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Archive for the 'Alumni Profiles' Category

Assistant Management Accountant: Inspire Me

Weronika Z Benning24 August 2016

September 2016 sees the first cohort of students starting at the new School of Management postgraduate campus at Level 38, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf. Located just one floor above is Level39, Europe’s largest technology accelerator space for finance, cyber-security, retail and smart-city technology companies. Level39 offer small businesses the space and support to grow, through a tailored curriculum, expert mentors, and a variety of events, and have helped entrepreneurs turn simple products into multi-million pound businesses.UCL School of Management’s Employer & Alumni Engagement Officer, Ally Hawley, spoke with UCL alumna Vesela Vukova to discuss her role at Level39.

Vesela Vukova

Vesela studied the Finance Pathway of Masters in Management, graduating in 2015, and is now an Assistant Management Accountant at Level39.

How did you get into your role?

In my third term at UCL School of Management I was doing a consultancy project that was focussed on technology and co-working environments in London. I was doing some market research and Level39 just stood out from the other places I had researched as an amazing place! It is the largest accelerator for fintech, cyber security, retail and smart cities led technology companies. I checked their website careers section frequently and an opportunity came up, I applied and got the job!

What are the best things about working in your role?

I love that my role goes beyond crunching numbers, it’s about understanding what stands behind the numbers, and what can be done in the future to accelerate a company’s growth. Also I like that my role involves working with all the stakeholders of Level39, from Team39 to our parent company Canary Wharf Group, to Level39’s members, to the suppliers that we use.

What are the biggest challenges you face in your work?

I previously worked in corporate banking and in this role the answers to all the questions that came up in my job were either written down somewhere, or there would be a department within the organisation to help. In start-up industries there is no guidance already written, you must set up the processes and procedures, which can be really challenging. On the positive side Level39 has a really entrepreneurial team and we always find a way around the problems that we face.

What does a typical day in your job involve?

My job is really diverse, there is no typical day. Some days I’m focussed on accounting and financial reporting as that is a major part of my role. Some days I am meeting with suppliers or meeting with Level39 members to support them with financial matters. Other days I will work on other projects with my Level39 Team, for example helping to integrate a new system.

What skills are important in this role?

Problem solving is really important, as are attention to details, pro-activity and people skills.

What top tips would you pass on to a student interested in this type of work?

In general terms I would advise students to develop their networking skills and to search for opportunities that are out there. More specifically in relation to my role I would advise them to develop their problem solving skills. One way to do this is by obtaining as much knowledge as possible either from lectures, case studies or any other UCL activities. The real life cases that I studied as part of my Masters really helped me to gain practical, hands on experience.

What do you think about the new Canary Wharf Campus for UCL SoM Post Graduate Students?

It is quite similar to the reason why Level39 is located here. Fintech, Cyber Security, retail and smart cities are all present right here in Canary Wharf. Being here makes it much easier to connect with organisations in these sectors, as well as the other located here such as banking and finance. This is the same for students, it is much easier for them to attend employer events, interviews and internships. It also means it will be easier to attract high quality employers to come onto campus and engage with students. I definitely think that students will benefit from being based at Canary Wharf!

To find out more about the School of Management and its Canary Wharf Campus go to: https://www.mgmt.ucl.ac.uk/

To find out more about Level39 visit: www.level39.co

Account Executive: Inspire Me

Weronika Z Benning1 June 2016

As part of our #UCLInspireMe series, Arthur talks to us about his Account Executive role at Gorkana, an award-winning media intelligence company.  Here he talks to us about how he got this role and shares some tips for UCL students who want to get into the sector.  For more insights from recent graduates working for smaller organisations, visit https://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/ucl-careers/ and search #SMEProfile.













How did you get into your role?

My name is Arthur, I’m 24 and have been working as an Account Executive at Gorkana since April 2015. I finished a master’s degree in Autumn 2014, followed by two comms internships in the charity sector. Because I was involved in PR, I’d obviously heard of Gorkana, though not for its analysis services. I had spent a (perhaps excessive) amount of time ‘playing’ with its media database – a must-have tool at the outset of any PR planning and campaign targeting. I found out about my current role simply by going on the Careers section of the Gorkana website. Having always had a keen interest in the media, the description of the role really appealed to me, was roughly in line with what I’d recently been studying (political communications) and let’s be honest – I needed a job. Slightly disenchanted by the early days of my job hunt, during which I was told I was either “overqualified” or didn’t have “enough experience”, I applied to Gorkana with relatively low hopes, I must say. I was impressed with the first contact I had – a prompt response by HR and a real demonstration of interest in my background. From that moment, it all went quite fast. I had an interview, a test, and a few days later – I had a job!

What are the best things about working in your role?

I think one of the best things about Gorkana is that it really invests in people. Pretty much my whole first month in the company was dedicated to training me and other newbies. When so many companies are obsessed with work experience – even for entry-level positions – and simply won’t give you a chance if you don’t have the experience – the experience that no one gives you the opportunity to build – it was refreshing to find Gorkana was not one of them. While a solid academic record and some experience are undeniably valuable, Gorkana gave me a chance to demonstrate my value in the workplace without a set range of pre-selective, arbitrary requirements. And I hope I’m not getting ahead of myself by saying that, but I think it’s been relatively successful so far.

As for the role itself, there are many rewarding aspects to our work. Finding out that your report is discussed at an organisation’s managerial meeting or used as the basis for PR strategy is one of them. Generally, when clients express gratitude for what we do for them, it’s a nice feeling. I also like working in a fairly niche industry, which simultaneously gives you an interesting overview and glimpse into the world of media. There is huge variety of clients here at Gorkana: from government agencies to financial groups, charities, clothing companies, transport companies, videogames publishers, tech companies… We get a lot of insider knowledge on a vast array of sectors, some of which we probably wouldn’t learn anything about otherwise.

What are the biggest challenges you face in your work?

The technicality of the job can be a bit overwhelming at first, but that’s what the training is for, and like everything else, it takes time. I never felt like I was thrown into the deep end, but at the same time, I was trusted and given the opportunity to get stuck in right away and progress rapidly. Deadlines can be demanding and inevitably clash. When new to a company, it’s virtually impossible to predict how long things are going to take or anticipate the various issues that are going to arise, so it has its challenges. But it’s not something to panic about – we work in teams and people help eachother. There is a huge sense of accommodation and problem solving. People work hard, but not blindly and unnecessarily hard. I hear of workplaces where you have to stay until at least 7pm everyday even if you don’t have anything to do, just to look good in front of management – Gorkana is not one of those places.

Job roles at Gorkana are also really interwoven, which can be challenging when you’re used to working by yourself at university. Even back at uni, I used to dislike working with others on projects, presentations etc. It was always somewhat chaotic – people would disagree and go in different directions, I was never happy with what came out of it. In a professional context, it’s challenging but also much more ordered and efficient. And necessary. You don’t achieve anything by yourself in the workplace – or not quite. You have to listen and be heard. Team work is the essence of any work.

What top tips would you pass on to a student interested in this type of work?

I always found that spending a decent amount of time on a company’s website was key to taking in what the company was about, its ethos and where you would fit in – what you would bring personally. There is a reason why all that stuff is written on there – companies showcase themselves in that way and communicate things that are meaningful to them. So they should be meaningful to you. You don’t have to be an expert in a sector you’re trying to get into – your interest will be more crucial but will need to be substantiated with a perceptive understanding of the work you might be doing and its wider environment. That applies particularly to companies where the technicality of the work is not necessarily something you can learn from previous experiences. Rather than looking at whether you know things, what will be looked at is whether you’re capable – and in particular able to learn and to adapt to a team, immerse yourself in an environment that you’re by definition not familiar with.

I regret not having taken more advantage of my uni days to build up a greater amount of work experience. This is primarily what is looked at by a lot of companies, although I do believe the key is – rather than accumulating lots of experience – to build good, relevant experience. Quality over quantity. And be smart and selective about how you present yourself to an employer – tailoring your profile to their needs and expectations.


Gorkana is attending UCL Careers’ Global Citizenship Employability Programme, where they will be participating in a “speed interviews” event. They will also be at the UCL Jobs Market, taking place on Wednesday 8th of June, advertising vacancies with immediate starts.

Head of Business Operations: Inspire Me

Weronika Z Benning30 May 2016

As part of our #UCLInspireMe series, Marco Attanasio talks to us about Gousto and shares some tips for UCL students who want to get into the sector. For more insights from recent graduates working for smaller organisations, visit https://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/ucl-careers/ and search #SMEProfile.










Where do you work and what do you do?

I work as Head of Business Operations at Gousto, the number 1 recipe delivery service in the UK. I have two parts to my job, Customer Care and Strategic Projects.

In Customer Care we help customers get the most out of their Gousto experience – from tracking their deliveries, to explaining how the service works.

In Strategic Projects the team works on Gousto of the future, figuring out how we can continually innovate and push the boundaries for our customers and the company.

How did you get into your role?

I’ve had quite a varied career to date, but I’ve always been doing something I love. After my Masters at UCL I went to work in the renewable energy sector, project managing in product development.

Five years later I decided to follow a lifetime ambition of opening and running my own restaurant (it’s hard work!), which I did for a couple of years. When I returned to London, I had a strong desire to combine my passion for food, technology and the startup world; I found Gousto, applied for an internship and have been here for the last two years.

What are the best things about working in your role?

I love the people, the challenge and the opportunity.

We have a team of incredibly smart, motivated and passionate individuals who all pull together to make Gousto one of the best places to work around. Working at Gousto presents daily challenges and problems to solve, we succeed because we tackle the difficult problems head on, which means I’m constantly learning. Gousto has a huge opportunity to disrupt an industry and it’s great to be a part of that journey.

What are the biggest challenges you face in your work?

One of the biggest challenges of working in a successful startup like Gousto comes from one of the business’s great strengths – adapting quickly. We’re a fast-paced company, and this means we sometimes have to pull out all the stops to deliver continual improvements in short timescales; but that’s also what makes it such a rewarding job!

What top tips would you give to a student interested in this type of work?

Test, measure, adjust and test again.

What does a typical day in your job involve?

I don’t really have a typical day as projects evolve and are always in different phases. It could involve meeting with new suppliers, carrying out testing or figuring out how we’re going to tackle a particular challenge. It’s so varied, which makes it even more enjoyable.

What skills are important in this role?

Passion, attention to detail, a love of problem solving and great people skills.

Do you currently have any opportunities for students at Gousto?

We’re constantly on the look out for smart, passionate and eager students and graduates in all areas of the business. Apply for an internship at Gousto via our website and we’ll take a look at your application, as a former intern, I meet and interview every intern as part of the process. Being an intern at Gousto is a fantastic opportunity, 60% of our Management team joined the company as interns, so the sky’s the limit!

Chris Penny’s Communications Internship at Portland Press

Weronika Z Benning5 May 2016

Internships, placements, work shadowing….when it comes to selecting a career they’re all great ways to ‘try before you buy’. Some UCL PhD programmes contain a mandatory placement period, a few months where students must do something unrelated to their research. These prove invaluable to the students involved, so in this series of posts we hope to spread the career knowledge by speaking to three PhDs about their placement experiences.













Interview by Shadae Samuels, Placements and Vacancies Officer, UCL Careers.

Image taken from Chris Garcia.

Chris Penny is a current PhD student with the London Interdisciplinary Doctoral Training Programme.  He is based in Sandip Patel’s lab and his PhD project is studying the molecular physiology and signalling functions of an intracellular ion channel. Through Chris’ project he was able to experience writing papers and reviews, which piqued his interest in potentially pursuing a career in publishing. This made publishing the perfect option for his PIPS placement to provide him with the opportunity to gain new skills and find out as much as possible about the industry. Chris secured a 12 week placement with Portland Press, a leading provider of high-quality publishing and knowledge dissemination solutions. He was supervised by the Executive Editor, Clare Curtis.

How did Chris secure his PIPS with Portland Press?

Chris initially researched a large number of publishing houses, he speculatively sent his CV and cover letter; he would then follow up his application with a phone call to the organisation. He found this approach was quite time-consuming and did not yield a high response, so Chris reached out to his own network for contacts in the publishing industry. Luckily Chris had a friend who previously worked at Portland Press Ltd and they put him in touch with a member of the editorial team. Chris organised an interview, and he was offered an internship starting a few months later. Chris would advise anyone applying for internships to utilise their contacts and be persistent in following up with the organisation. Having a contact in the organisation really helps with getting your application noticed!

What did the company look for in a placement student?

Portland Press wanted someone who was enthusiastic, willing to learn, and able to ‘have a go’ at a variety of tasks, some of which were mundane and others that would be more challenging. It was good to have someone who had little or no experience in the publishing industry so that they did not arrive with any preconceived ideas. The only requirement they had was for the intern to have scientific knowledge.

What did Chris do on his placement?

Portland Press is the wholly owned publishing subsidiary of the Biochemical Society, and produces the Biochemical Journal and Clinical Science, among other titles. It is a really exciting time to work there, with both the Society and the Press going through a number of changes to their look, systems and processes. Chris’ role mainly consisted of qualitative and quantitative data analysis, building upon his lab skills in the context of publishing. This included carrying out extensive citation analysis, looking at which research is high profile and which areas could be improved. Helping with the peer review submitted articles, Chris was able to generate strategies for expanding the research that is published by Portland Press, and he helped with commissioning experts to write the hot topics of the week.

What did Chris gain from the experience?

The placement was an opportunity for Chris to experience the other side of academic publishing. From the placement Chris gained commercial awareness, which he found particularly useful as this experience is very difficult to come by during a PhD. He improved on his analytical skills, market research skills by soliciting reviews, launching new content and searching for peer reviewers. Chris broadened his scientific interests as he was exposed to research in areas he was almost completely unaware of previously.

How did the placement contribute to Portland Press?

Portland Press is going through a period of significant change both in organisational structure and in processes. The work Chris undertook provided some foundations for future development of the department, and helped the creation of an overall strategy. The Biochemical Society is committed to the advancement of science for academics and students. Part of its ethos is to foster education and student opportunities. Therefore being part of the BBSRC PhD placement programme was the perfect way to meet this for Portland Press.

Has the placement influenced Chris’s career direction?

Since the start of his PhD Chris always wanted to go into post-doctoral work, however he enjoyed the editorial and strategic aspects of his placement.  Therefore Chris would certainly consider joining an editorial board while in academia if possible, but would also consider working in publishing outside of academia. Chris has a better understanding of the publishing industry and hopes the experience will come in handy for articles he will publish in the future.

If you’re a UCL PhD or researcher wondering how to secure work experience or a more permanent post, book an appointment to speak with one of our advisers. And for advertised opportunities check out UCL Talent Bank and JobOnline.

Alice Lui’s Festival Experience at Science Museum

Weronika Z Benning30 April 2016

Internships, placements, work shadowing….when it comes to selecting a career they’re all great ways to ‘try before you buy’. Some UCL PhD programmes contain a mandatory placement period, a few months where students must do something unrelated to their research. These prove invaluable to the students involved, so in this UCL Careers Researchers series of posts we hope to spread the career knowledge by speaking to three PhDs about their placement experiences.










Interview by Shadae Samuels, Placements and Vacancies Officer, UCL Careers.

Image taken from Allan Watt.

Alice Lui is a current PhD student with the London Interdisciplinary Doctoral Training Programme; based in Saul Purton’s lab her PhD project is studying the synthesis of fungible biofuels in cyanobacteria. Alice initially wanted to gain experience in science communications to reach the wider public beyond academia. The placement team brokered a relationship with the Science Museum who offered exclusive roles to PIPS students, one of which was the chance to work at one of their upcoming festivals. This was the perfect opportunity for Alice to gain experience in science communication to a wider audience, she applied and was offered the position after having an interview. She was supervised by the Assistant Content Developer, Pippa Hough.

How did Alice secure her placement with Science Museum?

The placements team was aware that Science Museum were interested in taking on UCL students as interns so we got in touch and informed them of BBSRC/LIDo programme. They were keen to host such students on a placement and offered two exclusive PIPS opportunities, Alice sent her CV and cover letter to Science Museum, and she was then invited to an interview and then offered the position to begin shortly after.

What was The Science Museum looking for in their placement student?

The Science Museum wanted a student who would be able to work to tight deadlines, has excellent research skills, and would be able to handle a lot of changes! Alice’s expertise in synthetic biology and bio-sciences in general really stood out in her application/interview as this would be helpful in translating complicated research papers.

What did Alice do on her placement?

The main focus of Alice’s placement was to research and develop the scientific content for the ‘You Have Been Upgraded’ festival on the topic of human enhancement technologies. Her time was spent mostly on researching the area of human enhancement and synthetic biology. She contacted academics, artists and individuals involved in this area of research and interviewed them about their work and whether they would be interested in being involved in the festival. Alice also researched possible demonstrations that could be shown during the festival.  During the week leading up to the festival, Alice helped with setting up the festival space. During the festival Alice supported the scientists and interacted with the public, she was also responsible for researching possible objects that could feature in the museum.

What did Alice gain from the experience?

The main thing Alice gained from her placement was the confidence to communicate! She improved on her communication skills as she was communicating with people outside the industry and therefore had to learn how to engage a lay audience. This was extremely valuable to her especially if she decides to embark on a career outside of academia. Alice learned the importance of being organised which improved her time management skills.

How did the placement contribute to The Science Museum?

Alice’s ability to think fast on her feet and problem solve on the go really helped the festival run as smoothly as it did. Alice also did general research around contemporary science topics that fed into events and small exhibitions the department produces. Her work on finding an object to represent a case on Ebola was particularly helpful! Overall she proved how valuable it is to have an intern which is something the team has not done before and there are excited to have their next LIDo intern.

Did the placement influence Alice’s career plans?

Although Alice is still uncertain about her future job prospects the placement has made Alice realise how important job satisfaction and your wellbeing is. She is therefore considering different types of opportunities. Alice may consider a role in Science Communication following her PhD as she gained a lot of confidence in communicating with a wider audience.

If you’re a UCL PhD or researcher wondering how to secure work experience or a more permanent post, book an appointment to speak with one of our advisers. And for advertised opportunities check out UCL Talent Bank and JobOnline.


Performance Marketing Reconciliations Analyst: Inspire Me

Weronika Z Benning28 April 2016

As part of our #UCLInspireMe series, Sophie Neal talks to us about her role at NMPi, an award-winning digital agency in Islington. Sophie graduated from UCL with an MSci in Physics in 2015 and now works as a Performance Marketing Reconciliations Analyst. Here she shares some tips for UCL students who want to get into the sector. For more insights from recent graduates working for smaller organisations, visit https://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/ucl-careers/ and search #SMEProfile.






How did you get into your role?

I got talking to someone in the company who recommended it to me. Through email, I asked about any job shadowing or intern positions and was contacted a couple of months later. I had a phone interview and came in to meet my would-be manager and started an internship. A couple of months later I was offered a job!

What does a typical day in your job involve?

My days can vary quite a lot depending on the time of the month and year. I always make sure to check my emails first thing when I come in – if anything has happened overnight I will be immediately alerted and we often receive messages from clients as a growing number are based internationally. Tasks for the day can then include preparing reports that are due to go out, checking and recording any payments that have come in, building new or updating existing accounts or chasing payment issues.

What skills are important in this role?

Being proactive is important as it’s easy for work to mount up quickly. Problem-solving skills can also come in handy.

What are the best things about working in your role?

There are lots of things I love about my role. I love the fact that at times I have the ability to work fairly autonomously but my team still comes together to talk, compare, collaborate and share tips and ideas. I also love the variation of work I have within my role – I never get the chance to get bored.

What are the biggest challenges you face in your work?

I’ve always been quite shy – especially around people I don’t know very well – so personally, one of the biggest challenges for me is if I have to contact new clients or network contacts. When I first started, I felt a little out of my depth with simple things such as excel. Being a physics graduate I had plenty of experience using it but for very different purposes, so it’s something I had to quickly adapt to.

What top tips would you give to a student interested in this type of work?

If it’s something you’re interested in, do your research, take your time to gain a good understanding of the industry and apply.


To see current opportunities at NMPi, visit http://nmpilondon.com/careers

Head of Business Development: Inspire Me

Weronika Z Benning18 April 2016

As part of our #UCLInspireMe series, Cecilia Pytel, Head of Business Development at #tagvenue, talks to us about how she got this role and shares some tips for UCL students.  For more insights from recent graduates working for smaller organisations, search #SMEProfile.

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 17.21.47

What did you study?

Being half-British half-Polish, I’ve always been fascinated by central and eastern europe, and that’s why I studied BA Politics and East European Studies at SSEES, with a specific focus on subjects related to Poland. I went on my Erasmus Year Abroad to the University of Warsaw.

How did you get into your role?

After graduating, I knew I wanted to work abroad and to learn more about business, so I started looking for jobs online. In true start-up style, I found the job advert for #tagvenue on Facebook. I had relevant experience because whilst studying at UCL I had a part-time job working in events operations, and so, after a couple of Skype interviews with the co-founders, I was offered a position, but until I started I had no idea what I’d actually be doing!

Why did you decide to work for a start-up?
During my studies, I got involved in the UCL Business Society and UCL Advances. Opportunities like this are really great because they offer students a springboard into the world of business. After graduating, I wanted to continue my learning journey and was keen to build on the experience I already had.

Working in a start-up is very dynamic – things change from hour to hour and there’s no day that’s ever the same. Because you work in a small team, you’re given a chance to take on a range of tasks and, most importantly, you’re actively involved in the building of a business. This means you get a multi-faceted understanding of how a business operates. A start-up gives you valuable firsthand experience and, in my opinion, is the best learning ground for all aspiring entrepreneurs or ‘wantrepreneurs’.


What’s the best thing about working for a start-up?

The atmosphere is so dynamic and there’s a real team spirit (if you’re into TV series like Silicon Valley or have heard about the fast-paced environment at ambitious start-ups, you’ll know what I mean). The opportunity to work closely with the founders and having them listen to your ideas is really rewarding. You’re also given a lot of responsibility from the word go, which is exciting if you enjoy a challenge.


Working at #tagvenue is great because it’s very diverse and international with people from the UK, Australia, Latvia, Belarus, Poland, Guatemala and Spain, so everyone brings something different to the table. And, yes, we also have fun in the process, hanging out with beers in true start-up style. If this sounds like something for you – we’re hiring now!


What top tips would you pass on to a student interested in this type of work?

Be inquisitive, open and brave. Try not to be too daunted if you don’t have experience – you’re going to learn on the job pretty fast. Learn from your mistakes and strive for the best.


About #tagvenue:

#tagvenue https://www.tagvenue.com/ is shaking up the UK’s mutli-billion pound events industry, transforming the way people discover and book spaces for their events. They’re the fastest growing venue search engine on the market, showcasing great local spaces and making it quicker and easier to plan an event.


Follow in Cecilia’s footsteps:


UCL Alumni Profile: Hugo Watkins, Graduate Trainee at KPMG (Forensic – Fraud & Investigations)

Weronika Z Benning13 April 2016

From a Geography Degree to the Forensic Team at KPMG

I read BSc Geography at UCL and graduated in June 2014. Like many people, before university I didn’t really know what I wanted to study let alone what career path I wanted to follow. But now I find myself five months into a graduate scheme with one of the Big Four financial services firms, training to be a forensic accountant.

Why did I apply to KPMG?

A difficulty I had was thinking that because I read Geography I couldn’t go into the world of finance. This is definitely not the case!

I’ve always had an interest in business, the finance sector, law and politics, but never really knew if that’s what I wanted to go into after university. I did a bit of research around lots of graduate schemes, and the forensic accounting graduate scheme at KPMG jumped out at me. This was the perfect opportunity to go into a field that traversed finance and law, work at a big firm, and get a well-recognised qualification to boot! For me, KPMG ticked all the boxes as a first job, providing a strong platform from which to launch from academia into the world of work.

What was the application process like?

The application process, like many graduate schemes, involved several stages of forms, tests and interviews. The key at the start of the process is to make sure you’re well practiced for the online tests and that you have a full grasp of the competencies KPMG look for in a candidate before your phone interview. The final two stages involve what KPMG call an ‘immersive assessment centre’ and then a final interview with a Partner from the department you are applying to.

What does my job involve?

For the next three years I will immerse myself in a variety of projects whilst studying for my ACA accountancy qualification alongside. As a forensic accountant, I get to be involved in a wide range of interesting and challenging projects, from fraud investigations and suspicions of money laundering to giving advice about regulatory compliance and the intellectual property rights of companies. It may sound cliché but the job really is different most days, as you never know what you might uncover or what the next project will involve.

What is life like at KPMG?

Similar to a lot of graduate schemes with big firms, there are a lot of people joining at the same time in the same position as you. I see this as a massive positive, as it means you’ve got plenty of people to talk to, learn with, and a strong group of friends to go through the ups and downs with.

The great thing about KPMG that seems to set it apart from other firms some of my friends work at is the community culture. The flat structure means that you really can talk to anyone, no matter their management level, and people make time to talk to you and help.

Finally, there are the obvious perks of working at a big company, such as a great social life, sports teams, extra training opportunities, volunteering, and lifestyle extras in addition to your salary. I’ve really enjoyed my time so far in this fast-paced but warm atmosphere.

Are there any downsides?

The main downside to my job is having to juggle work and studying. It can be difficult when you’re on an important project with lots to do, but when the work day finishes you have to go home and revise for your exams coming up in the next few days. Having said this, these situations are few and far between. KPMG are also very good at giving graduates time off from work for dedicated study. Moreover for me, the value of this qualification and the fact that it is fully paid for by KPMG outweigh a few long days of work followed by revision.

What advice can I give for people wanting to join KPMG?

I think the key for any hopeful applicant is to throw yourself into the application. Learn as much as you can about KPMG, the kinds of services offered (not just those by the stream you are applying to!), and what skills you have that would make you a strong fit. It doesn’t matter what you studied at university – as long as you get a good degree result and have an inquisitive mind, you’ll do well in the application process.

Even if you’re not sure about KPMG or the world of finance, I would just recommend having a quick look at who KPMG are and what they do. It opened my eyes and now a couple of years down the line here I am!


Finance and Corporate Development Executive: Inspire Me

Weronika Z Benning4 March 2016

As part of our #UCLInspireMe series, Shirley Wang, Finance and Corporate Development Executive at LoopMe, talks to us about how she got this role and shares some tips for UCL students.  For more insights from recent graduates working for smaller organisations, search #SMEProfile

Shirley Picture

What did you study?

I finished my undergraduate from University of Liverpool then continued my postgraduate study in UCL Msc Management.

How did you get into your role?

I was referred by a manager I used to work with when I was doing my internship in Shanghai. After several rounds of interview, I started the 3-months internship with LoopMe and got a chance to finally join the company after the internship.

What excites you/ what was your biggest success within your role?

Joining a growing company is very exciting as everyday I have chances to take more responsibilities. The culture of the company is very open which allows me to learn a lot from the more experienced staffs in the company as well. I feel like I contribute to the company but meanwhile I also grow with the company.

What are the most/more challenging aspect of your role?

This is my first formal job after graduation, of course there are some challenges there. Firstly, there are differences between what I have learnt from University and the practice at work. How to apply the knowledge into work would be one of the challenges. I also need to remind myself I am no longer a student in the University but an employee now, so I need to take responsibilities and do my best to contribute to the success of the company. LoopMe is a very international company; language barriers and culture difference are another problem I need to deal with. But all the challenges helped me to finalize the switch from a student to an employee and I have also received a lot of help within the company to help me to overcome those challenges.

What top tips would you pass on to a student interested in this type of work?

Be open to all challenges and difficulties and always keep learning and become a better one.

About LoopMe:

LoopMe is the world’s largest mobile video platform, reaching over 1.25 billion consumers worldwide via integration with programmatic ad exchanges and direct publishers.

LoopMe has global offices in New York, London, San Francisco, Beijing, Dubai, Dnepropetrovsk, Berlin and Paris and specialises in:
Full-Screen Mobile Video Advertising, Mobile Marketing, Rich Media, Social Preference Targeting, Mobile Video, Social Endorsement Targeting, Artificial Intelligence, Demand-Side-Platform, Real-Time-Bidding, HTML5, Machine Learning, Big Data

Follow in Shirley’s footsteps:

Apply for the Tech Account Executive graduate internship with LoopMe, currently open on UCL Talent Bank: http://bit.ly/1Skoy38 deadline: 12 noon Wednesday 16th March 2016.

Starting your own small business: Safe & Sound Festival Services, a case study

Weronika Z Benning26 February 2016


As part of our #UCLInspireMe series, Joseph Newton, Co-Founder at Safe & Sound, talks to us about startups and shares some tips for UCL students who want to get into entrepreneurship. For more insights from recent graduates working for smaller organisations, search #SMEProfile.

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How did you get into your role?

I first became interested in starting a company just before I moved to UCL to do my PhD in Biochemical Engineering. Once at UCL, I quickly realised that there were a lot of opportunities here to help me achieve this goal. My department allowed me to study MBA Electives at London Business School, which gave me a great foundation in business. In the first year of my doctorate, a group of friends and I entered Engineering YES (Young Entrepreneurs Scheme) and won a few prizes (including winning our heat). This was the first time that I seriously considered entrepreneurship as a career.

A year later, after being approached by Jordan (Co-Founder) with a business idea, we entered and won the UCL Advances’ Idea Accelerator; an 8 week accelerator programme designed to help students bring their ideas to life. Having obtained funding through a UCL Bright Ideas Award, we have since been working to turn the business plan into reality, Safe & Sound Festival Services.

Safe & Sound Festival Services is a luggage transportation service for festival goers (from cities to festival sites). Through our service, we are aiming to reduce carbon emissions at festivals by (1) encouraging the use of public transport, and (2) by reducing waste left at the festival site (we offer a return luggage service). http://www.sasfestivalservices.com/
What are the best things about working in your role?

The best thing about running a startup is the freedom to operate; I see a direct result of the actions that we take (whether it’s good or bad!), and every day I learn something new. I know that a lot of people find entrepreneurship to be a lonely path, however working with Jordan makes everything we do a lot more entertaining. We also support each other and complement each other’s skill sets.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your work?

The biggest challenge is undoubtedly managing to balance my PhD and running a startup. Another big challenge is establishing clear procedures and policies for situations that we haven’t come across before. Also, building credibility as a startup and fostering relationships in a slow-moving industry is a challenge that we are currently facing.
What top tips would you give to a student interested in this type of work?

UCL Advances is a great place to start if you’re interested in starting a company. You can read as much as you want, but the best experience is through action. My top tip? Get a contract signed for everything you do!
Are there currently any opportunities for UCL students with Safe & Sound?

Safe & Sound is currently looking for an intern to join us this summer to help with marketing, sales and managing operations. Our website can be found here:

We are looking for an intern to work with us as part in the UCL Advances summer internship scheme this year.

Safe & Sound is looking for UCL undergraduates (or recent graduates) to join their vibrant startup this summer for an 8-12 week internship. Students should be prepared to get involved in all areas of the business, however should be particularly interested in marketing and sales, operations, the live music/festival industry, logistics and events management. Pay is £250 pw tax-free. Please apply with CV and cover letter to info@sasfestivalservices.com .

Or visit: http://jobonline.thecareersgroup.co.uk/ucl/student/DisplayVacancy.aspx?id=e9241ac1-4ac1-46ba-abed-eb8ac084e808