Sophia Blair

Sophia completed a Master of Arts in Political Studies and is now Research Manager at NeedScope International.

Sophie completed a Master of Arts in Political Studies and is now Research Manager at NeedScope International.

“I’m responsible for managing and conducting qualitative research projects that develop brand strategy solutions for clients across a range of sectors. NeedScope is a market research tool for understanding and managing emotion and motivations in brand choices.

“This covers managing local research projects for New Zealand companies to international consulting jobs where I project manage research projects in overseas markets.

“We do a lot of international work so I’ve done some really interesting projects in different cultures. A highlight for me was doing a beer study in Nigeria. It was really fascinating exploring their beer drinking culture and the impact that it had on brand positioning and behaviour.

“My major was Political Studies. One of the reasons why I enjoyed it so much is because I’m interested in understanding human behaviour and what drives the choices we make. Political studies is an extension to this. Why are we drawn to certain political leaders? Why do we vote the way we do? How does a country's political culture influence political decisions? This interest in human behaviour fits well with the work I do now which seeks to understand how underlying emotions influence consumer behaviour and brand choice.

“The biggest benefit of an Arts degree is the transferable skills you get. Understanding how to research effectively, how to critically evaluate strategies and ideas, and knowing effective communication techniques are all skills that can be applied across a wide range of jobs and different industries.

“The best thing about doing an Arts degree is the broad range of topics. You simply do not get this in other degrees. Topics that I studied included sexual histories, political regime transitions, philosophy of religion and political marketing. All different topics, but all fascinating.

“Arts degrees teach you the value of uncertainty – to be sceptical, and to question what is in front of you. Asking questions is important – it teaches us the value of being critical and going beyond what is observable.”

Find out more about studying Politics and International Relations.