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Richard Ali (BSc Agricultural Economics 1989)


After a couple of years in banking I returned to Reading to study for a Masters. This led to a role at the US Embassy and from there I took an international marketing role for the US meat industry. My next job was in food policy for the British Retail Consortium and from there I became CEO of the English Beef & Lamb Executive. My next role was at AB Sugar looking after communications and sustainability. I'm now CEO at the British Association for Shooting & Conservation.

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

I made up by mind to study agricultural economics by the age of 15, so Reading was a natural choice with its superb reputation.

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

The course was varied and stood me in good stead. Looking back we were lucky to have such a beautiful campus but it was the friends I made who still make a difference.

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

University life should be a balance. You need to work hard, but always leave time for play. Plan out your time and you are more likely to reach that balance. And don't forget to get involved. You'll get more out.

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

I'm now CEO of the British Association for Shooting & Conservation (BASC). My varied career and experiences helped me get to this stage in my life.

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

Most of my team are experts. Their skills range from conservation to communications to publications to firearms. Like many organisations what makes candidates suitable for a role with us is breadth of knowledge. So, never turn down that new experience.

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

It provided a world class education.

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

Good grades will always be important, but I'm looking for a rounded individual, someone inquisitive, with evidence of breadth of interests. I also need to know they'll work hard and give 100%.

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

Friday night at the union.

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