What can we learn from Mhairi Black MP?

Mhairi Black has become one of the most talked about and inspirational MPs of our time. She was 20 when she made her Maiden Speech which by the end of the day had 11m online views and was trending in Nigeria. She continues to capture hearts and minds for her no-nonsense criticism of Westminster.

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Who is Mhairi Black MP?

Whilst studying in her final year undergraduate at the University of Glasgow, Mhairi became a Member of Parliament for Paisley and Renfrewshire South in the 2015. Her landslide victory over Douglas Alexander, Shadow Foreign Secretary, sounded the collapse of popularity for the Labour party in Scotland.

She graduated with a first class MA in Politics and Public Policy in 2015 before entering the House of Commons.  She entered Westminster as the ‘Baby of The House’: a title she quickly outshone after her legendary Maiden Speech in July 2015 which amassed millions of views online and public acclaim.

Mhairi continues to inspire with her blistering Commons opposition speeches calling for change.  She has challenged housing policies, LGBT issues and champions the rights of those living in poverty.

She continues to prove that age, gender and sexuality should not define your career or present barriers.  In her own words – “people can see past political spin and aesthetic things like your age and your gender – they recognise that I can’t help that – so it’s about what I am saying, what I am standing for.”

What can we learn from Mhairi? – Two key messages.

Tip 1: Research leads to confidence.  

mhairiquote1One of the key messages that Mhairi wants students to receive is the importance of research as a foundation for confidence. As a frequent public speaker, Mhairi takes the same approach to presenting no matter whether it’s to pals or parliament. She likes to know what she’s talking about and she believes that’s the key to confidence. If she’s read everything she can find on a certain topic, committed it to memory, gone over the details time and time again – she’ll feel able to stand up and say what she needs to say.

It’s a technique many interviewers will also advise – know as much as you can about the company who wants to meet you. Come prepared with an idea of their strategy, their aims, their structure.

Tip 2: Know what you want to get out of your career.

Fullscreen capture 14032017 162846As an MP who openly criticises ‘career politicians’, asking Mhairi what’s next for her in her career is an interesting question. But she’s honest. She wants to keep making her constituents happy and as long as she’s doing that – she says she’s satisfied. She feels she isn’t in politics for the sake of it but because she feel she needs to be there – and again that’s something we should all reflect on.

Are you applying for a grad job for the sake of it? To make up application numbers? To keep your parents happy? Or do you really believe you can make a difference in that role, in that company, in that industry. There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious, or planning out your career in advance. But it’s always good too, to reflect on what your values are, what satisfies you and who you can serve with your talents.

What can I do now?

Research Leads to Confidence:

The Network is a great way to get inspiration on where a degree from Glasgow can lead you but it also links you to alumni so you can find out the hot topics affecting an industry.  You can ask them about current issues they are facing in their role, useful resources you can access for the latest sector developments or what can make you stand out. Click here to join The Network now. 

Know What You Want to Get Out of Your Career:

If you’re unsure about what’s next for you, why not book an appointment with one of our Careers Managers? Click here to book now. 

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