Univ Dates: 2008-2011

Degree: BA History

Degree Level: Undergraduate

Occupation: Senior Policy Advisor, HM Treasury

Biography: After leaving Oxford in 2011, Dharmesh moved to work at HM Treasury. He has held the posts of Policy Advisor, Head of Housing and Planning and Head of Scorecard Branch. At Oxford he was an OUSU Rep and received a Univ History Scholarship in 2010.


What were your preconceptions of Oxford or Univ before you started here?

I wasn’t really sure what to expect, to be honest. I’d been to visit Oxford once to look around, and found the city beautiful, inspiring, and intimidating all at the same time. I was more sure about Univ though. The buildings were very ‘traditional Oxford’ but the people seemed welcoming and inclusive. Coming for interviews helped confirm that; everyone I met was bright but also friendly and, for the most part, as nervous as everyone else.


What do you remember about your first day at Univ?

Not much! I remember arriving in Logic Lane and someone enthusiastically waving at me and handing me a pile of papers and keys. And I remember thinking Goodhart was much nicer on the inside than the outside.


Do you have a favourite memory from your time at Univ?

I don’t think I’ll ever forget how I felt when I finished Finals, and I saw my friends waiting for me outside exam schools. The weeks after were amazing, and I can’t remember how many bars, talks, and pubs we went to.


How do you think Univ shaped you?

It made me more confident in a bunch of ways. In particular, tutorials and, more importantly, the relationship we had with our tutors made me more confident, both in terms of being willing to give and present my view but also to challenge it and have it challenged without feeling like that’s embarrassing or failing. That’s stuck with me. And so has the fact that some of my best friends are the people I met in my first few days at Univ.


Did you know what you wanted to do after Univ?

I wanted to do something I was interested in, which basically boiled down to History and Government. I applied for a teaching programme, but they wanted me to be a Maths teacher, which I thought it could do but I wouldn’t have been passionate about. Then I got an offer to work in the civil service, which seemed like a great opportunity.


How important do you think a project like this?

I wish it had existed when I was at Univ. People go into such a diverse range of areas. But I remember that you can feel under so much pressure to have a job as soon as you leave university and that it can feel like the only way to do that is to take something straight away, even if you don’t think you’ll like it. That works for some people but, after a few years, I don’t think it works for most.