Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Liam entered the National Student Challenge 2 years in a row! The first time he entered he came third in the Challenge! Read why he came back!


As a brief intro to me, I’m now a graduate Civil Engineer from the University of Bath, and in September I will be heading off to London to start a job with Atkins, I’ve attended the NSC for the last few years and have really enjoyed the experience. It’s always a lot of fun, and I feel I gained a lot of confidence and experience from it, but most importantly it helped me get a job!

Job Hunting

During final year, you will be stressed with deadlines, exams and job hunting, so you might think that anything extra like the challenge is a waste of time that could be better spent, but that’s so wrong!
Genuinely, there is nothing better way than forgetting your degree for a day and improving your career prospects. Every single CV I sent out had my experience with TargetJobs events prominently displayed, and in nearly every interview it was discussed. From what I’ve seen when applying, the companies don’t care that much whether you got 63% or 68%, they are looking for applicants with other skills not taught (explicitly) at Uni, such as Teamwork, or Initiative, and the NSC is a great way to develop/demonstrate this.

In a large part due to my experience with the NSC I was offered a job in December, so while all my cohort where stressing and juggling coursework and assessment days I could relax and focus on my degree. During my successful application day I put a lot of what I learnt with TargetJobs to the test, with a presentation task and a group debate that I am sure I would have struggled at without the confidence I gained from the Finals.

Reasons to go back

I’m sure also that a lot of people go one year, and then skip it the next, because they’re busy, and have already done it once, but that really wastes the awesome opportunity that this is. Firstly, experience matters at this! I won a prize my second and third years,  so there was pecuniary reward for my efforts, but most importantly I could practice the lessons I learnt as well as demonstrating that I could do it again, both to myself and employers. Also, it’s a lot of fun, and you meet some cool people on the day.

A few of my friends that I mentioned the competition to didn’t apply this year due to the pressures of final year, but honestly how likely are you to actually get much done this exact day? Take a break, do something fun and polish that CV. (Also try and win something, there are some very shiny prizes)
I am certain that the National Student Challenge helped me get my graduate job, with the company and team that I wanted.