Asia regional business development manager

Ben McFadden's studies in Anthropology and History helped him break into the highly competitive international development industry.

Ben McFadden

Key facts

Career: Asia regional business develpment manager for Oxfam International
Programme: Bachelor of Arts
Subjects: Anthropology and History

“My current role is Asia regional business develpment manager at Oxfam International, based in Bangkok, Thailand. I focus on the design and development of international development initiatives within the Pacific geographical region.

“There are many enjoyable parts of my current role. Travel is always a highlight; I'm lucky that my role covers 14 countries which means frequent travel to places like Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Being based in Asia right now is particularly exciting; the industry globally is changing and Asia is central to leading the move away from what was a prominently European and North American driven industry, which is refreshing.

"Building relationships with people from diverse cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds and getting to view the world from their perspective is something that I have particularly enjoyed and benefited from.

Arts degrees provide a unique set of skills that lead to tangible job opportunities. They allow you to develop flexible, critical thinking. Your study is often not prescriptive and forces you to think outside the box, which is highly desirable to employers in all industries.

Ben McFadden Oxfam International

"I studied Anthropology and History at the University of Auckland, both of which increased my interest in society and the way we operate within a global and local context. Anthropology provided me with the opportunity to critically examine society, ethnicity and culture, whilst History provided me with many examples of human achievements and injustices.

"My study ultimately influenced my career aspirations and pushed me towards an area that would have a positive social impact.

"International development is a highly competitive industry with extremely competent and passionate professionals all over the world. I undertook a six-month internship at Oxfam New Zealand which provided me with the necessary practical experience to apply for jobs.

"Arts degrees provide a unique set of skills that lead to tangible job opportunities. They allow you to develop flexible, critical thinking. Your study is often not prescriptive and forces you to think outside the box, which is highly desirable to employers in all industries.

"An Arts degree provides an excellent platform for both employment and further study, not to mention providing you with the skills to better understand and engage with contemporary social issues."