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We aim to maintain longer-term relationships with all our alumni, in order to support their move from study into employment. Such relationships help our alumni, but they also help current students of Middlesex University, of course.

Alumni frequently return to Middlesex University in order to provide masterclasses and share their experience working in the creative arts and industries. Just one example is the ‘How to self-publish’ event we are hosting on 3 November 2021, when three recent alumni of the BA Creative Writing and Journalism are coming to talk about the books they published at the end of their studies with Middlesex University.

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Via our alumni network and creative partners, current students often secure work placements during their studies, enabling them to develop essential employment skills, competencies, experience and professional contacts. Indeed, employers regularly provide feedback that Middlesex University students are both ‘refreshingly grounded’ and have the best ‘practical skills’ around.

The life-stories that our alumni share are packed with insights and learning points. Indeed, it is well-known that self-guided learning can occur when we simply read or hear a story (Story-telling Methodology or Insights Methodology). An example of this approach to learning is provided in Stephen King’s excellent, anecdote-filled book On Writing.

It is in the spirit of this story-telling approach to learning that we offer you this narrative from a Middlesex alumnus, Philipp Sandmann, who has gone on to a stellar career in TV journalism.

Building a future at Middlesex

Philipp Sandmann (2013 Graduate), Political Reporter for RTL and NTV in Berlin

What a time to be alive and what a time to be a journalist reporting on politics. Germany voted in an historic election and the result couldn’t be more dramatic. After 16 years of Christian Democratic (CDU) government, the Social Democrats (SPD) have finally managed to displace them. Not only that, but Angela Merkel’s former party (she has retired) received the worst result in post war history. The Greens managed their best result ever. Evidence of a dramatic shift in interest in German politics, triggered by young voters, who voted for Greens and Liberals, demanding a clear commitment to fighting climate change, but also making Germany a more digital and efficient country. One thing very clear from the Corona crisis: Germany is no longer the efficiency world champion. Either way, the coming’s months will be intense for both politicians and journalists. 

For me, this really is a particularly special time. It’s now eleven years since I started my Media and Cultural Studies (BA) degree at Middlesex University and eight years since I successfully completed it. Little did I know at the time, that I would at some point be interviewing members of the German cabinet, that I would be reporting on live television and would work for the largest German private broadcaster. I can say that I am proud of what I have achieved.

It is a good time to look back on where it all began at Middlesex University. I have very fond memories of my time there. Be it playing for the university football and tennis team, fantastic student parties and enjoying the London night life, but of course also the studies themselves, which gave me the motivation to aim high. Looking back, there is of course always more that one can do as a student. If I had the chance to give my 20-year-old self some advice, then it would probably be; grasp every chance you can get and make the most of these special three years.

One chance I definitely grasped with both hands and the resulting experience gave me the confidence to pursue my career as a journalist. I co-hosted a live recorded TV discussion with Professor Kurt Barling formerly of the BBC. The guest that evening in February 2013, former veteran TV war correspondent and Independent Member of Parliament Martin Bell. Having never been on stage in a TV studio at the time, this really was an exciting lightbulb moment for me. The sentence I will never forget from Martin Bell was when he said: ‘I am the past, you Kurt Barling are the present and you Philipp are the future.’ Hearing this from a renowned journalist gave me that extra push that every young aspiring journalist needs. Every good university needs to create these moments for its students. Middlesex University created one for me which I will treasure forever.

Berlin, October 2021

What a journey! If you are an alumnus of Middlesex University and you would like to develop a longer-term relationship with us, for mutual benefit, you might wish to sign up for our newsletter. If you would like to share your story, you might wish to join us for the annual North London Story Festival or for a one-off learning event. And if you represent an organisation which you feel could realise value by becoming one of our creative partners, please do not hesitate to drop Dr Adam Dalton a line.

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