Business development coordinator

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

Ben McFadden

Key facts

Career: Business development coordinator at Oxfam Australia
Programme: Bachelor of Arts
Subjects: Anthropology and History

“My current role is business development coordinator at Oxfam Australia, based within the International Development Group. 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 have been lucky throughout my career to travel globally from Ethiopia to the Highlands of Papua New Guinea working on a range of projects from sexual and reproductive health to economic development.

“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.

“I studied Social 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. Social 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.”