When Michael Ramsay enrolled for a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in History at Otago, he had no idea he'd end up studying the financial markets and the latest takeovers. Like the pattern of history, his path to employment was a circular one.
After graduating in 1997 with a Postgraduate Diploma in English and a History degree, Ramsay completed a Secondary Teaching Diploma. He then spent two years overseas, travelling and teaching English, History and Media Studies before coming back to complete the Diploma of Journalism at Canterbury University. After knocking on a few doors, he was offered the role of news producer for Xtra Limited's website - http://xtramsn.co.nz.
"It's my job to keep the website fresh and up to date so I start at 7am taking the news off the wire - Reuters and IRN are our main sources - and choosing what's relevant. We have a number of contributors who write copy for the site so mine is as much an editorial role as anything."
In Ramsay's view, history is certainly relevant to the work he does today. "By studying history, you're not only looking at issues like Israel and Palestine for instance, which go back a long way, but you get a feel for issues generally. And because history goes in cycles, this makes it easier to understand what's happening in the world now."
History was an easy choice for Ramsay. "It's something I've always enjoyed, and it's something I succeeded at."
Choosing Otago was just as straightforward. "I lived in Invercargill so it was the obvious choice in terms of proximity - but the University offers everything you could want or need. And it's a lifestyle choice as much as one of education."
Ramsay has recently moved into the business area and is responsible for looking at marketing and revenue as well as developing the website. "It's not an area I have any training in so I've had to pick it up on the job. But in the course of a BA you study a wide range of subjects which makes you open to different things. I've found it very easy to adapt."