“We are pleased to announce the role of Her Majesty's Consul General for Milan is to be Mr Vic Annells.” I think that didn't finally sink in until I received the Queen’s Commission signed personally by both Her Majesty and the Foreign Secretary on a scroll with copperplate writing. It is probably going on the wall next to the certificate for my MSt from Cambridge.
I am a father of two lads who have themselves graduated from Universities, and I have worked in several different countries at senior levels. I joined HM Government from the private sector in 2008. Although I had been running a decent-sized business in the Middle East, working for the Government is clearly a huge change. I needed to find a suitable way of building both my knowledge and ability to learn, and the MSt at Wolfson was both a great opportunity and a daunting prospect for me. I didn't have a first degree and, although I had a tremendous amount of real-world experience from different countries, none of that quite prepared me for the demands of Cambridge.
I began to progress through the MSt and quickly realised that I had to start organising my learning for the first time in a much more rigorous way than I had ever done before. I was beginning to understand how important it was to ensure that all research I was conducting was within reach and able to be recalled, and these skills were also finding their way into my day-to-day work. Half-way through the MSt, I began to believe that I was becoming more effective in my use of information than I had ever been. While working on my Master’s, I applied to be posted to Milan as Consul General and found there was some very stiff competition, as one would expect for such a plum posting.
In my studies in International Relations (as I am sure we all find) I began to understand how much there was that I didn’t know, but thankfully my peers at Wolfson gave me tremendous support to know that we were all in it together, and none knew much more or less than I did. This was crucial in my being able to adapt my real-world experience into an academic environment. The College support structure, and friendship from the very cosmopolitan student base that Wolfson is lucky to enjoy, provided all of us the platform upon which we were able to grow. At the start of the MSt I felt there was no way I would reach the end, but as I came to depend on my fellow students, I realised that they too were depending on me, and we just had to succeed, together. As I enjoy the next four years in Milan, I will always thank Wolfson and Cambridge for giving me the help I needed to get here.