Friday, October 6, 2017

Future Female Engineers Project manager, Justine, shares her advice on how to succeed at the event

How to get the most out of the event
My top 5 tips for gaining the most from the day are:

Research, then research some more: This step is absolutely crucial if you want to get the most out of the event. You have the opportunity to meet and spend time with recruiters from some of the most sought-after companies by graduates, so you’ll want to stand out! Make sure you research grad schemes and internships that most interest you and read up on what the company values are, and be ready to talk about current projects they are working on! Prepare questions that are not generic or questions where you could easily find the answer to on company websites. 

Submitting a brilliant question to the panel discussion is a great way to draw attention to yourself at the event. The panel consists of female senior managers and partners from each of the companies, so you may wish to ask questions on their experience, work/ life balance and advice for people at your stage of their careers. 

Network, network, network!: Employers will never know who you are and what you can offer them if you don’t speak to them when you have the chance! As well as questions about their own experiences, this is your chance to spotlight why you want to work for them and get any tips/advice about the application processes. Make sure you speak to as many companies as you can, there may be a company there, who you haven’t previously considered, with the perfect opportunity for you! This is your chance to get a real insight from the people in the know.

 If you’re anything like me, you’ll like to talk… a lot. This is great but make sure to also consider what other people have to say, share experiences, but also learn from what other people have to say. If you spot someone who’s looking a bit shy or overwhelmed, help them out! Introduce yourself and ask them questions and make sure that they feel included. Need more advice about networking? Our colleagues at TARGETjobs have got you covered! Click here to see what they have to say.

Get Involved: Make sure you interact and participate in all the sessions. This event is designed to mimic the assessment process you will encounter when applying for a job, so use this as practice! Not to mention that the companies who are attending will be actively looking for talented female students like yourselves to apply for their various roles, so why not get a head of the game and beat the boys?

Don’t be late: Although a given rule, you’ll be surprised how many people will turn up late and blame the traffic, make sure you have planned your journey and give yourself plenty of time to allow for traffic related issues you may encounter. Arrive dressed in smart office wear and remember to bring a pen and notepad, turning up late in your pyjamas without a pen is not the look you want to go for when impressing potential employers! If you would like more advice on these formalities then check out this handy article from TARGETjobs.

Have fun: Possibly the most important point. This is a unique opportunity, make the most of it, be yourself and enjoy!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Learn from Nakai as she shares her experience and gives advice for attending IT's not just for the boys!

I started researching career events in my last year of university and came across TARGETjobs IT’s not just for the boys! event. This was indeed a lucky find!

In order to attend the event it was necessary to submit an application. I was nervous, as it was more detailed than I had initially anticipated. Looking back, the information that I used in this application really helped me with subsequent applications. It’s also a great opportunity to get down ‘on paper’ what excites you about the technology sector.

There was a telephone interview prior to the event. This was a great opportunity to practice all the skills required for future internship, placement and graduate job telephone interviews.
Before the interviews and the event I was quite nervous so browsing the IT’s not just for the boys! website and seeing how lively and engaging past events looked, was really helpful. I also used this as an opportunity to research and highlight companies that I was interested in. This was invaluable as there were so many companies I had never even considered, especially as I didn’t come from a stereotypical computer engineering background. It really proved to me that there were opportunities in the technology field for someone like me.

Just before the event I was extremely nervous as I had only been to a few on-campus networking events and nothing of this size. I made sure I picked an outfit that was clean, presentable, professional and comfortable. This meant I could really engage with the speakers and activities and not worry about anything as the day went on.

The day itself was amazing and went by so quickly! The speakers, especially Anne-Marie Imafidon’s inspiring talk, really got me motivated for the rest of the day. Especially as it resonated so much with me and the other girls that were there. There were group activities later on and this gave you an opportunity to meet and speak to my peers, this was great as I didn’t know anyone prior to attending.

By the end of the evening it was difficult to leave – as I tried to say goodbye and thank you to everyone (plus attempting to jot down everyone’s names for LinkedIn and/or Facebook at a later date). However, this was great because I met quite a few other girls at subsequent interviews and assessment centre days (and I think seeing a friendly face at these future stages really put me at ease).

I thoroughly enjoyed the day and ended up attending several assessment centres and interviews for graduate schemes as a result. I am really pleased to say that I will be taking up a positon at Capgemini in September and I cannot wait to get started.

All made possible by the really unique and awesome day that is IT’s not just for the boys!, organised by the really supportive team at TARGETjobs (who have kept in touch since the event last year!) 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Jade Davis talks us through her day at IT's not just for the boys!

I was excited to attend the IT’s not just for the Boys! event hosted by J.P Morgan at their Glasgow office as I couldn’t wait to meet other like-minded females and experience a corporate office. Before attending the event I ensured I was prepared with formal attire and something to jot down notes during the day- any hints, inspirational messages or CV tips I gained during the day!

On arrival, I was greeted with many sociable women whom like myself were students in STEM. The day started with a welcome by a senior representative at J.P. Morgan, where she introduced J.P. Morgan and the opportunities they provide. While this was being explained I was frantically jotting down in my notepad (the current one I am using to reminisce and write this post).

Kate Taylor gave a motivational speech, which was one of the most memorable parts of the day. Being in a male dominated course it can be daunting having the confidence and courage to take opportunities. This speech encouraged us all to be brave and take opportunities when they arise, not just the safe option. Women need to break the stereotypes placed upon them and this talk helped encourage just that. The memorable final quote which was placed on the screen and was ingrained in my memory forever; "She believed she could so she did".

Networking over lunch allowed me to talk to current graduates and network with recruiters from all the companies. Socialising with graduates allowed me to get an insight into the companies that attended. This was my chance to ask any queries that I wanted answering and socialise with other women, retelling stories of our experience in higher education.

After lunch, we were all split into groups to experience the group sessions. Since I had yet to experience an assessment centre this was going to be very interesting. The group exercise involved creating an application for a healthy eating website, where we had to create an app that we had to pitch, keeping in mind our desired target audience. This was great to experience the group activities that could arise at future assessment centres. We then proceeded to be able to talk to the companies in groups and be able to find out more about the graduate opportunities available and the application process.

The day ended with networking and I ensured I connected with the inspirational women whom I had met on social media to keep in touch in the future. The event encouraged me to take opportunities and to apply to the graduate schemes of these amazing companies whom are helping promoting women in technology.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Katie Bennett secures a placement with Arup by attending Future Female Engineers!

I had been interested in Arup as a company since starting my second year at university and being encouraged to secure an industrial summer placement. My interest was spiked when seeing some of the hugely prestigious projects that Arup had been involved with. One of them being very close to home, the engineering building that I have studied in for 90% of my university career The Diamond, an £81m multidisciplinary engineering facility for the University of Sheffield.

Around the same sort of time my university was advertising the Future Females Engineers event, which was conveniently going to be hosted in Arups’s HQ in London! The application for the Future Female Engineers event was a straightforward example of what to expect from a placement application, this was really useful as an opportunity to practice for the real thing. The telephone interview was also very straightforward, there was no need to stress as long as you had prepared! I researched all the companies attending and concluded that I was most interested in Arup and Wates. This was asked about in my interview and I was put with these two companies on the day of the event.

At the event during the team building exercise I was put with Aman Gill, a recruitment officer who works for Arup in London, as my team’s mentor. She told us a lot about the recruitment process at Arup and what they value from their potential employees. I took Aman’s email address and contacted her subsequent to my application to the summer placement opportunity for Arup Sheffield. Aman was in contact with the Sheffield office supporting my application.

I was so pleased when I got the confirmation of an interview for the placement and was so grateful that I had been able to attend the event. I also mentioned attending the event to my interviewer at Arup and they seemed to be impressed with my efforts. What I took from the event was the importance of interest and passion with a company in helping to secure a placement. I was really interested in Arup as a company before the event and I made this clear in my application.

The placement itself has been really interesting! I’ve been working in the MEP building services team as an electrical engineer and have travelling around to Nottingham and Liverpool with my team to meetings and site visits. I’ve been working mostly on a high rise residential building in Liverpool developing the schematics for all the electrical systems inside the building, for example, working on the telecommunications schematic, fire alarm treatment drawings, doing lighting calculations and working on containment layouts. Arup was a fantastic company to secure a summer placement with, the support from everyone was great and the facilities are impeccable.

I was inspired by all of the female engineers that I met at the event whether they were just aspiring or qualified. I had never felt such a friendly and positive atmosphere at a networking event before. I was also pleased to see my team at Arup being very balanced in its representation of women which was so refreshing to see in such a big engineering consultancy. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Amira met IBM at IT's not just for the boys! Since she has secured her dream security placement with IBM

My name is Amira Remadna and I am second year student at Oxford Brookes university; studying a combined course- computer science with business management. During my studies it took me a while to realise what I really wanted and what my passion is. The support I received from family and friends and TARGETjobs IT’s not just for the boys! event really helped this process.

I have always been a maths girl, which lead me to study maths stream at secondary school. At the very last minute before applyi
ng through UCAS I changed my personal statement and my course from foundation degree in science to maths with business management information, international business and research studies- in order to have a business management and computer science degree.

After my first year at university and getting involved in societies especially being the Oxford Brookes faculty ambassador for both departments (business school and computer science) I started to lean towards the computer science route. I attended IT’s not just for the boys!, which is a special event  ran by TARGETjobs, designed exclusively for female students who are looking to find out more about opportunities within technology . It was an excellent day and it made me realise how big the sector is and the amount of different opportunities available. At the end of the day you gain such confidence and inspiration you realise that you can achieve anything regardless of your gender.

When I first decided to apply for a placement I had very little confidence because I had no work experience related to technology. I thought it would be impossible for me to get experience as I knew other students already had a lot of experience. However I did not give up, I decided to start working and build my CV before applying. The event extremely boosted my confidence and has allowed me to develop as a candidate and helped me to secure my placement.

My dream job has always been with IBM and luckily for me they happened to be one of the companies that attended the event. During the day students participated in a team challenge, which was a perfect chance to showcase my skills to IBM. The longer I spoke to IBM representatives and current graduates on their schemes enabled me to gain more information from them, which helped me stand out from the crowd. It was simply the perfect chance to meet IBM and learn tips for their applications. Moreover, I spent all day interacting with various companies and great people such as senior managers at Dell.

Straight after the event I applied to IBM and it was my one and only application, so I put in all my efforts, to get my dream job. After passing the first stage of the application form, I attended many interviews where I showed my interest in security. Each stage of the application grew more challenging, until one day I received an email stating I had passed the assessment centre, where I then received an offer for a security role interview.

My interview went well, despite the fact I am not studying a security degree. Nevertheless, it was exactly the job I wanted and after a few days I called IBM and I told them that I’m ready to take the challenge and willing to learn before the final interview. Within a short period of time I was able to learn Linux and various other technical systems, which I believe enhanced my application and prepared me extremely well for the interview. Shortly after my interview I received the news that I secured the job! I was one of three students who secured a placement with IBM and the first and only Oxford Brookes student to secure a role within security. I am now extremely excited to start my role with IBM on 28th June and grateful to the IT’s not just for the boys! event for helping me in gaining the confidence to land my dream job! 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Bronwyn O'Neill, Female Undergraduate of the Year 2014 finalist, sheds some light onto life after the Awards...

I was a top 10 finalist for Rolls Royce's Female Undergraduate of the Year Award 2014. After the award process, I graduated from the University of York in 2015 and a month later moved to Matsuyama City, Japan. I was accepted onto the JET Programme as an Assistant Language Teacher, and since then have been teaching in five rural Elementary and Junior High Schools on the island of Shikoku. The past two years have been a real whirlwind and I've learnt so much - I've now got conversational Japanese language, teaching skills, and a great deal of experience with cross-cultural communication.  I’ve built a good network and I’ve also had some fantastic opportunities to publish some of my travel writing. As well as the professional skills I’ve developed, being in Japan has been a great opportunity for travel, personal development, and making some wonderful friendships. I will finish my time on the programme in August 2017, and although I will be a heartbroken to say goodbye to my wonderful students and life in Japan, I am very much looking forward to starting my career in the UK. I hope to use and continue to develop my language, communication, and creative skills in the new challenges that lie ahead.

Being part of Female Undergraduate of the Year has influenced my career path so far in subtle but noticeable ways. Visits to the Rolls Royce facilities and networking at Canary Wharf definitely opened my eyes to the world of possibilities open to me as a hardworking young professional. Seeing myself on the same level as so many amazingly talented undergraduates also gave me a confidence boost that went a long way towards securing my place on the JET Programme, a competitive and very rewarding graduate scheme. I found the Female Undergraduate award process particularly interesting as I met many high-level women at Rolls Royce and got a unique perspective on a previously male-orientated professional field. It really piqued my interest and heightened my drive towards breaking the glass ceiling.

My advice for prospective applicants is not to underestimate yourself! Make your application personal and give yourself enough time to properly give yourself credit for the great things you’ve already done as an undergraduate. You never know where it might lead you!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

We caught up with Shilpa after attending our Future Female Engineers event back in 2015!

I found out about Future Female Engineers through an email I received from TARGETjobs in 2015. I went online and looked at the videos, photos and the companies who had attended previously and was very impressed. The help and advice given during the event seemed exactly what I needed at that point in my education; an independent voice offering me fresh ideas helping me think outside the box. It was also the fact that the event was for female engineers, which is a subject very close to my heart.

I applied online and waited for my telephone interview, which arrived the following week. The lady I spoke to was very friendly and the call did not feel like an interview at all! It was a friendly chat where she wanted to know a bit about me and my background, why I was interested and so on. She helped me with any questions which were not clear to me; she let me take my time and really listened to me which was very helpful.

On the day of the event I got to know the girls very quickly, as the day began with an introductory session with breakfast! We had a few talks from very motivated and established female engineers, before moving onto the team challenge, which was such a success for my team because we won! What did we have to do you ask? Well, our team designed, delegated and built the tallest, most price efficient and free standing balloon tower (yes, a balloon tower) amongst all the groups. All this in under an hour with a group of girls you only met a few minutes ago, makes you realise what you can achieve if you put your mind to it with a committed team around you. The sense of satisfaction and excitement this activity gave me, spurred me to go along to more team building activities within my university and my job which has helped me became a more confident and able engineer.

After the lunch, we had the chance to speak with three of our chosen companies. We were given in-depth information about their online application, tests, interview processes and assessment days. This was really helpful as the information was more detailed than what you would get at a graduate or recruitment fair. Kate Bellingham, who is an advocate for STEM and WISE gave such a powerful and inspirational speech; I think I had tears in my eyes! The stories of these women of how they came to be where they are today and the situations they faced was amazing to hear, some that you could relate to as well.

Since attending the event, I graduated from university the following year and got my first job in a space of four months! It was difficult at times, especially when I had no offers from any of the companies I had applied to. However, if there was one thing I took away from the event was to keep trying, never give up and in the mean time to do anything to make you stand out as an engineer.

I got an offer from Westfield Sportscars (WSC) in the Dudley, West Midlands to work on their amazing driverless Pod project. I joined as a Project Engineer and was able to do much more than I had ever imagined to as a newly graduated engineer. I got to liaise with customers, pick up tools and built vehicles, do design work on CAD, etc. I will never forget the valuable experience and information I gained from attending TARGETjobs Future Females Engineers. I strongly believe that it has helped me a great deal to get to where I am today. I hope that one day I get to help more girls who are in the position that I was in back in 2015 and be one of those strong women they will remember.

Monday, May 22, 2017

If you love tech, this is not to be missed! Sravani Royyuru shares her experience at IT's not just for the boys! event and her Spring into Technology programme with J.P. Morgan

October’s IT’s not just for the boys! event was a fantastic way to get tech savvy women clued up about the real-world applications of technology. The day was hosted at J.P. Morgan in Canary Wharf, which was a fantastic backdrop and provided a snapshot into the power of technology within financial services.

Throughout the day, interactions with the different companies provided valuable insights into the different roles of technology across multiple sectors. As the day progressed, the opportunities to participate in simulated assessment centre exercises, networking with Technology MDs and the Panel Q&A with senior females in tech, all helped to dispel myths and discuss challenges about being a woman in technology. I also received some great tips and tricks to make myself stand out from the crowd. The icing on the cake was the ‘Lean In’ style presentation by Anne-Marie Imafidon (founder of social enterprise STEMETTES) – her passion and humour was electric and in turn enthused the whole audience.

Following the event, I was extremely interested in applying to many of the employers who were involved in the event, including J.P. Morgan. Interacting with the J.P. Morgan representatives allowed us to gain perspective into what starting as an Analyst may be like, and I found myself appreciating the culture that I saw. This led me to apply to their Spring into Technology programme, despite being from a non-computer science background, the event gave me confidence in my analytical skills. Following a phone interview that tested my passion for technology, I was offered a place on the programme and spent three fantastic days in Canary Wharf, learning in detail about the firm’s focus on technology, its developments in client facing platforms and the overall opportunities available to STEM graduates.

My confidence to apply to J.P. Morgan, as well as the detail I could provide in my interview, is largely because of my participation in IT’s not just for the boys! – I would like to wholeheartedly thank the whole team at TARGETjobs Events, all the inspiring women on the panel and all the companies who were at the event for a fantastic day. I fully recommend this to everyone – if you love tech, this is not to be missed!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Katie Lofthouse is TARGETcareers School Leavers' Challenge 2017 Winner!

An advocate of the TARGETcareers School Leavers' Challenge, my head of sixth form urged me to complete the online assessment in order to be in with the chance of attending the grand final. Little did I know that this would lead to me lunching on the coveted rotating level of the BT Tower, looking out over the landscape of London midway through a day of challenges, informative talks, and networking with companies and other students.

So, how did I get there? Initially, the online aptitude test required both mathematical and employability skills, with the first of these sections based around analysis of data you may encounter in the business world (no difficult algebra!) and the latter assessing thinking of a more lateral nature to see how you respond in different circumstances everyone encounters when starting a new job. For the test, it is important to leave yourself enough time – you don't want to be rushed – and have a calculator, pen, and paper ready for any working during calculation questions. Also, try not to fixate on what is the 'right' answer in the employability section – it is likely there is no set in stone correct answer to any given question, and the test is simply to understand your personality and how it transfers in a business environment.

Following a tense few months of waiting to see if I qualified for the final, I was finally invited, and a couple of weeks later found myself on an early morning train to London, headed for the landmark BT Tower. Upon arrival, it became rapidly evident that with such a large group of students from a wide range of backgrounds, all of the finalists were happy to chat and find some common ground; the friendly atmosphere really helped to build my confidence before the tasks started.

After an introductory talk, I was then whisked to the observation level of the Tower to undertake the first of two assessment tasks of the day; the aptly named 'Marble Mayhem', which required strategy, concentration, technique, and teamwork – as well as a good sense of humour! The second task, mysteriously named 'Card Exchange', took place in the afternoon, and centred on having a business-minded approach, with many creative and unorthodox negotiation tactics attempted within my group in order to ensure the highest point score. Throughout these tasks, different business sponsors were assigned to coordinate and assess the different groups of students, although I can't say I felt pressured by their presence; in fact, I hardly noticed they were there.

The grand final also incorporated more general advice and informative sessions regarding personal branding, the different pathways available for school leavers, and the history of BT as a company. These, I found, were very useful in expanding my knowledge of areas I had not previously before considered, broadening my horizons and outlook of the somewhat intimidating world of work waiting for when studying was over.

The most invaluable aspects of my day were, no doubt, networking with new friends and companies whilst observing the breathtaking view of London, and the knowledge I have gained from all the sponsors and volunteers who helped to organise the event. To anyone who is considering entering the School Leavers’ Challenge next year – just do it, be yourself, learn from every experience it offers, and have fun. You never know where it will take you; as for myself, the next place will be the BT Headquarters, and this time next year, that may be you.

TARGETcareers School Leavers' Challenge finalist Ashleigh Stent shares her experience at the BT Tower!

 I am very grateful to BT and TARGETcareers that I had the chance to visit the BT Tower in London for the final of TARGETcareers School Leavers’ Challenge. After having completed the online assessment as the first stage on a whim, I am so grateful for my experience and would encourage everyone to have a shot next year!

The first stage of the competition involved completing an online quiz. There was a section concerning situational judgement, where the scene was set and you answered questions about how you would response in certain scenarios. Following this, there was a timed section in which we were asked to answer (challenging) maths questions, mostly about data evaluation. After you complete the tests, you are given a score, placed on a leaderboard and receive an email with tailored feedback concerning your strengths and how to develop them further, possibly entailing evaluations of your team work skills or drive.

I had no expectations about coming anywhere notable on the leaderboard and the challenge had slipped my mind until I received an email closer to the closing date informing me that I was on track to receive a place in the final. Luckily enough, I managed to maintain my place in the top 100 and was invited to the BT Tower!

I bought my train ticket, returned my forms and awaited my trip into London! Luckily, I don’t live too far from London, so I got to leave my house at the time I’d usually leave for school – although I had met people there that had travelled from Northern Ireland to be there. I’m sure we’d all have agreed it was worth the trip even if it was long!

Walking into the BT Tower, you’re immediately met with modern, and artistic decoration of the building – with many interesting adapted telephone boxes around (purple, covered in coins, mirrored – just to name a few). I signed in and awaited the event to start. We were split into groups with different coloured lanyards and within each group had two teams. The activities we took part in were challenging and revolved around teamwork and collaboration. Despite this, each of us were individually assessed throughout on a variety of skills by representatives of various employers. We were being assessed, but the activities were incredibly enjoyable and fun! They were a great chance to work with and connect with the new people I had met in my group. 

Between the activities, we got to enjoy a lovely and tasty lunch, in the revolving part of the BT tower. I got a bit disorientated by the spinning but once I had worked out what was going on, I could focus on and enjoy the incredible views of London!

The highlight of the day for me was a session about personal branding. The session was inspiring, encouraging and motivational. It included a great balance of practical advice relating to careers and more abstract and encouraging ideas about how to express our personalities throughout the work we will undertake during our future careers.

Finally, the award ceremony- I was not for a moment expecting my name to be announced, but it was a great surprise and I am really excited to have the opportunity to attend BT’s Adastral Park Centre!

Everyone I met there seemed to enjoy their day as well as myself and would agree that the experience was encouraging, informative, and exciting! Good luck to everyone who chooses to apply for 2018’s competition and thank you again to everyone who made the day possible.

Friday, May 12, 2017

You miss every shot you don't take! Jemma Hart shares her experience at Future Female Engineers event and securing her dream graduate job with Arup.

My name is Jemma Hart and I am in my fifth and final year of a Masters of Engineering degree in Civil Engineering at Heriot-Watt University. I attended the 2016 TARGETjobs Future Female Engineers event, held at the Atkins office in Bristol.

I applied for the event online by submitting my CV and answering some straightforward questions, mainly focusing on my desire to attend the day. After passing this stage, I received an invitation for a telephone interview. I was asked again about why I wanted to go to the event and also which companies appealed to me and why. This stage of the application process was very relaxed and I was encouraged to be myself. Because of this, my passion for engineering shone through and I was able to convey my enthusiasm for the event. 

The day kicked off with a welcome talk which set out the busy day arranged for all of the attendees. We received a speech from the keynote speaker Roma Agrawal and a guest speaker Caroline Norris from Atkins. The speakers discussed their accomplishments during their working careers and shared their true opinions of being a women in a predominantly male industry.  Following this, we were given the opportunity to chat to recruiters about the application process. This really opened my eyes to exactly what employers look for in a CV and I definitely saw an improvement in my own CV after applying their advice. We were put into company teams based on one of the employers you had shown a particular interest in. This was a fun way of getting noticed by employers and also gave us a taste of what to expect at recruitment assessment centres. The rest of the day was spent chatting to graduates, established female engineers and company representatives were available throughout so it’s a fantastic way to get a better idea of each company (and for insider tips!).

I initially applied for the event as I knew it would be an effective networking opportunity, helping me in my applications to graduate jobs. However, I was blown away by how inspired I was by the event. Before the event, I had started applying for graduate jobs which is a lengthy process; I was lost on what job I really wanted and where I would be best placed.  After some time it’s easy to lose momentum, but I found this event gave me the fire I needed to apply for the opportunities I have been working towards for years. In February this year, I was offered my dream graduate job with Arup which I accepted and I will be starting this September. The TARGETjobs Future Female Engineers event helped give me the confidence to apply to roles enormously and helped me to stand out from the crowd.

Sometimes it’s important to remind yourself that you miss every shot you don’t take. In applying for the TARGETjobs Future Female Engineers event, I gained a rare opportunity to propel my career forward and gain valuable knowledge from inspiration people. As a woman just starting my career in engineering, the day removed any concerns I had about being in the minority by introducing me to strong female role models who are established in the engineering field. The event is an unmissable opportunity for any woman with a passion for engineering. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Cindy Jiang secures a summer internship with AIG

Cindy attended the TARGETjobs Event IT's not just for the boys! event in November 2016. As a result she's managed to secure a summer internship with AIG - one of the companies she met on the day! Congratulations Cindy! Read about her day below and why she recommends that you take every opportunity and attend the next event!

My name is Cindy Jiang and I am a second year student at the University of Birmingham studying political economy. “It’s not just for the boys!” was a great and inspiring event which has highly influenced my professional life plans. Despite not coming from a computer science background, through my own research and  meeting various companies on campus in my first year I slowly begun to develop an interest in IT. My knowledge of technology is quite limited (in regards to coding or logistics) but I am fascinated in the challenging and innovative industry of IT.  This event was therefore the perfect opportunity for me to go outside my comfort zone and learn more about the various positions and schemes some IT related companies had to offer!

In order to attend the event, the team at TARGETjobs require students to complete an online application - this ensures that only the highly motivated and genuinely interested students attend the event. The application process was really smooth, I first had to submit my CV and outline the reasons which inspire me to attend the event. Having passed this stage I was then selected for a telephone interview, which again I had to prepare for but it wasn’t too difficult- it's important to demonstrate your true interest to the event.

I personally really enjoy these events as you are able to meet so many representatives from companies that you have either barely heard of or not heard of all and you get to speak to lots of other like minded students. The event was very well organised and the incredibly friendly members of TARGETjobs and the company representatives made me at ease throughout the whole day. The event I attended was held in the fascinating Bloomberg offices in London, with superb facilities! The day started with the amazing guest speaker Kate Taylor (an empowerment coach) and followed by many activities which involved team challenges and networking sessions.

During a networking session I was able to meet a representative from AIG and at this stage I was very unfamiliar with the company and insurance. Through this conversation however I learned a lot on the insurance industry, but more importantly i learned more about AIG. I had the chance to talk with a member of the graduate recruitment team who outlined the various positions they have to offer to undergraduates. I seemed to have the right skills set matching one of their positions and I was highly recommended to apply to a scheme. At this event I was also able to chat to recent graduates from the various companies and learn first hand more about their respective roles. I was able to compare and make my own choices of which companies and areas I would most likely see myself working in.

Following the event I carried out further research and submitted an application for a summer internship with AIG. I successfully passed the online application process and was kindly invited for an assessment day a few months later. This process seemed to go pretty quickly and I have now secured a Commercial Underwriting Summer Internship with AIG for summer 2017!

To any student who is still unsure of your future career path, my recommendation is to be curious and attend as many interesting events as you can! 
Years go by quickly, so make the most of it, meet employers and develop new skills- it is always in your advantage!

If you've just read Cindy's story and it sounds familiar! Why not apply to attend one of our next IT's not just for the boys! events! Visit the website here to find out more!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Undergraduate of the Year ‘Future CFO’ 2016 winner Molly Ashton visits the capital of the European Union

Shortly about to commence her final year of studies before starting a graduate role in Tax at PwC, Molly was chosen as our winner. Intelligent, with an adaptive thought process having the power to influence others, she showed all of the skills desirable for a future CFO. Molly also proves that you don't have to fit a certain mould to become an accountant: she is an avid fashion and beauty blogger, traveller, and animal lover! She describes her trip to Brussels in her blog here 

With our finalists being asked to debate the threats and opportunities associated with BREXIT for a small to medium business owner, a part of Molly’s prize was the unique opportunity to spend 2 days in the European Headquarter in Brussels, to meet with influential business advisors, EU officials, and even getting an exclusive tour of the European Parliament, organised by ACCA Brussels office.

First on the agenda was a meeting with Clara Lemaire, Head of the Brussels Office of Centrica, Sean McGuiree, Director of the CBI Brussels office and Cian Rice, director of EU Government relations for Barclays. They all stressed that the Brexit vote had increased the necessity for UK businesses to have a presence in Brussels. This allows companies to obtain intelligence on, and influence policies affecting their activities, and also to act as a link between the EU institutions and their UK offices. Meeting with influential people in the financial sector in Brussels helped Molly to understand some of the wider issues taking place following on from the BREXIT vote. Molly also heard a presentation by our Brussels office on ACCA’s EU affairs activities and on how Brussels works. 

On Day 2 of the trip, after a meeting with Peter Ujvari, a member of ACCA Corporate Reporting Global Forum and senior IFRS expert at the KBC bank, Molly received an exclusive invite to the European Commission and to the European Parliament. One of the Commission's main roles is to propose legislation, which is then adopted by the co-legislators, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.
The ACCA delegation visited the Directorate General in charge for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union (DG FISMA), where ValĂ©rie Ledure, an ACCA member and the Deputy Head of the Accounting and Financial Reporting Unit, gave an overview of the work of the European Commission in general, and of her unit, more specifically.  

The group then had the opportunity to get a private guided tour around the impressive European Parliament by Rhiannon Price, the Senior Policy Advisor of Welsh MEP Kay Swinburne, predominantly active in the field of financial services.

After lunch at the EP’s canteen, the ACCA group was joined by Andrea Laskava, a special adviser to EPP’s President MEP Manfred Weber, who shared with us precious insights on the functioning of the EP and the internal political games.

In addition to better understanding the role of the European institutions, Molly also got to enjoy the cultural side of Brussels with visits to the Magritte Museum, the Royal Palace, the old town centre and of course eating Belgian waffles and frites.

Reflecting on the trip Molly said:

"I thoroughly enjoyed the trip to Brussels, understanding more about the EU parliament and what ACCA's role is in the city was really interesting. It was strange to go from ACCA's huge London HQ to an office of two members in Brussels who work more closely with the parliament and commission to understand policies. The trip has helped me understand how diverse ACCA's role is across the world and has definitely intrigued me to find out more in the future!"

Monday, January 9, 2017

You have to be in it to win it! Words of advice from Management Undergraduate of the Year Shona McCotter

Hi everyone, my name is Shona McCotter and I have been lucky enough to receive the coveted TARGETjobs Management Undergraduate of the year award 2016, sponsored by Enterprise-Rent-a-Car.
I was reading through my university emails one day when I saw this particular opportunity to enter the UK Undergraduate of the Year awards. It immediately took my interest and I chose to enter the Management category.
What I really liked about this category was that Enterprise-Rent-a-Car was the sponsor. Having won graduate employer of the year on various occasions and with a summer internship and a week in the states up for grabs I knew this is would be an amazing opportunity.
Having completed my online application and passing my phone interview, I was then invited to an assessment day at their European Head office in Surrey. To say I was nervous in the days and hours beforehand was an understatement (I travelled from Barcelona – so I had a lot of time to dwell!).
The assessment centre was a lot less daunting than I imagined. The ERAC team were genuinely so friendly and down to earth, and this made me feel much more comfortable in expressing myself throughout the different tasks with other candidates and in my one to one interview. They really wanted each of us to do well! I learned a lot about Enterprise’s working environment and noticed how most of the employees started as management trainees – so they really had a found respect for what interns do.
The awards ceremony itself in Canary Wharf was such an amazing experience and the presentation by Fiona Bruce was really inspiring. I had never been to anything like it. As the winner, I was presented my award by Khaled Shabo, Corporate VP and MD for UK and Ireland who has contributed enormously to the success of Enterprise-Rent-a-Car.
I will undergo my USA trip next summer in the global HQ for Enterprise-Rent-a-Car!  ERAC have also asked me to be their Campus Brand Manager this year, which has been a great experience so far, allowing me to promote their opportunities in careers fairs and to my peers. Since winning the award I have interned in Beijing, China on a scholarship and have had graduate offers based on my achievement, so it has really brought me far and was definitely worth the application!

“You have to be in it to win it” is a phrase we’re all very familiar with but very few of us take it seriously. One piece of advice I would give after this experience is to have some faith in yourself and go for it! It was worth it for me, it might just be for you too. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Do yourself proud! Martin talks of how there's nothing to lose when applying for the Undergraduate of the Year Awards

I was just finishing some January assignments at University and had a free afternoon where I thought I would apply. I always wanted to apply, and the Department of Economics at Warwick sent around emails encouraging us to do so, but I was not quite sure which category to go for and didn’t have too much time to look into it but once the assignments were out of the way, I concluded that the Future CFO category best-suited my skillset. Not only that, but the prize – a trip around Europe! – looked incredible!

After answering three competency questions, we had four online tests to do. These were quite hard, especially given the time pressures, but ultimately if I wasn’t very good at analysing pie charts or answering the other numerical/logical tests, then I wouldn’t make a very good CFO anyway! So it was a very good test and one which tells you a lot about yourself.

Soon after, I got an email from ACCA inviting me to the next round: record yourself in a one-minute video outlining your views on Brexit! This was something I had done a lot of research in, and understandably had a lot of interest in given I study economics, so I was very happy to do so, but there were still some nerves knowing you have to record yourself on camera!

Amazingly I got through to the next round: a debate with an MP furthering our views on Brexit from what we outlined in the video. This was a superbly well-run event and given the calibre of students I was so pleased to be able to share the room with these people and give my inputs.

Whatever the outcome, I knew I had done myself proud with my research and met some fantastic people who I could learn a lot from, but it was then amazing to get the email telling me I had got through to the final!

I was so excited for this event, as were my University! After a long, but ultimately very fun and interactive, selection process, this was a day for us to mingle and get to know other incredible like-minded people. It was such an incredible opportunity to get here, to meet Fiona Bruce, to meet other ACCA professionals and to build my network with other students from different degree fields. The three-course meal was fantastic, and whilst I did not win, I was super pleased for the eventual winner and I know I walk away from the competition much better placed in terms of the graduate job market with this to my CV, and also with an ever-increasing network built.

My advice is clear: apply! I walked away so proud of myself – I knew I didn’t let myself down and couldn’t have done much better – so there is nothing to lose, be yourself and utilise every opportunity in life to make yourself stand out – and this is one of the best ones to take!