Julia Dath - Mountbatten Program
#mountbattenlife

Julia Dath

Julia Dath

From: Pennsylvania, USA

Program: London

Intake: October 2023

Academic Option: Professional Development Program

Host Organization: HSBC

The Mountbatten Program seemed like a perfect fit for what I wanted my future to look like.

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As a writer, the active pursuit of a good story has always been central to my life. Characters who step outside of their comfort zones always have the greatest tales to tell. So what do I want my story to be? After graduating from college in May of 2023, I was working as a marketing intern in book publishing when I decided to apply for the Mountbatten Program.

I wanted the next step in my career to begin a new chapter in my life, and for it to give me the opportunity to step into the unknown. I knew that I wanted to see more of the world and to live abroad for longer than the semester-long study abroad program that I did in college. Pursuing further education in business has also been a goal of mine, and I wanted to be able to do so while working.

The Mountbatten Program seemed like a perfect fit for what I wanted my future to look like.

I wanted to be able to travel more but also get real work experience that would help me with my long-term professional aspirations. I applied for the program over the summer and was accepted into the candidate pool. When the Mountbatten Program informed me that I was going to interview at HSBC, I’ll admit that I was nervous. With my creative background I wasn’t sure how well I would be able to fit into a role there. But after reading the placement description, I realized that the role drew on all of the skills that I’d gained from years of nonprofit work. I interviewed for the position and after accepting I started to really prepare to leave for London.

It felt surreal to be moving away from home. I never imagined that my life could take such an exciting turn so shortly after graduation. I was eager to jump on the opportunity to pivot into a full-time role that would force me out of my comfort zone, and I couldn’t wait to get out into the world.

There’s so much to love about London — museums with gorgeous artwork, a rich literary history, and, my personal favorite, a big bookstore community. I’m constantly discovering new corners of the city and spending time exploring with the other Mountbattens.

During my first week I traveled around the city with friends to visit famous tourist sites. We ate lunch at Borough Market, took photos at Buckingham Palace, got caught in the rain at Hyde Park, and explored the vintage stores in Camden. Every weekend since I’ve visited new neighborhoods of the city and immersed myself deeper into London life.

I’ve been in London for about a month now working in graduate development at HSBC. Alongside the adjustment of moving to a new city, I’ve been undertaking the challenge of pivoting to work in an entirely new industry. Finance and book publishing are quite different, but I’ve found that the skills that made me a great writer and book marketer are just as applicable in this new role. From the beginning I’ve seen how being creative minded is a skill that’s valuable no matter where you work, and that my fondness for storytelling is an asset to my professional life.

I’m able to use my creativity when identifying areas for growth and brainstorming ideas for how to enhance the program that I support. I’m looking forward to diving into the project management and event planning aspects of this role in the coming months. I already feel like I’ve learned so much!

If I were to give advice to someone considering the Mountbatten Program, I would tell them that the risk is worth the reward.

It isn’t easy to move to a new place or start a new job. Before moving to London, I was nervous about making the transition. Life has moved so quickly since I’ve been here, and I have already made so many incredible memories in just one month. Every day is a new adventure, and opportunities to expand my worldview are always right around the corner. By the end of the year, I’ll have an abundance of new stories to share. I encourage anyone who wants to take a leap and step outside of their comfort zone to apply for the program.