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Peter Slee (BA History 1979)


I am an Historian and University manager. I graduated from Reading in 1979 completing a PhD at Cambridge in 1983. I was Historian at Manchester and Durham Universities. I worked for CBI as Policy Adviser and then became marketing and communications director in 1993. Now I am Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Huddersfield.

Why did you choose to study at the University of Reading?

FUE system gave great flexibility and opportunity to try new things. The campus was gorgeous with a great vibe, and it was far away from home.

What was the best bit about living and studying in Reading?

The Campus was a wonderful blend of vibrancy with academic, residential and social facilities intertwined, and tranquillity.

What top tips would you give to students who are beginning their studies?

You're a lucky, lucky, sun of a gun; Work 8 hours,sleep 8 hours and keep 8 hours for fun.

What are you up to now? How did you get there?

I am running the internal machinery of one of the UK's biggest universities.

(Pictured: Peter on the History Society Soccer Team celebrating winning the InterSoc Cup, after scoring a hat trick. Peter is on the far left of the front row.)

What would be your top tips for students interested in working in this sector?

Take a real interest in the academic side of your studies; consider postgraduate qualifications and learn fast on the job about working effectively with people.

How has the University of Reading and the Careers Centre helped in your chosen career path?

My undergraduate degree was wonderful. The right blend of challenge and discovery, hard work and fun.                     

What are your top tips for students graduating this year? What should they be doing to secure the job they want?

Work out how to demonstrate that what you have spent the last 3/4 years doing can be applied to the job and will make you good at it. In many cases this will mean focussing on "transferable skills" like analysis, communication, working with other people and a real ability to learn and develop in new situations.

(Pictured: Whiteknights Hall group photograph from 1976/7. Peter is on the second row, 10 in from the left.)

Why did you decide to give to the University of Reading?

Gratitude for the start in life it gave me and a wish to give a little back in return.

What does the University mean to you and what is your favourite memory?

Confidence. I loved my tutorial sessions with staff like Professor Jim Holt, Dr Andrew Jones, Professor Anthony Flew and Paddy McNulty. They were very different characters but they all did the very same thing: they challenged and tested your knowledge and understanding. They made you treat the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge with respect. They made you fight hard for the right to be heard and respected and made sure you had sound grounds for your beliefs. In short they toughened you up for the real world. And I love them for it today.

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