Thursday, September 19, 2013

We find out what it takes to reach the National Student Challenge final from last year's runner up!

Liam came third in the 2012/2013 National Student Challenge winning £250! Read his top tips to make it here!

Full name: Liam Bryant
Age: 22
University attended: The University of Bath
Course studied: MEng Civil & Architectural Engineering

I entered the National Student Challenge for the first time in 2010, when it first started as the Universities’ Brightest Business Brain. My reasons for entering were mainly out of interest to compare my performance with other students. I didn’t expect to do that well, but I got through to the final and have reapplied ever since.

The final has always been fantastic in my opinion. My first time I went in really nervous, but it’s such a good time meeting new people, and getting to work in a team on a range of cool challenges. I may be a bit weird, but I find I enjoy overcoming problems with a bunch of strangers!

Everyone has always been so friendly and fun on the day, and it has been a great opportunity to talk to get some practice at what a real job application will be like, while also helping to make my CV stand out.

Top tips
Before I go any further I should confess that I intend to re-enter the challenge this coming year, so this presents a slight conflict of interest. If any of the advice seems terrible, I apologise for having failed to stay neutral.

The first and most critical point is not to be too aggressive, these are team exercises. I understand, and even occasionally succumb, to the impression that you need to show off and shout the loudest to stand out from the other contestants. This is the exact opposite of what you should do. The assessors are looking for confidence yes, but also teamwork.

My other suggestion is to support other members of your team. There is often a member of the group who has some good ideas, but is not confident enough to speak up. Help this person share their ideas and contributions, either by repeating it for the group or by asking them questions, and both you and the team will benefit.

The last year
This last year, since the competition, has been really good. I spent my giant novelty check on buying myself a tablet which I am rarely separated from and was a lot of help staying on top of all my university work.
I also entered the Undergraduate of the Year competition, another TARGETjobs competition, to win an international placement. Although I did not win, I made it through to the final, and hopefully came close, and I am certain that my performance was improved by the experience and confidence I gained at the NSC.

I’m just starting my fourth and final year at Bath University, and am starting to look for a graduate job. Despite my placements I still have little idea what I want to do as I have a whole range of fields that I am looking at. I am really hoping that my efforts in TARGETjobs Events have helped develop my CV, and I certainly know that my interviewing techniques have improved.

But before I get too far ahead of myself I need to focus on maintaining my average and graduating with a good degree!

Fancy taking on Liam this year? Well why not enter here!

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