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Department of Earth Sciences


Bethany Jackson

MSci 2018

Broker Specialist—Aon

Which subject did you want to study when you applied to Cambridge NatSci?
I applied elsewhere for chemistry with environmental or atmospheric module options, as I wanted to have an environmental slant. I knew that I wanted to try Earth Sciences at Cambridge, but having never studied it before, chemistry seemed like the safe option!

What made you choose 1A Earth Sciences?
I chose Earth Sciences because I was interested in the Earth and the environment, so I wanted to combine it with the sciences that I had enjoyed at A-Level. I thought that studying Earth Sciences would be useful in the future, given the environmental and climatic challenges facing the world.

What made you stay?
I really liked the structure of the Earth Sciences course—an interesting lecture series complemented by directly related problem-solving practical classes. I thoroughly enjoyed the department atmosphere, and found the lecturers and supervisors very friendly and approachable.

Unlike most people, I was a bit apprehensive about the field trips—not knowing anyone, plus a potential for rain and mud! But despite the weather, I loved it and made lots of new friends, which meant that I quickly became part of the Earth Sciences community. I soon realised that I was enjoying the subject much more than any of the other sciences.

How has doing Earth Sciences shaped your career?
Studying Earth Sciences taught me a wide range of skills, which have been useful post-university. Learning how to write a clear, concise, and compelling argument—fundamental for almost any job. Developing problem solving and maths skills, which I use almost every day in my job as an Insurance Broker to calculate and negotiate premiums. Other skills from my degree, such as coding, are really useful on a CV and can open doors to multiple industries.

As I work in the financial services industry, I rarely use the majority of the factual content from my degree (as is the case with most degrees). But I have been able to showcase my knowledge in tectonics and climate on occasion, and I’m currently using my Earth Sciences expertise to create an internal Natural Disaster and Risk podcast to educate colleagues.

As someone who didn’t know what they wanted to do post-university when making their initial subject choices, my advice would be that the skills you get from an Earth Sciences degree offer a nice balance between scientific and mathematical rigour, as well as the ability to effectively articulate an argument. This broad skillset can open a lot of doors, whatever career you might decide to pursue in the future.