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Thursday, June 13, 2013

10 reasons why you should apply for The Undergraduate of the Year competition:

Ella Jakubowska winner of the Female Undergraduate of the Year Award sponsored by Rolls Royce tells you ten reasons why you should applying to 2014's awards. 

1) You might discover something you never knew about yourself:
I almost didn't apply to the Undergraduate of the Year awards because I was worried that I was not good enough. I also almost bailed at the first hurdle upon seeing that the online psychometric tests involved a considerable amount of maths. Not only am I incredibly glad that I persevered, but I realised as a result that I absolutely can not be as bad at maths as I thought, and I must have done fairly well at the logical reasoning and business analysis sections too. I am a lot more confident in my business-related skills now.

2) You might discover something you never knew about a company:
Until a few months ago, I thought that Rolls-Royce made cars. I also thought they would have absolutely no need and no opportunities for an English Literature student. I was wrong!

3) You might benefit from the challenge:
To say that the application process was rigorous would be something of an understatement. It was difficult but it was a similar process, I am told, to Rolls-Royce's graduate scheme application. Even if you don't win, the process helps you gain experience and build confidence that will be invaluable in your last year of university when you're competing for the best jobs, internships or graduate schemes.

4) You might meet some really wonderful, like-minded people:
The other women in the Female Undergraduate of the Year competition that I met were an intimidatingly successful but also interesting, impressive and kind bunch of people. At the assessment centre some of us went for dinner and it was really reassuring and made me feel like no matter who won, I would be really genuinely happy for them. I also got the chance to meet many Rolls-Royce employees, particularly high performing females, giving me an insight into what it is like for strong women in stereotypically male-dominated businesses.

5) You might make some connections that could influence your entire career:
I have met people from Rolls-Royce, TARGETjobs, other Undergraduate of the Year categories, and my LinkedIn inbox has been overflowing with congratulations from professionals from big companies ever since I won. With networking being so important to a career, these effortless connections are sure to help me once I leave university.

6) You might benefit from the overall experience:
As I mentioned, it is challenging. But you come to realise that although it is such a privilege to be in the last round of selection, you got there because of your hard work. Being able to stand up and stand out in an environment filled with strong candidates is something that you can genuinely feel very proud of, even if you don't win. I actually had a lot of fun during the process, which was something I was not expecting.

7) You have nothing to lose but potentially a lot to gain:
One of the things that the overall process has reinforced in my mind is that you should always go for everything, take chances and a lot the other clich├ęs about how if you never try you'll never know. As Thomas Edison supposedly said: "I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work".  As if you can’t tell from the title of this post, I can’t emphasise enough how strongly I advocate going for it and just applying for one of the categories next year because it can not do any harm but could do a world of good.

8) You might get to go to the (swanky) Awards Ceremony:
The venue...The drinks reception...The food...The speeches. Before the winners are announced, the top 10 from each category are invited to a very prestigious awards ceremony and not only is it a gorgeous venue and really exciting event, but the main course was one of the most delicious things I have ever tasted.

9) You might meet Sir Trevor MacDonald:
I think this one speaks for itself. 

10) You might just win:
I hadn't even hoped that I might win. The other candidates were so strong but I must have been stronger than I thought I was to win it! Not only did I win an iPad and a fantastic internship that I am greatly looking forward to starting in a few weeks, but I feel like I am making positive things happen that are shaping my entire future. The more I learn about what my internship will entail, the more excited I become - it will not be your standard making tea and doing photocopying internship! As I sit here writing this on my shiny new iPad, it is ridiculous to think that the night before the initial application was due in, I almost went out instead of staying in to submit my application. I'm glad that there was a little voice in my head telling me that despite all my doubts, I might just win.

By Ella Jakubowska, winner of the 2013 TARGETjobs Female Undergraduate of the Year.

Are you tempted to apply - pre-register here to be the first to know when the awards open