Law graduate, Demetrios Iatrides talks career progression, the impact of Edinburgh and making the most of your opportunities.
|Degree Course||LL.B. Law|
|Year of Graduation||1997|
Your time at the University
When I applied to the University of Edinburgh, I had already completed a degree in Economics and International Relations at Brown University in the United States, and had been working in the Dealing Room of Bank of America in Greece in foreign exchange trading. During my studies at Brown, I had taken a number of law classes and found them extremely interesting. A law degree in the US can only be pursued after a first degree in a related academic field. Therefore, I decided to opt for a top European University, and applied to the University of Edinburgh because of its excellent academic reputation and the unique mix of common law and the continental legal system that Scots law provides. In retrospect it was a wise decision!
It was an intense experience! The workload was very demanding, since in order to complete the Graduate LL.B. on time, we had to enrol in at least two to three more law subjects per year than the other students.
On the other hand, there was a vast array of activities and sports that I participated in, along with my fellow students. From football, swimming and golf to the International Festival, the Film Festival and all the different art exhibitions and performances, the University and the city were, literally, a vast playground for young people. I feel privileged that I was able to be in Edinburgh and savour this experience.
My favourite memory has to be completing my last exam in June 1997 - after a Decathlon of essays and papers! I remember entering the exam room at the Law Faculty in typical rainy Edinburgh weather and, three hours later, coming out into warm bright sunshine. This day is still fondly embedded in my Edinburgh memories.
Tell us about your Experiences since leaving the University
I deeply believe in the famous Greek saying of Solon ‘I grow old ever learning many things’
After almost two years in investment banking, I had to head back to Greece and serve in the Army as a Second Lieutenant. When I finished my military service, I became a financial analyst in the sport division of the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games. this was due to the inspirational nature of the event, the Games’ Homecoming in Greece after 108 years, and to my sports background in athletics. I went on to become venue director for the Olympic Hockey Centre.
I then worked in public TV as a senior business adviser and project manager. At this time, I met the Minister of Health and Social Solidarity, and worked closely with him in policy-making and also as Head of International Relations for the Ministry, participated in a number of important Government meetings. I also earned an M.Sc. in Applied Economics and Finance and later an Executive MBA, both from Athens University of Economics and Business. Recently, I completed the Harvard JFK School of Government Executive Education Programme, ‘Public Leaders in Southeast Europe’. I then worked as an adviser in the Greek Parliament as Senior Councillor to the Main Opposition Party Vice-President and as his senior adviser in his capacity as Minister of Defence.
I now live back in my hometown of Athens, but travel regularily for work. I recently took up the position of special adviser to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. I also teach leadership, strategy and business planning postgraduate and undergraduate classes at a Greek University.
Giving something back
It is only now, some years later, that I realise the full impact that the University of Edinburgh has had on my career, and my life.
It is only after a number of years have elapsed that I realise the full impact of the University of Edinburgh education on my career and, even, my life. It is the knowledge, the way of thinking, the psychological stamina and the critical ability that shape our personality and our spirit. But also, it is about all the professors, the friends and the people we got to know, from all over the world, with their advice and precious tips, our genuine network.
It was this that inspired the formation of the University of Edinburgh Alumni Club of Greece. We now number close to one thousand Greek graduates from different backgrounds, but also non-Greeks who reside and work in the country. We have been organising events and activities, providing information to prospective students, fundraising and supporting the University, creating, in the process, our own network of open communication and information exchange.
I would advise all current students to make the most of all the opportunities and advantages that the University of Edinburgh offers. Indulge in your academic coursework, approach your professors, exchange opinions and ideas, but also participate in university clubs and sports, get to know your fellow students, meet people and make lifelong friends. Live your own myth in Edinburgh.