UCL Careers
  • Welcome

    The UCL Careers team use this Blog to share their ‘news and views’ about careers with you. You will find snippets about a whole range of career related issues, news from recruiters and links to interesting articles in the media.

    If you are a researcher, we a specific blog for you.

    We hope you enjoy reading the Blog and will be inspired to tell us your views.

    If you want to suggest things that students and graduates might find helpful, please let us know – we want to hear from you.

    Karen Barnard – Director, UCL Careers

    UCL Careers is part of The Careers Group, University of London

    Accurate at the time of publication
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    Modern Languages & Its Unexpected Career Paths

    By Weronika Z Benning, on 8 February 2016

    By Andrew Scott – Head Fashion Buyer

    I had never given much thought to modern languages until high school, but then why would I when it was never something which had been included in my curriculum? That soon changed the moment I sat down in my first French lesson. The whole concept had me gripped from that moment, as I started to enjoy learning in a way which I never had before. Language combines the theory of traditional core subjects with a hint of personal expression which you only get through art based subjects providing the middle ground I unknowingly required.

    Needless to say I excelled in language and it was a natural step for me to carry this on through to college and then university.

    For me, the novelty of studying modern languages and the sense of accomplishment which came with it never wore off, so I guess I was one of the lucky ones who came out of university with a clear sense of direction.

    Immediately out of university I explored the typical avenues of employment such as translating and interpreting, although I knew this wasn’t a long term career path and I soon moved on to a role within an international company. Whilst I enjoyed this fast paced environment, I couldn’t ignore the pull to get involved in the world of fashion, which was the industry my parents both operated in.

    I was surprised how strongly the industry demanded my language skills in many different areas, which gave me a much wider choice of career than I had ever thought. I am now the head fashion buyer of Infinities Menswear, a role which constantly demands my language skills and takes me all over Europe. On a daily basis I speak on the phone with our global suppliers and regularly attend international fashion shows and buying meetings. The ability to communicate with people in their own dialect goes a long way in terms of building relationships and it is personally enjoyable to use my languages in practice.

    Thinking back to my university days, I never would have predicted that I would have the career I have today and I feel very fortunate to think that I have been able to combine my two passions in life in such a way.

    I fear that many people believe modern languages commands a very narrow career path, which is a misconception I am keen to correct for anyone considering or currently studying modern languages. In reality, a modern languages qualification provides you with an edge over the competition in a wide range of roles within a multitude of different industries.

    The world is your oyster, learn how to communicate in it!

    Does Amazon hate the people that work there? Lessons for choosing your future employer carefully!

    By Manpreet Dhesi, on 24 August 2015

    On 15th August, the New York Times published a damning story about the way Amazon treats its employees throughout their organisation.

    Amazon Cat - Creative Commons/Stephen Woods/Flickr.comAmazon Cat – Creative Commons/Stephen Woods/Flickr.com

     

    Here are a few of the practices that ex-employees expose in the article:
    –       In order to find the “right” way to do things you are encouraged to openly challenge your colleagues. It creates a combative environment.
    –       An expectation that you will work late and on weekends and take part in conference calls on holiday.
    –       An Anytime Feedback Tool which allows employees to send praise or criticism about any other employee to management.
    –       Staff who were sick; women who had children; and a staff member who wanted to reduce their hours to take care of a sick parent were told that these events were interfering with fulfilling their work goals.

    There has been A LOT of reaction to this through the week. I am not writing to draw any specific conclusions about Amazon, I will leave that to you. I thought it was a good spring board to suggest some ideas about how to choose the right place to work.

    In the interests of balance, I have included 2 links to share the other side of the story. A rebuttal from an existing employee and a memo to staff from the CEO of Amazon, telling staff to email him if they are experiencing “such lack of empathy”.
    > https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/amazonians-response-inside-amazon-wrestling-big-ideas-nick-ciubotariu
    > http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2015/08/17/amazon-coms-bezos-replies-to-stinging-criticism-on-workplace-policies/

    Ideas on how to evaluate a future employer:
    – Take time to understand what is important to you, so that you know what to look at when evaluating an organisation.
    – Speak to existing employees. Reach out through LinkedIn to see if you have anyone in your network. I find that people are generally very willing to talk.
    – Look at sites such as glassdoor.co.uk which often include profiles of employers with comments from people who have worked there.
    – One great tip I have seen is to go to the business loctaion on a Monday morning and see what the body language of staff there tells you!
    – If you have got an interview, remember that this is still a good time to evaluate an employer. This is the organisation on its best behaviour (or should be) so consider what this tells you about how they might treat you if you get the job.
    – Don’t be blinded by the perks that they publicise. What do they expect in return and how does that fit with the level of commitment you feel comfortable offering?
    – Ask why the person you are replacing is leaving! You might need to read between the lines here!!
    – Get an internship or work experience. Also know as ‘try before you buy’!

    Its not all bad news, some employers are testing looking after employees as their route to success.

    Netflix recently announced paid (at your full salary level) maternity/paternity leave for the first year of your newborn or adoption. This is in addition to unlimited holiday!

    And this CEO took a gigantic paycut (from $1M to $70,000) in order to give his staff a higher minimum wage.

    Happy investigating.

    Trevor Bibic, Careers Consultant, UCL Careers

    Getting your voice heard could land you a job

    By Manpreet Dhesi, on 3 July 2015

    This post orginially appeared on the UCL Careers Researchers blog

    New research published in Psychological Science has shown that written job pitches pale in comparison to the spoken wordPhone.

    When scientists at the University of Chicago asked people, some of them professional recruiters, to evaluate student job pitches, they responded better to videos and voice recordings than to the exact same speeches written down. Using identical words, when evaluators are able to hear a person’s voice (importantly, both with or without a visual video recording) they rate that person as more intelligent, thoughtful and competent.

    Speaking to The New York Times, Professor Nicholas Epley, one of the co-authors of the study, explained these results by saying that spoken words “show that we are alive inside – thoughtful, active….The closest you ever get to the mind of another person is through their mouth.”

    So what does this mean for your job hunt? Well, it means that networking is EVEN more important than we’re always telling you it is. And that although online professional social networks can be a great way to identify useful contacts, they’re no substitute for actually meeting someone, or at least chatting to them on the phone. And you know when you’re invited to call for more information while applying for a job? Well maybe you should do that. Put together some intelligent questions to which you’d actually like answers, and use it as an opportunity to introduce yourself and what you have to offer – it could mean that they’ll pay more attention to your written application when it comes in.

    – S Donaldson, Careers Consultant, UCL Careers

    Technology Consultant : UCL Alumni

    By Manpreet Dhesi, on 22 June 2015

    Alan Ying, MSc Technology Entrepreneurship 2009 alumnus, tells us why doing a Masters at UCL helped his career as an Senior IT Consultant at FDM Group.

    “Growing up in the ‘dot com bubble’ and witnessing the growing potential of the digital world, committing to an IT career was a no-brainer since my childhood. Alan Ying -  FDM Group

    I obtained my bachelor degree in Computer Science back in 2008, then moved on to extend my IT knowledge from a business perspective by doing a Master’s in Technology Entrepreneurship at UCL in 2009.  I chose this course because I wanted to broaden my understanding within the field of IT and I was particularly interested in the process from an idea to a product on the shelf.  The location of the University was perfect, especially as a business course, UCL attracts a fantastic mix of candidates from across the globe, and the all-important business and social events were right on our doorsteps! The course focused on the fundamental concepts of how to survive as a start-up.  We had in-depth discussions on business cases and analysed the reasons of success as well as the mistakes we shouldn’t make.  As well as learning a great deal on the course, the part I enjoyed the most was the combination of networking and industry insight at the Thursday night events. This involved a guest presentation with entrepreneurs and business aficionados, where they shared their experience and talked us through their ups and downs during their journey to success.  I’d also like to stress that the inspirational lead lecturer, Dr Chapman made the course ever so exciting and I much appreciate the time and effort he invested in my class.

    I completed my Masters at a difficult time for the economy: for those who are young enough to remember, neither of these two years were ideal for employment, due to the economy meltdown and the bankruptcy of numerous leading financial firms. It was the most challenging time for job hunters in decades! FDM Group was one of the few IT consultancy firms that was still growing during the recession and they were looking for candidates who were bilingual and who held a computer-related degree; it was a perfect match. UCL have a fantastic network that was demonstrated by the career fairs that they organised. The ones that I attended opened my eyes to the possibility and opportunities out there and helped refine my career path after graduation

    My 10-week training started immediately after I made it through the interview stages and was accepted onto the Graduate Programme. I was glad to be joining a company with top-notch training facilities, a global network and a market-driven strategy that suited client demands.

    Upon completing my training in the Academy I obtained a professional IT qualification that became a game changer in terms of my future career: the ISTQB certificate for Software Testing. FDM Group arranged interviews for me with clients within the banking industry and after a successful interview with HSBC I was placed on site. My first assignment was to cover for a Senior Test Analyst on maternity leave!

    No matter how technically talented you are, your first experience in a professional IT environment, especially in one of the biggest banks in the world, is never going to be easy. The amount of industrial and internal terminologies and abbreviations used on a daily basis is comparable to a whole new language; in my early days I kept a mini booklet in my pocket where I wrote down all the new ‘words’ I learnt every day and revised them at night. My FDM Trainer was absolutely spot on when he told me that IT is never a nine-to-five job. After only a few weeks on site I had earned the trust of the HSBC management and was given an opportunity to look after a small project on my own; this really helped my career development and further enhanced my skill-set, helping me to become a better IT Consultant for years to follow.

    The second placement I took up through FDM Group was at BGL Group. They were the company behind CompareTheMarket.com and also provided services to create web-based insurance solutions to their co-operate partners and clients. I was brought on board to support the national QA team to protect the intense timelines across numerous projects.

    I am now an E2E Test Manager of Barclays Mobile Banking Applications and have been working on various Barclays mobile projects since I was placed at Barclays 4 years ago. My chief responsibility is to amaze our customers by allowing them to experience next-generation digital mobile solutions provided by the Barclays IT Team. No two days are the same at the office and new challenges arise every day. It is important to keep up to date with the latest digital trends, embrace them and integrate them into your own knowledge in order to provide informed and sophisticated advice to customers and clients.

    Throughout the years there were a few occasions where FDM Group clients wanted me to become their full time employee but I always ended up politely declining. Even now I appreciate how FDM provides professional training, adapts to the market needs and has an internal and external community with global reach – the exact same reasons I chose FDM Group in the first place.”

    For more information, please visit www.fdmgroup.com or for further information about Technology Consultant Careers visit, Careers Tagged.

    Careers in the Education Sector: Employer Forum for PhDs and Researchers

    By Manpreet Dhesi, on 4 November 2014

    The aim of this event is to help PhD students and other researchers with their career planning by providing an opportunity to question, to hear from and network with employers that come from a variety of roles within the Education sector, who are PhD holders themselves. The panel of speakers will give tips on how research students can use their qualifications and experiences to enter this field as well as information about their sector.

    When: 27th November 2014 – 5:30pm – 7:30pm

    Panel of speakers will be:

    Mark Llewellyn – Director of Research, Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)

    Marek Kukula – Public Astronomer, Royal Observatory Greenwich

    Mary Henes – London Regional Director, The Brilliant Club

    Rosalind Mist – Head of Education Policy, The Royal Society

    Steve Heggie – Institute Manager, UCL Eastman Dental Institute

    Steve Cross – Head of Public Engagement, UCL Public and Cultural Engagement

    To find out more and to read the speakers’ biographies please go to: http://courses.grad.ucl.ac.uk/course-details.pht?course_ID=2462

    Research Students book here

    Research Staff book here

    For the attention of logical thinkers!

    By Manpreet Dhesi, on 8 October 2014

    Logical algorithms associated with science and developed in the effort to make sense of the world dominate your thinking patterns. You are studying fascinating ideas, structured theories and new ways to apply old ideas. There is an Engineering Fair on and you probably don’t really feel the pull to go and find out what is going on. The comfort of your course and academic work is too cosy for you.

    The Engineering Fair is on because employers are looking for people like you. The world needs logical thinkers and problem solvers. They want to use your clear thinking to achieve results, your objective mind to highlight causes and effects, or utilise your lateral thinking to bring valuable perspectives to light.

    The options for you are endless. You can work in technology, management, retail, law and financial professions.  In addition, many other specialist professions unrelated to your subject will be keen to harness your skills and train you. With so many choices, you have a challenge: which one to choose!

    Like many other decisions you have to make, such as buying a mobile phone or finding a place to live, the more investment of time and grey cells that you spend researching, analysing, reading and checking things out the more informed you will be to choose the right career option for you. The Engineering Fair is the kind of opportunity that you can utilise depending on your time investment and preparation.

    Make it your business to know their business and its relation to you.

    So don’t just come browsing mindlessly.

    • Research the companies’ products, services and the overall industry.
    • Look into the roles the companies offer and consider/ predict the roles that they are going to need in the future.
    • Look at their industry and think of questions to ask to enrich your base knowledge.
    • For your career planning, think of roles that you might be interested in, and then identify why you are interested and what goals you are trying to fulfil.
    • Challenge yourself by asking difficult questions about how you will shape your future.
    • Make notes of your thoughts and reflect on which ones can be used for discussions at the Engineering Fair.

    Use your talent to set targets to achieve at the fair in order to utilise this opportunity and draft a strategy to get the best out of the fair.

    You will be surprised when you finish your studies; networking opportunities disappear and will not be so readily accessible. You may wish you had made the most of these opportunities!

    The UCL Careers Engineering fair on Monday 13th October is kindly sponsored by Targetjobs Engineering.

     

     

    Markets Relationship Management: UCL Alumnus

    By Manpreet Dhesi, on 6 October 2014

    Ahead of the UCL Banking and Finance Fair on Tuesday 7th and Wednesday 8th October, we asked Yulia, what they do at Citi.

    Name: Yulia Galasyuk

    Degree: Economics BSc (2011)

    Role: Markets Relationship Management, Citi

    Can you tell me about the work you do?

    I work in the Markets Relationship Management team at Citi. Our role is to ensure Citi’s largest Markets’ (Sales & Trading) clients have access to our products and services around the globe. This means I am constantly working with senior managers within our Markets business from different product areas and geographies. The majority of our focus and time is spent with clients. We are also involved in different projects that help define our strategy with clients.

    What factors encouraged you to apply to Citi?

    For me, the real decision maker was my interaction with Citi’s people. Prior to my internship at Citi, I organised a series of events with various banks and UCL’s Russian Society. Citi stood out in my experiences and I really connected with the people and sensed that they took a genuine interest in me. Through these conversations I was able to glean real examples of what Citi is famous for: very talented and smart people, the support of senior members of staff and being given responsibilities at an early stages. I obviously applied!

    Can you tell me what tips you have for students wishing to pursue a similar career path?

    Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t be ashamed of saying “I don’t know”. Don’t forget that we are here to learn, so it is also important to follow up, show that you have done some work, investigation on the subject and try to find a colleague that can help. Please also make sure you come prepared for the interviews and are well versed in the history of Citi, its senior management and other publically available information.

    What one tip might you have for students attending the Banking & Finance Fair in October?

    Do your research and come prepared! There will be many companies at the fair looking for students like you. But how will you stand out? Research the organisations you are interested in first, by doing your research you can then ask the business representatives at the Fair intelligent questions based on your own opinions and ideas. You will also be able to work out very quickly which companies interest you and which don’t, then you can use your time at the Fair effectively networking and finding the right job opportunities out there for you.

    The UCL Banking and Finance Fair on Tuesday 7th and Wednesday 8th October 2014 is kindly sponsored by Citi and PwC.

    Want to work for an SME? UCL Talent Bank can help!

    By Irrum Ali, on 30 June 2014

    Small and Medium Sized Enterprises account for over half of employment in the UK. The advantages of working for them are numerous: you will find yourself in a varied working environment with fewer of the formalities of larger companies, have the opportunity to gain a higher and more immediate profile within the organisation, as well as developing a clear and tangible sense of the contribution you are making.

    UCL Talent Bank is uniquely placed to help you into an SME. Relaunched in April 2014, it has built relationships with around 200 employers, many of which fit into the SME category. Since April, 200 UCL students and graduates, of 850 whIMG_9864o have made profiles, have made applications, with 80 shortlisted and 20 interviewed. UCL Talent Bank will work to match your skills and abilities with the specific requirements of organisations to give you the best possible advantage as you look to secure your ideal role.

    UCL Talent Bank’s emphasis on SMEs means that it can give you the opportunity to find exactly the job you are looking for. As Nassim, who graduated from UCL this year with an MEng in Civil Engineering and has gone on to find work as a Business Intelligence Analyst at an SME put it: ‘I am extremely glad I managed to find the position…The role advertised was exactly the graduate position I wanted to do – I would even describe it as my dream job!’

    This is the level of precision with which UCL Talent Bank can match you to a role.

    Create your profile now.