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Liz Lee-Smith

Liz Lee-Smith (née Wareham)
After graduation Liz Lee-Smith (BA Classical Civilisations (2002 – 05) and MA Ancient Visual and Material Culture (2005 – 06)) went on to work for Transport for London. Here she was able to specialise in recruitment, particularly in attracting and recruiting the best graduates as part of TfL's Graduate Recruitment Team. Since then she has moved to McKinsey & Company where she is a Business Technology Office Recruiter.

Liz Lee Smith
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When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was little I always wanted to work in a shoe shop. I tried it when I was 16 and hated the reality of being around other people's feet all day so that was the end of that dream! I spent more time planning to be a teacher and throughout my entire degree I was convinced that I wanted to teach. It wasn’t until I was about to start my PGCE that I decided teaching wasn’t actually for me.

What was the best careers advice you were given?

Keep what you love as your hobby and do what you are good at. I love the ancient world and loved my degrees but I felt that if I had to do it every day as a job I might lose that passion. That said, I love to surprise my colleagues with strange facts about the ancient world.

Describe yourself in three words

Loyal, optimistic and unflappable

What are the most challenging parts of your job?

I would say turning people down is a real challenge for me. I can build up such a good relationship with a candidate by the time they reach the final round of interviews that it is really hard to deliver the bad news.

What have you done that you are most proud of

There are lots of things, but being a winning contestant on the TV show Bargain Hunt is certainly up near the top.

What drives you?

Success drives me. I like to know I have achieved something and that usually spurs me to find the next challenge.

What single thing would most improve the quality of your life?

The chance to get more sleep – but I think that is the same for most people.

What three objects would you take with you to a desert island?

  1. A boat
  2. Chocolate
  3. An e-reader.

Where do you hope to be in 10 years’ time?

I would like to be doing more work with young people around careers and helping them reach their full potential.

How would you like to be remembered?

As someone who tried to inject some fun into everything they did.

What are your favourite memories of your university years at Warwick?

I have so many amazing memories of my time here, from my first day arriving at Benefactors to the Final Fling. I think my favourite though must be the night I met my now husband: Week 3, term 3 of my first year on the stage at Top Banana.

Do you have any advice for new graduates?

The best advice I have comes from the song Sunscreen by Baz Luhrmann “Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.” If this is you, make sure you look carefully at careers, make sure you choose something you will enjoy doing rather than what you think you should be doing.

Anything else you would like to add?

I loved my time at Warwick and am always amazed at the variety of places I meet other graduates (including a petrol station on the outskirts of Prague!) The university fosters a real sense of community that follows you wherever you go.

Liz Lee-Smith: the facts
Age: 28
Lives: London
Education: BA Classical Civilisations (2002 – 05) and MA Ancient Visual and Material Culture (2005 – 06)
Career: HR Graduate/Graduate Recruitment Consultant – Transport for London
Business Technology Office Recruiter – McKinsey and Company
Interests: Ancient world, baking and spending time with my friends and family