacks of the public sector in your opinion?
[05:36] You’ve also held a variety of different positions across a range of departments during
your government experience. Can you walk us through the path you took between your first
internship and your current role? Were you met with any significant obstacles or frustrations
during your advancement?
[11:11] As a specialized environmentalist, how did you find your niche in international
development? What advice do you have for students or early career professionals who are
eager to find their particular passion?
[13:47] Did you have any initial fear when it came to narrowing down your specialization? What would you say to listeners who are hesitant to choose a path for fear of limiting their options?
[15:50] Our listeners are always interested in hearing about field work experiences. Can you tell us about your time in Sierra Leone and how it has contributed to your career?
[19:32] Many aspiring international development professionals and social scientists in general
are inhibited by costs associated with entering the industry. What advice do you have about
smart financial navigation in the face of unpaid internships, fieldwork, contracted positions, and so on?
[22:37] The gap between studying during university and applying knowledge in a career can be difficult to bridge. Are there any choices you made early on in your career that you would have changed with the knowledge you have now? What do you wish you had been taught in school whether it be logistics, hard, or soft skills?
[28:38] What is the best piece of career advice you would give your younger self?
[31:46] Any final thoughts?
THANK YOU MAHEK FOR SITTING DOWN WITH US AND SHARING YOUR HONEST CAREER ADVICES!!!!!
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Interested in the story behind The RE: Project? Check it out: here
Why should you join the RE:Project Community?
Our mission is to re-think, re-skill, and re-imagine the future of work for those in social science-related fields, with a focus on International Affairs and Development. We believe that technological changes have radically altered the way we work by disrupting skills requirements, creating challenges for young social scientists who largely rely on soft skills. Therefore, those pursuing generalist or qualitative disciplines will have to re-skill in an oversaturated job market favoring STEM and tech.
However, most universities’ career services do not yet offer such robust training for students. At RE: Project, we seek to help millennials and Gen Zs not only find a job, but build dynamic, “future proof” careers. We offer an active platform that demystifies career possibilities, helps build professional networks, and supports re-skilling for a changing job market.
At our core, we seek to reduce growing unemployment among young social scientists in an increasingly technologised job market. Our cutting-edge content allows our community members to stay current and learn from experts at the forefront of their industry.
In the short-run, we offer tailored career support by creating curated real-life, authentic content generated by real people of the millennial generation working the industries. Practitioners with 4–7 years of experience can offer as many insights (or more!) as 50-year-old CEOs and Directors about how to break into the industry.
This way, young job seekers can interact with mentors using social media live (visit our Linkedin page, Instagram coming soon), and blog posts.
User-generated blog posts, interviews, and tips will also be very welcome.
In the long run, the ultimate goal of this platform is to grow into the forefront community for the Future of Work for social scientists.