For November's edition of Our Alumni, we interviewed Milan Shah (Du. 2011-16).
Milan rejoined Brighton College in August 2023 as Teacher of Economics, after a whirlwind career at Whitehall during the pandemic.
When you were at Brighton College, what did you want to be when you ‘grew-up’?
I honestly had very little idea. I thoroughly enjoyed my A levels, but I didn’t really understand how that translated into a real-life job! On my gap I worked as a teaching assistant and loved it. This gave me a flavour of working in the classroom and this experience certainly stuck with me as I made choices further down the path……
Tell us about yourself now you've grown up.
I still love Brighton, and that’s a key factor in my return to the College. I follow the Albion closely and continued to venture down to the Amex whilst living in London over the past seven years. I think I am more patient and less argumentative! Unlike during my time at school, I now enjoy exercise and try to get out regularly for a run on the Downs or along the seafront.
What about your life now would most surprise your Brighton College teachers?
I volunteered as a special constable in the metropolitan police, receiving 999 calls and responding to a variety of incidents across London.
What are your favourite memories of your time at school?
Spending time with the Durnford boys, many of which I am still in contact with. Swing band sessions, playing one bounce on the Home Ground and Burger Fridays. In addition, the effort made by the College to help us understand more about the wider world, from engaging with different communities here in Brighton to learning about the conflict and challenges that children and adults face day to day in other countries.
What advice would you give to your school age self?
Sweat the small things less, try new things earlier, compare yourself to others less.
What do you do as a career/What does your work involve?
After completing my university studies, I started on the civil service fast stream. This coincided with the peak of the pandemic. I joined the department of health and supported operational delivery and procurement of Lateral Flow tests. I then moved into the Home Office in a role as a private secretary for a range of Ministers and the Home Secretary, before my final role based in COBRA, developing and launching the Emergency alert system to the UK population.
After 3 whirlwind years in Whitehall, I felt a change of career away from the world of politics was needed. I had always had an interest in teaching and therefore decided to give it a go!
What are the most challenging parts of your job?
Ensuring I can answer the tough questions the pupils throw at me! Adapting a lesson plan organically when the class is entirely confused, or it just isn’t landing. Juggling the multiple components of everyday life at the college. The boarding side of the College is new to me, and I am thoroughly enjoying my role as a tutor in Heads.
What are you most proud of?
The friendships I have developed and fostered. Working in Government through one of the most turbulent times in British politics to make a positive impact to communities across the country, and now helping to educate the next generation of young minds to be curious, kind, and confident.
What are the three objects you would take with you to a desert island?
A barometer – I am mildly weather forecasting obsessed.
My running trainers
My saxophone – Time to improve, with nothing else to do.
How would you like to be remembered?
As someone that saw the best in everyone, wasn’t afraid to challenge people’s opinions, and would occasionality deliberately add some spice to the conversation to provoke a friendly debate.