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The power of storytelling

Ruth Ntumba (BA History, 2021) has spent her first 18 months since graduating helping drive engagement and culture at one of the world’s leading media corporations, Warner Brothers Discovery. Ruth shares why you should go at your own pace and trust your gut instinct when searching for your next role.

Tell us about your Warwick experience.
I have only good things to say about my time at Warwick - I loved the seminars, the tutors, the whole experience! Dr Lydia Plath and her seminars were exceptional. It was a busy three years, but I never felt stressed, and I think that’s testament to the support from the department. As well as enjoying my course, there were plenty of opportunities at Warwick. I studied Portuguese in my first year, although don’t ask me to translate anything now! I loved the campus aspect too, but coming from London, the quiet, green space surrounding campus was a shock at first. Then when I returned to London it seemed so chaotic in comparison, and I appreciated the calm of Warwick even more.

How did you feel on graduation day?
It felt very special, and, thanks to Covid, long overdue! It was during the 40-degree summer heatwave and the whole day went by in a bit of a whirlwind. I had the chance to catch up and celebrate with friends I hadn’t seen for a year.

What happened next?
I applied at several places and was offered a fast-track interview at Sky and a role as a Geography teacher with Teach First, but they didn’t feel right for me. I believe in going at your own pace, so I wanted to wait and follow the opportunity that felt aligned to my passions. I joined a community called DIVERSE, which helps Black, Asian, and other ethnic minority young professionals secure jobs with inclusive employers. I was contacted on LinkedIn about a role at what was then known as WarnerMedia in employee communications and engagement, which really interested me. Plus, the hiring process felt more like a chat than a scary interview which was a pleasant surprise!

What does an Employee Communications and Engagement Coordinator do?
I do things like interviewing actors and directors and putting on events for our internal audience. I love hearing people’s stories. My favourite interview to date was with a Singaporean director, Ler Jiyuan, who directed a HBO show called Invisible Stories, which looked at the experiences of marginalised people. He gave the most interesting, articular answers and was incredibly impressive. I also put on a wand choreography event in celebration of the release of Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. This was with English choreographer Paul Harris who taught the actors in the Harry Potter films how to use a wand.

How has Warwick helped you?
My degree taught me how to articulate myself and how to write high-quality pieces of work. History has an academic aspect, but also draws out the chance for you to develop your speaking and writing skills.

What would you say to someone considering History at Warwick?
Warwick has a very flexible curriculum including modules outside of traditional History like sociology, and languages. And I know improvements are making the course even more diverse too, so I’d encourage anyone to go for it.

Black and white photo of Ruth in her graduation robes

"It was a busy three years, but I never felt stressed, and I think that’s testament to the support from the department.”