From Dubai to New York: Aneta Nastaj's global mission to tackle corporate corruption

When Aneta is not in London, she is crossing the globe, designing and delivering training programmes to safeguard businesses from fraud and corruption as Training Manager for the Corporate Research and Investigation Group.

“I am passionate about policy reform and believe corruption is an impediment to economic growth and development. My aim is to use my diversified background to decrease corruption and make a positive social impact.”

Training and travelling around the world


Since graduating from Plymouth in 2016, I was inspired to undertake a masters degree in social policy and research at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Building upon this experience, I am now a training manager for a global firm and design and deliver training to managing directors, executives, business developers, and compliance officers across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. I base this training on the International Organization for Standardization, which brings together experts to support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges.

I try to stay up to date with the rapidly evolving anti-corruption industry by attending many conferences. A very memorable one was organised by Thomson Reuters, where child-trafficking survivor Rani Hong – kidnapped at age seven and now a United Nations special adviser on human rights – gave a speech about her story. It demonstrated what the real consequences of corruption are and how important the compliance industry is.

The most exciting thing I have done so far has been travelling to Dubai and New York. In Dubai I conducted in-house and client training on anti-bribery management systems. It was the first full-day training I had delivered, so I was nervous, but it went really well. While in New York I represented the company at the twentieth New York Conference on Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

On both occasions I was able to sightsee. We went on a road trip when we were in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and trekked up its highest peak, Jebel Jais, which admittedly is not very high, but the views were still breathtaking. We were made to feel very welcome and went for drinks after training. While in New York I squeezed in the chance to experience another great view, with a quick trip to the Empire State Building.

“When I am not travelling, I am back in London. My days consist of doing a lot of secondary research, writing articles for our website and organising all aspects of the training. I also record videos about the training for our social media platforms.”

Aneta recording a training video

<p>Delivering training to my colleagues</p>
Discussing anti-bribery management systems
<p>The team in Dubai<br></p>
Delivering training to colleagues in Dubai
<p>Celebrating with the team after training<br></p>
Celebrating together after training
<p>Human-trafficking survivor, Rani Hong, gave a speech on her story at a conference organised by Thomson Reuters<br></p>
Attending the memorable Rani Hong talk
<p>Representing the company in New York<br></p>
Representing the company in New York
<p>Overview of Jebel Jais mountains Ras Al Khaimah (Getty image:&nbsp;898699588)<br></p>
On top of UAE's highest peak, Jebel Jais

Thriving in Britain's Ocean City


Reflecting back now on my time at Plymouth, I can say my experiences there greatly influenced my career. For one, during my studies I had many opportunities to be involved in world-class research – through both summer research apprenticeships and academic industrial placements. 

I had the opportunity to present research I conducted as part of my dissertation at British undergraduate psychology conferences, including the Cracking Earth 2015: Building Sustainability Research with Foundations conference and the Sustainable Earth 2016 conference. 

I was also fortune to have won a student sustainability research prize for my study on 'The Effects of Environment on Motivation to Exercise and Commitment to Environmental Sustainability'.

A huge part of my job is based around delivering training courses, which of course involves public speaking, and I would not be as confident as I am now with this, if it wasn’t for these early experiences and support I received at Plymouth.

I would definitely recommend undertaking a psychology course at the University. For year one and two we were given free e-books worth over £1500 which made studying 'on the go' so much easier and of course helped with budgeting.

The lecturers there are passionate about their subject and make you feel welcome. They offer really great support and advice, and without them, I wouldn't have had a clue at how to proceed with my education and career after graduating. One of my lectures, Dr Sylvia Terbeck, advised me to do a postgraduate degree, which has worked out really well for me.

I learnt a most valuable lesson during my first ever lecture, which was on animal psychology by Dr Phil Gee, but the lesson learnt was actually nothing to do with animals or psychology. 'Question everything you read.' This sentence was on a slide shown at the beginning of the lesson. Although I must admit that I did not think much of it at the time, this sentence has stuck with me until now and probably will for a long time. Once I started to plan my own research and gain experience from placements, I started to question everything I was reading. A useful piece of advice for all facets of life.

The benefits I gained from my placement as a research assistant in the psychology department were countless. 

Often, I was working in a team of five people on eViz Energy Visualisation for Carbon Reduction projects, which introduced me to all aspects of academic research. I gained a wider range of experience in primary and secondary research, designing studies, conducting experiments on participants, calculating the results, and writing reports. Thanks to the support from my supervisor, Dr Sabine Pahl, I am now more confident in my own abilities.

A well-rounded University experience

I met my best friend at a Plymouth open day – I would really recommend going to one and talking to everyone you can. The next time we saw each other was at the induction to the course and we have remained really close friends ever since. I have met many lovely people, students and lectures, at Plymouth and I keep in touch with lots of them. 

I am still part of the psychology sustainability group, and although due to relocating to London I no longer can make the fortnightly meetings, I still enjoy staying up to date with what’s happening, and remain involved as part of the London Alumni Network. 

When studying, one of my part-time jobs was as an information administrator, for which I was fortunate to be awarded the Commercial Impact award in the Student Employee of the Year Awards in 2016. The most difficult thing I have faced in my career so far was probably juggling both full-time studies with part-time work, so being recognised for my achievements was a proud moment. Having two commitments was tough at times, but it taught me great time-management skills, which is definitely a transferable skill.

To make the most out of your time at university I would encourage you to get a part-time job, to volunteer, sign-up to some societies. If I was to start university again I would get involved in more societies. Plymouth has over 100 societies. Plus, if someone is interested in starting a new one, they are always encouraged to do so. They are a great way to meet like-minded people and gets you to leave the library once in a while. 

One of my favourite memories was attending the summer balls. The campus becomes completely transformed with themed marquees, stages, and rollercoaster rides. Plymouth always attracts big musicians. I was lucky to see Craig David and Labrinth, among others. The balls are such great way to end an academic year and to celebrate our achievements.

So try to have a go at as many things as you possibly can, because this is the best time to explore. If you feel like you don't have the time, make the time, as it will be worth it!

Proud to represent Plymouth


I was fortunate enough to be a founding member of the University’s London Alumni Committee. I have received invaluable advice from others within the committee and from guests at events too. I have been proud to see students show an awareness of current affairs through their work, from designing products to be environmentally sustainable, to creating products for people with disabilities. I have spoken to a number of graduates and enjoyed advising them on how to navigate the field of looking for graduate jobs effectively.

Aneta meeting up with fellow Plymouth alumni

Aneta (middle row, centre) with members of the London Alumni Network

Since becoming a member of the University’s London Alumni Committee, I have received invaluable advice from others within the committee and from guests at events too. I have been proud to see students show an awareness of current affairs through their work, from designing products to be environmentally sustainable, to creating products for people with disabilities. I have spoken to a number of graduates and enjoyed advising them on how to navigate the field of looking for graduate jobs effectively.

Follow in Aneta's footsteps

Interested in how people think, act and interact? Discover how thoughts, feelings and motivations shape our behaviour. Learn about social, developmental, clinical, cognitive and physiological psychology and specialise in the areas that interest you. Gain in-demand skills for a range of careers, from education and health to business and the media. 

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