Alana Ballantyne *13, GER

Planning Director, VCCP

I grew up in Canada, did an undergraduate degree at McGill and then moved to the U.S. for my graduate studies at Princeton. I moved to the U.K. in 2012 and started a career in advertising whilst finishing up my dissertation (and yes, that is as exhausting as it sounds!). I live in London with my husband and daughter.

"Two things really helped me. The first was casting the net wide and speaking to as many people as I could in a diverse range of jobs. It really helped me understand what I was looking for and helped me move beyond jobs I thought were a safe bet given my academic background - also people are happy to talk if you're not asking for a job. The second was thinking about what the day-to-day would be like. As academics, we think that having an interesting job is the most important thing, but other factors are really important too (where you want to live, the pace of work, how much you earn, the level of activity and pressure etc.)

I was contacted on LinkedIn by a University Administrative Fellow for an interview. My experiences have been positive so far - interesting to hear how much the grad school has changed since I was there.

Stepping outside my comfort zone as an academic was really scary at first, but I'm really pleased that I pushed myself. I never imagined myself working in advertising (or the private sector) but it turns out that it really suits me."

Yes, I am open to being contacted by a Princeton Graduate Student for an informational interview!

Read more about Alana in our Trailblazers Beyond the Tenure Track Series!