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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Winning the Low Carbon Undergraduate of the Year Award - Max Feller tells his story

When I told my friends I had applied for an undergraduate of the year award they thought I was joking, but I was the one with the last laugh, as 4 months later I was crowned Low carbon Undergraduate of the Year 2013 at a gala event in Canary wharf.

This blog will give you the motivation and confidence to apply, as I explain how I won the award and why it has been such a positive experience.


My journey started in December where procrastination led me to start the application form, only to stop halfway through and think ‘Only one person can win, this is a waste of time!’ A phone call a week later informed me that they were interested in my application, and this was enough for me to spend some time answering the sponsors essay style questions. I later learnt that this helps later on in the process when you are presenting on a similar subject and tells the sponsors you are truly motivated to succeed in the award.

A month later I was invited to complete ‘SHL’ online tests, these analysed my various skills including numeracy, inductive reasoning and workplace style role plays. My advice would be to see your University careers service for advice and get your hands on as many similar practise tests online.

A couple of weeks passed and to my disbelief I had been invited to an assessment centre in London! At this point it all started to get real; I began to think that I was in with a real chance. My advice is to make sure your presentation is concise and then practise it over and over again. I did a lot of research on body language and eye contact to ensure that my body language didn’t hinder the execution of my presentation.

The other assessment was a group task, which entailed making a decision on a number of proposed projects that have different pros and cons. The main things to consider are that if you don’t say anything they can’t assess you, and if you act like it’s a competition and talk too much it will reflect badly on yourself. The main rules are don’t interrupt someone when they are talking, ask open questions like ’why?’ and make sure you get everybody involved debating a decision. Remember there isn’t a correct answer; it’s to show you can work in a team!

The assessment centre can be intimidating but it’s important to give yourself the best chance of success by trying to relax so you can express your personality effectively. To make the most of your time I would recommend talking to as many people as possible, it will help you relax you and you can bring that positive energy into your presentation and group task.

A week l later I received an email informing me that I was in the final 10 and was invited to the awards ceremony in canary wharf. This was a huge achievement and looking at the location I anticipated an impressive event: I was not let down as I enjoyed a magical day hosted by broadcasting legend Sir Trevor Mcdonald. After a fantastic meal and a few glasses of wine later the awards ceremony had started and the room was filled with anticipation. ‘Maximilian Feller’ was called out by Sir Trevor and I was announced winner of the Low carbon undergraduate of the year award!


Now I am enjoying a paid summer internship with EDF energy, including a trip to France and lunch with a station director. I never would have thought this possible 6 months ago so my closing words are don’t underestimate what’s possible with hard work and a bit of luck.

Feeling lucky? Pre-register now.