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Name: Helen
PhD discipline: Chinese and German
Area(s) of work: International relations and research council work
Year of graduation: 2005
Date of Interview: 17/06/2008

Helen - the meaning of the PhD
Helen contemplates what the PhD means to her, and her colleagues attitudes to it.

What does the PhD mean to you?

It's been very useful in my most recent job, working in China, it really has been useful, it's given me a lot of kudos because a PhD in China is seen as having a lot of status and being a woman and relatively young I've seen the impression that it makes when I hand somebody my card and they go 'oh Dr', so that really has made a difference.

I knew that would make a difference long term if I did want to work in China already, so that probably was another reason in the back of my mind why I wanted to finish the PhD.

My sister is a medical doctor and I just, you know, I'd gone down this route also to become another type of 'Dr' and I didn't want to fail to achieve it.

So it does give me a sense of achievement and I do now use the title on my business line, so I'm proud of it, it does mean that I think it shows that I'm academically competent, but it makes me feel that I'm more intelligent or something like that.

Among all the people that I work for in the Royal Society, a lot of them assume that I've got a science degree I think, and at the British Academy too when I started using the title 'Dr', it just made people think that I wasn't just an administrator, that I was somebody who had something in common with them, and yeah, I'm glad about that.