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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!
targetjobsevents.co.uk/its-not-just-for-the-boys

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!



A journey full of experiences and rewards: Luisa's Undergraduate of the Year story

The Final event was in the Winter Gardens in Canary Wharf, filled with 120 of the brightest and most high achieving undergraduates, and every single one was reminded of their excellence by each speaker on stage. I was sitting amongst those 120 undergraduates, having been shortlisted to win the female undergraduate award. Every now and again I would experience a wave of insecurity because I could not understand how I managed to get through to this last stage. I do not think I realised the significance of these awards until I was there, surrounded by so many incredible students and company sponsors.
The entire journey, from sending in my CV and completing the first online psychometric tests to the final event, was the most challenging but also most rewarding journey I have embarked and looking back at it I would recommend anyone with the least bit of ambition to apply for one of the TargetJobs awards. 
I experienced a two-day assessment centre (which is not very common), but it raised my confidence and helped me prepare in the best way possible for any future assessments I will face. We had to do group assessments, presentations, interviews, write individual reports but we were also taken round the incredible sites of Rolls Royce in Derby, whereby we learnt more about the company. I was offered a summer internship with Rolls Royce despite of not having won the award itself, but that was because they spotted potential in me during the application process. I got to spend a day in Canary Wharf and take a selfie with Fiona Bruce. But most importantly, I made more than 119 new valuable contacts from several industry fields, who will certainly in future become some of the most influential leaders of our time. I also got to speak to high level managers and executives from Rolls Royce who all shared about their own career paths and gave me valuable tips. 
About mid way through this journey I started to see it less as a competition and more as a networking opportunity. I experienced the beauty of encouragement and the importance of supporting one another in our successes because there is much more value in celebrating each other than putting each other down.
As you can see, it was all in all a hard process but I got much more out of it than I had asked for.

You never know what might happen or how far you might come. If you never try you will never succeed. 


Give the Undergraduate of the Year Awards a go like Adam did, and you too could gain a lot!

After speaking to one of my friends who reached the final of the competition last year, I thought I would throw my hat in the ring and give it a go myself. Indeed, I too was fortunate enough to make the final ten for Management Undergraduate of the Year. In this short piece I thought it would be useful to share the most pertinent takeaway for me, which relates largely to the benefits of being exposed to an entire recruitment cycle so early on during your time at university.

The first port of call was to submit an online application including two or three short essay answers, as well as online verbal and numerical reasoning tests. This was followed by a 30-minute telephone interview to understand my motivations for applying. My advice to anyone who makes this stage would be to do some research around Enterprise Rent-A-Car and really get to grips with how diverse the business is. More than anything, of course, just be yourself and convey a genuine enthusiasm for reaching the next stage and you’ll do just fine.

Once the telephone interview is complete you’ll be invited to an assessment centre at the European Head Office in Surrey. This is a half-day centre with roughly 6 or 7 other applicants from universities around the country. We started with a group exercise and then moved into one-to-one interviews before finishing up with an individual exercise that definitely tests your ability to manage and lead right from the outset. Although that sounds terrifying, don’t worry about anything – one of the most surprising things for me was how welcoming and friendly everyone was. It’s a target-driven environment with a flexible and hospitable atmosphere, and you’ll feel like you’re already part of the company within the first hour.

Once the assessment centre was complete we were invited to join the finalists and distinguished guests from Enterprise Rent-A-Car at Canary Wharf. There we were treated to lunch with Fiona Bruce before the awards were presented. As I pointed out earlier, the biggest learning curve for me was experiencing the full recruitment process, from online application all the way through to assessment centre and interview. No matter what stage you get to, you’ll have that experience in the bank to draw upon when it comes to applying for placements and/or graduate roles. That has certainly proved valuable for me when attending assessment centres and interviews in recent months.

In short, my advice would be to throw yourself in and get involved as it’s a great, risk-free environment to develop those transferrable skills that you’ll need when it comes to applying for that all important placement and graduate position. Of course, networking with fellow applicants and the guys from Enterprise is also one of the most valuable things that you’ll take from the experience. And even though there’s only one outright winner, whatever stage of the competition you get to is certainly a great asset on your CV, and will give you a great foundation from which to talk about your experiences in interviews.

I’m more than happy to answer any other questions or have a more general chat if you want to get in touch. My email is ajb204@bath.ac.uk or connect with me on LinkedIn.


TJ talks us through his valuable experience at Sky!

The Explore Sky Finance Insight Day was fantastic and it gave me a great idea on what life would be like working at Sky. Walking in to The Sky Studio Campus and knowing that you are seconds away from the sports and news studios is both daunting and awe inspiring. The campus in Osterley is huge and it reminded me of going to university for the first time. But what I enjoyed most about this day, was the atmosphere which was very vibrant. This made me think that the staff are happy to work at Sky and truly value their job.
Although this was a financial insight day, everyone came from a range of different academic backgrounds. Some students were in their penultimate year studying accountancy, while others were in their final year studying geography. A student on my table was doing her masters in chemistry! It shows Sky welcomes all and that the skills you obtain in any degree can be transferable.
The event gave us the opportunity to listen to the recruitment team at Sky for the placement and graduation schemes. What they said was extremely useful as they showed us how applicants should differentiate themselves from other candidates. Looking at the past applications together and pointing out the flaws and the positives will help in the future, when applying for Sky.
After this, we had a chance to listen to people that have been part of the Sky Graduate schemes and placement schemes. This part of the day gave me an insight into what it would be like working for Sky. Being told that it is fast paced and there are a variety of tasks that you need to do as there a range of jobs, excites me.
The tour of Sky was probably the most exciting part of the day. I could not stop smiling when I was in the Sky Sports studios. But the tour of the campus itself was hugely impressive. All the different departments seem top class and the scenery was beautiful.
The day ended with the opportunity to show our skills in a challenge where as a group we had to launch a plan for a new product or service for Sky and then present it to the other participants and the judges in the room. This was interesting as our group realised that our idea was like other groups around us, something that Sky must often come across. We had to find a way to make our product stand out and look unique. This task improved my presentational marketing skills, which will help me in the future.

Overall I would recommend anyone interested in working for Sky or a career in finance should come to this insight day. The information you receive about the application process and what it is like working at Sky is so valuable. The day is extremely enjoyable and memorable as there are numerous moments where you are either learning something valuable or looking at the many incredible scenes and studios at Sky.


Thursday, January 5, 2017

We catch up with the Future Business Leader Award winner 2016!

Sarahjane studied international business with business law at Glasgow Caledonian University. With a love for travel, Sarahjane completed an Erasmus exchange in France and taught English for one year in Senegal with Project Trust. Several of her experiences helped her develop a passion for sustainability within business, so she saw the Future Business Leader of the Year award as the obvious choice for her.

I was already familiar with the Undergraduate of the Year Awards before I had even considered applying, as I had used Target Jobs throughout my time at university to look for placements and graduate employment. Out of them all, the “Future Business Leader of the Year” was easily the category where I felt myself best placed. I was studying International Business and had previously worked in finance, procurement and CSR. Yet, despite this, I had still spent some time deliberating whether I should apply, especially looking at previous winners and their own backgrounds. However, I was drawn to the FMCG focus of the application, as this was the sector I had wanted to enter, and Mars being the sponsor company was naturally extremely attractive. So, perhaps partly due to dissertation procrastination, I decided to submit an application.

Everyone says it, but I really was genuinely surprised each time I passed a stage of the application. The initial psychometric testing was similar to those I was completing when applying for graduate jobs, so I was really encouraged when I had passed this and motivated me to continue with the application. Having saying that, the next stage involved a telephone interview and was probably the stage I felt I had messed up the most! I had spent so much time preparing generic interview questions that I was completely thrown by the more informal, person-centred approach of the interview. I was probed on my CV and specific experiences as opposed to the generic competency-based scenarios which I was so used to, which made it harder for me to try and work out how well or poorly I’d done. Looking back though, the interview was a good indication of what was to come: an assessment centre designed to really understand candidates further than simply what can be taken from a CV. This was probably my favourite thing about the whole process; I felt like I had really got to understand Mars (and also the other candidates in my category) and that Mars had taken the time to understand us. When I think back to how I was undecided about applying, I’ve learned that embracing having differences as opposed to being intimidated by them really paid off.



Winning the award was the most perfect way to finish off final year and gave me so much more confidence for graduate life. Admittedly, throughout the process, it struck me how well everyone got on, particularly in comparison to other assessments I had been involved with. One of my highlights from the awards was how much fun we all had together – the real source of competitiveness surrounded which category had had the best table (which “Future Business Leader” had 100% won thanks to all the chocolate goodies courtesy of Mars). Even after the ceremony, so many of us have stayed in touch, whether this be via our social media group or by supporting each other’s business ventures. I truly feel like I have met people who I can rely on later in my professional life, and if that’s what the next generation of undergraduates look like, then I look forward to what lies ahead in my career!