Christine McKenna

Senior Account Manager, Public Affairs Grayling

Why did you choose to study History and International Relations at Loughborough University?

I was interested in both History and International Relations and how they often intertwine. I didn’t want to choose between the two and Loughborough allowed me to study them as a joint honours under the same School, which meant my degree was streamlined and it didn’t feel like I was undertaking two separate courses.

What did you enjoy about your course?

I enjoyed the diversity of modules available – from Yugoslavia to Modern China and the European Union – there was so much choice. I wanted to use my degree to gain as much understanding of a wide range of topics and issues as possible and my course at Loughborough allowed me to do that.

How has Loughborough University inspired you and helped you to progress in your career?

Loughborough allowed me to develop skills that are now crucial to my job including strong writing skills, presentation skills, planning and critical thinking. It also gave me confidence in my work and cemented my love for politics.  

Would there be one piece of advice that you would give to current or prospective students looking to study History and International Relations?

Studying History and International Relations will give you a good grounding in how to write concisely and think strategically. This will be invaluable no matter what job you end up in. One additional piece of advice I would give is to make sure that you are using your holidays to get as much work experience as possible. This will help you get a sense of what you want to do and don’t want to do when you leave Loughborough. Internships and work experience placements are the perfect way to do that – and it’s never too early to start.

Did you take part in any extra-curricular activities during your studies? If so, how did this impact upon your Loughborough experience?


I got involved in lots of activities whilst I was at Loughborough both on and off campus, including volunteering for a local political party, sitting on the POLIS student committee and working at a local food bank. My extra-curricular activities allowed me to meet new people, immerse myself in the local area but also make friends with similar interests. My work within the local political party also helped give me the edge over other candidates when I began applying for political roles once I graduated.

Can you tell us about your career journey so far?

I interned at a couple of Public Affairs and Public Relations in-house teams and agencies whilst I was at university, this allowed me to try out several companies and sectors, and by the time I graduated I was sure I wanted to work at a communications agency in Public Affairs. Shortly after I graduated, I joined Grayling’s internship programme, and after interning for a couple of months I joined the Grayling PA team. I loved the people and the huge diversity of clients and have now been at Grayling for just coming up to 4 years, where I have worked my way up from Account Executive to Senior Account Manager.

Can you tell us more about your current role?

I am currently a Senior Account Manager within the Public Affairs team which means I support and often manage our activity for some of our leading clients. Our clients often come to us with specific political objectives or are facing political risk, and we devise strategies to help them navigate the challenging political environment, ensure their business objectives are promoted amongst policy makers, and influence legislation. We provide a full service from monitoring political activity to managing relationships with politicians, and drafting strategy. My role sees me working closely with our Directors to devise the strategy and ensure we are driving it forward. 

What do you love the most about your job?

The best thing about my job is the diversity and variety of clients that I get to work with. I currently work on clients covering financial services, tech, construction and utilities, and it is always changing. Working at Grayling, one of the leading public affairs teams in the UK, also means I also get to work with some of the UK’s largest businesses. It keeps you on your toes and means you must be across a wide range of policy areas, which can be challenging but it is also what makes it so exciting.

What does the future hold for you?

In the short-term I’m enjoying working in the fast-paced and diverse environment of an agency but would in the future like to head up my own team or agency.

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?

In December 2018, I was honoured to be awarded Young Public Affairs Professional of the Year. After a rigorous process including submitting a short essay and interview, it was definitely my proudest moment in my career to date.