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Nick Bowes

Nick is now a Chief Executive of Centre for London and graduated from BSc joint hons Geography and Maths. Find out more about Nick's career

About Nick

Current job: Chief Executive of Centre for London 

Current location: UK

Degree studied: BSc Joint Hons Geography and Maths

About Nick's career

Describe your current role

I am Chief Executive of Centre for London, which is a think tank that produces research and reports, organises events and brings decision makers together to think about the big challenges facing the city.

That can mean a whole range of issues such as transport, housing, planning, environment, inequality and of course more recently the impact the pandemic has had on the city.


Explain how you got this job after studying Geography at Newcastle

I graduated in 1997 so it's a while ago now! But I went off to do a Ph.D. in economic geography, and after that have worked for over twenty years in and around Westminster in public affairs, campaigning and political jobs.

Most recently I was Director of Policy for Mayor of London Sadiq Khan for the last five years, helping run the best city in the world (rivalled only by Newcastle, of course).

Studying at Newcastle

In what ways was studying Geography at Newcastle important for getting this job?

The thing about geography is that it is a much-underrated subject.

I found that it really gave me a rounded view of the world - about why things happen where they happen. I always remembered this in future jobs and my passion for people and places has spurred me on in all of my jobs.

Most recently, helping run a city like London felt like the culmination of all I had learnt and experienced over the many years since I studied geography in Newcastle.


How do you employ skills learnt during your degree, in your current job?

Always recognising that place and space matters in public policy decisions - everywhere is not the same and there are a whole host of reasons for why some places do better than others.

Unless you understand this, you can never solve the problems of a big city with a complex and complicated geography like London.


What was the best thing about studying Geography at Newcastle?

Being in the city itself was an amazing experience as a young person - few places rival the city for nightlife and student fun.

Studying geography itself I just felt like I was exposed to lecturers who were world leaders in their subjects and their passion for inquiry just rubbed off on an intellectually inquisitive young person like I was then.

Oh, and we went on an amazing and rather legendary field trip to Dublin.