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What are you getting out of your work experience?

UCL Careers21 October 2015

Recently there was an interesting article in the Independent about “Work experience for students – are placements really all they’re cracked-up to be?”  The article, although a little pessimistic, provides a good insight into the fact that not all work experience is equal in terms of the benefits provided for students.  It all depends on factors such as duration of experience, type of organisation and whether it is a structured experience.

The Office 001EG Focus/Flickr.com/CreativeCommons

Undertaking any form of work experience – internships, placements and insight sessions – will be beneficial – the key is knowing what the benefits are.

For example, if you were to embark upon a short bout of work experience – one or two weeks – you are unlikely to gain much in terms of skills development.  However, you will learn a little bit about the industry the company is in and what it is like to work for that company (e.g. is it a small, tightly knit team where everyone mucks in, or is it a large company with formal organisational structures where you have a well-defined role). From this experience you can start to understand more about your own preferences around working culture and environment.  You will also be starting to develop a personal network of contacts who may be useful for your future career aspirations.

You might also gain similar benefits from events and insight sessions run by companies to enable students to gain knowledge about a particular industry and the roles available in it. Law, media, finance and management consultancy firms run these type of sessions to introduce students to the sector, what roles are available and what skills would be needed to succeed.

With a longer internship of around six to twelve weeks you will be testing out an area of work or industry that you are interested in. You will increase your understanding about the company and how it fits into the sector.  For example, you’ll gain insight into what differentiates it from other companies and how this influences how the company operates within the market. The work you do within the internship will enable you to demonstrate to future employers which skills you used outside of your studies. You may improve your technical skills within your internship and it is likely that you will begin to develop and demonstrate your “softer skills” such as how you operate within a team, how you manage a project, how flexible and committed you are, and how you communicate with your colleagues. If the work is demanding, you will gain insight into what skills you need to improve.  Even if the work is not as challenging as you would like, by reflecting on the experience you will become more self-aware and begin to understand what you most enjoy and what you do not want to do. You will start to form a realistic impression of what type of role and environment might suit you.

If you secure a place on a structured summer internship scheme such as those run by large finance, consultancy and technical firms, the work will be of a similar nature to a graduate role and there is likely to be a training component to your internship. Undertaking an internship on a summer scheme in these sectors can sometimes lead to candidates being offered a place on a graduate scheme once they have graduated.

For internships in small or medium sized companies, or schemes where you rotate, you may gain experience within more than one area of the company and gain a more meaningful understanding of how different areas of the company slot together.

For year long internships or placements, you will gain a much deeper insight into the industry you are working in and heightened self-awareness. For a placement that forms part of your course, you will have the opportunity to integrate academic theory into practice.  You will become more expert at any technical skills you use and continue to develop your “soft” skills. You may, by now, have worked out for sure whether you want to continue in that role/industry or you may have decided to use the transferable skills you have gained in other sectors.

For any opportunity where you have had to undertake tasks or projects, you will increase your confidence and you will be better able to demonstrate your abilities to future employers.

Where you have had to go through a recruitment process (e.g. application, interview, assessment centre) you will have gained valuable experience in how to navigate the process and if you have asked for feedback along the way, you will be able to use that to help you improve next time you apply for a role.

You will (hopefully!) have also been able to earn whilst you have been strengthening your knowledge, skills and confidence. By law companies must pay the National Minimum Wage for an intern unless they are exempt (for example if they are a registered charity).  There is an exemption of payment if the experience is a placement as part of an academic course. Be informed – see information on the National Minimum Wage.

For more information on the benefits of the different types of work experience and how to make the most of the opportunities see the information about internships and work experience at Target Jobs, Prospects and the resources at Careers Tagged – work experience.

– Rochelle Symons, Placements and Vacancies Manager, UCL Careers.

Operations Officer: Inspire Me

UCL Careers10 October 2015

As part of our #UCLInspireMe series, Laura Davies, UCL Alumnus (BSc Human Science, 2013 and MSc Technology Entrepreneurship, 2014) and Operations Officer at BaseStone, talks to us about how she got this role and shares some tips for UCL students who want to get into the sector. basestone.laura

How did you get into your role?

I’m Laura, I am the Operations Officer at BaseStone. BaseStone is a tool for architects and engineers to capture and communicate data more effectively. It connects people and data in construction, reducing costs and mistakes on projects.

I found out about the role through a mentor of mine. She knew the founder of the company and knew that they were looking for someone to help them grow the business. The majority of the team was made up of software developers so they were hiring for new employees on the business side.

I chose this career because of the opportunities for growth. There was a huge amount of potential for me to develop my own skill set, confidence and abilities in so many areas. I think I recognised that the business was at a really interesting point – the technology was in demand by the industry and there were many customers in the pipeline.  But there was a need for all of the pieces of the puzzle around the technology to be put in place – I wanted to be the person to do that! It was an exciting challenge and I knew that this would give me a breadth of experience like no other.

What are the best things about working in your role?

I think working with the a team that care so much about what they do is my favourite part of the job. Everyone is so passionate about our mission – bringing change to the construction industry. We work very closely together so it really helps that we all get on!

The work is also interesting. What we are doing is quite ground-breaking – we’re disrupting an ancienct industry. It’s really interesting to be part of the change. I get to go out on construction sites to visit our users. So I have been on Crossrail sites, seeing London’s future infrastructure being built which is pretty cool too.

As part of my role, I work with a huge range of people – from graduate engineers to important industry figures. It’s great to have that diversity

Biggest success in your role?

I am really proud of the community we have built around what we are doing. As the industry is quite old fashioned, we’ve developed our own community of disruptors. We hold events to champion disruption and discuss the future of the built environment. The last event had over 120 attendees and caused a real stir in the industry.

What are the biggest challenges you face in your work?

The biggest challenge is having to hit the ground running with things you’ve never done before. But technology is a really supportive industry – there are mentors, events, free courses and many meetup groups that you can get advice from.

It’s a challenge but it pushes you to realise your full potential. It provides an excellent springboard for your career.

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

Developing your network is the single most important thing. As I mentioned, the world of startups and technology is friendly and supportive. People will generally be happy to have a coffee or call with you if you reach out to them. So don’t be afraid to ask!

I would recommend getting some experience in a startup before you jump right into one. I did the UCL Advances Summer Internship Programme in my second year of university. You get a paid internship for 8 weeks in a small company – I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.

You can also develop yourself and build your skill set. I did the CodeFirst:Girls coding course which gave me coding skills that I still use today. There are many free courses like this in London, for both men and women to develop skills in tech. UCL Advances also do many events and workshops.

Good luck!

To find our more about working in a startup, either come in an speak to a Careers Consultant or visit UCL Advances.

What are the five skills most sought after by today’s graduate employers?

UCL Careers5 October 2015

This guest post is from the team at WikiJob, the UK’s largest graduate jobs forum.

As a graduate it is important to know what type of skills potential employers are really looking for, aside from the competencies specific to the position. Put simply: if you understand this, you can prepare a stronger application than other candidates.

Your degree is far from the only factor that will determine how suitable you are for a role. Employers and HR professionals will be looking for a combination of transferable skills and evaluating how you have acquired these during your academic studies and work experience. But what are the most important skills for today’s employers –  and how can you relate them to a specific opportunity?

How to Market yourself Event

These are five skills that are among the most valued in the current graduate workplace:

Communication

Written and verbal communication – specifically the ability to convey information clearly and concisely – is fundamental to any job role. In your application, make sure that you provide examples that demonstrate how you have used persuasion and negotiation skills. One of the most effective ways to showcase your talents in written communication is via your cover letter, CV and application documents. Be concise, use a clear structure and focus on results achieved.

Analytical Abilities

Analytical skills are crucial in many different occupations; not just data-based or technical roles. Within the workplace, you’ll need analytical skills to review business processes and identify improvements, or perhaps complete market research to explore avenues for growth. Employers may assess analytical or numerical competency through a psychometric test.

Here are other examples of when analytical skills might be needed at work:

> To review large amounts of quantitative or qualitative data, and produce a report or presentation based on the results;
> To solve a problem, evaluate viable solutions and select the right one for the business;
> To apply critical thinking and analysis to tasks in design, marketing, programming or system management;
> To get the most out of Excel for data analysis.

Teamwork

All employers, regardless of the organisation, will look for graduates who can demonstrate the ability to work cohesively with others, solve problems collectively and work effectively in a team. It may seem simple, but your ability to get along with people is a trait you should make clear in your application and subsequent interview. Demonstrate how you can contribute to a team, provide ideas to improve services, or show how a team you were in improved performance after receiving constructive criticism.

Commercial Awareness

Understanding the world of business and how organisations work together is a vital skill in employment, as commerce is increasingly multinational. Commercial awareness means understanding not only how the business operates but how it can be influenced by competitors and suppliers, and how businesses have to evolve to meet the changing demands of customers.

Time Management

Graduate roles often include many different responsibilities, and employers will look for candidates who can address multiple and often conflicting deadlines which routinely arise in the workplace.

As such, ensure that your application addresses how you manage your time well. This could relate to your studies and perhaps a period of work experience or voluntary work. Show how you prioritised to get the most important things done within your deadline.

Are there other key skills which should have made the list? If so, please let us know by adding a comment below.

– James Rice, Head of Digital Marketing, WikiJob

Find out how Skills4Work at UCL can help you gain these skills employers are looking for: http://skills4work.net/

How to prepare for our Careers Fairs…

UCL Careers30 September 2015

Every year UCL Careers holds a number of Careers Fairs to help you talk to employers and find out first hand what they are looking for. You will get more out of the Careers Fair if you spend a little time preparing…

Be aware that there will be a mixture of all kind of employers from many different sectors exhibiting each day and you might find an employer that you had never really considered before becoming a favourite for you. To help you prepare effectively we’ve put together some handy tips to get you started

 

UCL Careers Fair

Before the fair

> We strongly encourage you to do some research on the exhibitors before the fair: www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/fairs

> As well as reading the exhibitor profiles, click through to the organisation’s own website to find out more about them.

> After your research, decide which exhibitors you particularly want to talk to, and you will be able to ask more informed questions. It can be difficult to understand the difference between big companies within the same sector.  Often it is the cultural aspects that make a real difference in the working environment and this can only be appreciated through talking and interacting with representatives at the Careers Fairs.  Try to prepare some questions in advance and think about the main points that you would want an organisation to know about you – it can help you feel more confident.

> Come along to one of the preparation sessions organised by UCL Careers (starting w/c 5th October).

At the fair

> At the fair, each exhibiting organisation has a stand and their representatives are there to answer your questions about what the organisation does, what jobs they offer to final year students and graduates, what internships/placements they provide to earlier year students, and any other opportunities that they offer.

> Shows motivation in a competitive job market esp. if you refer to attendance in applications/ interviews

> Often particular insight re. staff experience relating to specific projects they’ve been involved in or training they’ve had can be used as ammunition that can be a real differentiator when answering motivation based questions – ie lots of first hand information not available on any website that other candidates might not be able to offer.

> Wherever possible, try to talk to someone on the stand instead of just picking up a brochure. Use the opportunity to ask your questions face-to-face.

> If you are feeling a bit nervous about approaching your first choice organisation, it can be a good idea to visit some other stands first to practise your technique.

> If you are given a business card, make a point soon afterwards of noting on it anything that it would be useful to remember. Have they suggested you email them with further questions? Did they give you advice on their recruitment process?

> Even if you have a ‘hit list’ of exhibitors, consider other organisations at the fair that are less well known. They might be offering just what you are looking for.

Remember to bring your UCL ID or GradClub ID card as you won’t be able to enter the fair without this!

Other hints and tips

> Remember that many of the opportunities are available to students of any discipline

> If you want to have a CV ready to hand over, arrange an appointment at UCL Careers before the Careers Fair to ask for some CV feedback

> The fair may be busy when you arrive – don’t be put off. People tend to congregate by the entrance, so head to another part of the fair where it will probably be quieter

> Avoid walking round the fair with a group of friends. The exhibitor may not realise that you are interested in them, and you could miss out because your friend happens to be more talkative than you!

> If you feel overwhelmed, and don’t know what to do or where to start, make sure you visit the UCL Careers for help.

> Staff on the exhibitor stands are often relatively recent graduates who can tell you what it is really like to work in their organization.  They may even refer to particular projects that they’ve been involved in or training that they’ve had –all of which is great information for you to use when you apply for a position at their company.  This insight is not available on any website and creates a unique impression when it is your time to apply.

> In a competitive job market, it can make a difference to refer to any interaction with employers during the application process

For further information about the fairs, please visit: www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/fairs

 

How my arts degree led to a career as a digital entrepreneur

UCL Careers16 September 2015

This guest post is from Zoe Amar, Director of Zoe Amar Communications
Zoe Amar headshot

Earlier this summer Forbes proclaimed that arts degrees were the hottest ticket for a career in tech. It reminded me of my own journey from a BA in English Literature at Warwick to running my own digital marketing agency, working with clients such as Charities Aid Foundation, The Commonwealth War Graves Commission and The School for Social Entrepreneurs. Careers in digital and communications are popular options for undergraduates, as is eschewing the conventional graduate scheme for life as an entrepreneur. UCL have asked me to share what I’ve learned along the way.

  1. Accept that any career path you choose may be circuitous and involve some risk. After graduating, I was an English teacher for a year before heading to law school then working in the City. But even though I did well in those jobs and learned a lot, there was always something missing. I quit my job as a lawyer and thought long and hard over what I wanted to do next, aided by John Lees’ invaluable book How to Get a Job You Love. It was a bit scary to walk away from a well paid job but without doing that I would never have ended up in a job I love so much. I took a placement doing marketing on a pro bono basis at a national charity which specialised in digital services.  Just a few weeks in they offered to create a new role for me as head of marketing, and after I’d been there for 5 years I left and set up my own agency. I’d say learn whatever you can from every job you have and follow your instincts about what is right for you.
  2. Digital doesn’t mean that ‘soft’ skills are redundant. As the Forbes article showed, digital is evolving rapidly and requires strong technical and analytical knowledge. Yet people skills such as being able to ‘read the room’ and nurture client relationships are necessary to capitalise on the benefits of digital. Much as I love it, digital is just a set of tools. It’s how you use them that counts.
  3. Being an entrepreneur is hard but rewarding. It might sound glamorous but running your own business means taking on a lot of risk and round the clock hard graft. The upside is that it stretches you and is incredibly empowering. It’s also offered me amazing experiences such as working with household names, giving a lecture on digital strategy at Cambridge,  and doing a bit of radio and TV. If you have the opportunity to work for yourself I urge you to take it. I’ve run my own business for the last couple of years and recently blogged about everything it has taught me.

I’d recommend that anyone starting out in their career is open minded and learns everything they can.  Work isn’t one linear path from university to the corner office anymore; it’s a journey. Enjoy it.

Zoe Amar is Director of Zoe Amar Communications. She also writes for The Guardian Voluntary Sector Network about how nonprofits use digital, and is a trustee of a national charity.

To discuss career options, book an appointment to see a Careers Consultant at UCL Careers.

5 books to further your career

UCL Careers8 July 2015

This post orginially appeared on the Develop your Career blog

Article written by Jake Pittman from Ph.Creative

We all strive to be better in life, whether that means appearance to some or your personal life. However for most of us, our career is where we aim to improve most. And why not, a better career could mean doing more of what you love, it could mean working with amazing people or let’s be honest it could also mean more money to spend in your personal life.

So, with that goal set, all you need now is some inspiration and a dollop of motivation. You’ve come to the right place. Below we’ve listed a handful of the books that have motivated and inspired us.

Chimp paradox by Dr Steve Peters

The paradox is that our brains and our actions can be split into two parts: the chimp and the human. These two parts think about life very differently and react in different ways to different situations. Understanding how you and other people think can help in all areas of life, whether in relationships, the workplace or just taking care of your own mental health. This is definitely a must read from a very clever man. Get ready to rediscover your brain.

Find the book on Amazon here.

Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff

Pitch your idea, pitch your proposal, or just pitch yourself. Being able to present yourself clearly and incite emotions in people is a skill that can be used in any walk of life but is especially useful when trying to further your career. Using the STRONG method, online, in a meeting, or even in an interview, this book suggests you’re sure to succeed.

The STRONG method:

  • Set the frame
  • Tell the story
  • Reveal the intrigue
  • Offer the prize
  • Nail the hook point
  • Get a decision

Find the book on Amazon here.

Webs of Influence: The Psychology of Online Persuasion by Nathalie Nahai

What if you knew exactly what your interviewer was thinking and knew exactly what to say and do in order to get the job? Well this book doesn’t promise anything but it does give you an insight into how to connect with people, to nurture relationships and keep you in the forefront of people’s minds. It’s all about the psychology behind business.

Find the book on Amazon here.

Become a Key Person of Influence by Daniel Priestley

Wouldn’t it be nice if the job came to you? What if people in your field of work already knew what you knew, and wanted to do business with you. Well what you need is to become a person of influence. Get social and get this book.

Find the book on Amazon here.

Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo  

Have you heard about TED? If not, check it out, this is a hub of inspiration just waiting to help you further your career. Once you’ve experienced TED, you’ll understand why you may want to ‘talk like TED’. It’s all about exciting and inspiring the people around you, so they in turn can inspire you.

Find the book on Amazon here.

Ph.creative

Technology Consultant : UCL Alumni

UCL Careers22 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.

How the Global Citizenship Employability Programme helped me : UCL Alumni

UCL Careers21 April 2015

James Finch, Physics 2014 graduate, attended the Global Citizenship Employability Programme last summer and he tells us why it was so helpful

Graduating from Physics I wanted to pursuit a Technology career in the city. In previous summers I had obtained relevant work experience through internships but hadn’t converted them into full time positions. I knew that applications opened in late summer and lasted till around the New Year and my aim was to work hard applying over this time period.

The first step I took to prepare was to participate in the Global Citizenship Employability Programme. This covered many areas of the application process:Global Citizenship Employability Programme

> Application forms

> CVs

> Cover Letters

> Psychometric tests

> Assessment centres

> Interviews

> Job hunt planning

Furthermore through the course you are introduced to the many other services that UCL Careers offers, such as the Alumni programme, 1-1 sessions, careers fairs and workshops. Through the Alumni programme I was able to obtain contacts within the industry/organisations that I was applying for, which was invaluable as you really get to understand what it is like to work for these companies and in these careers. Finally and most importantly I was introduced to the great team at UCL Careers and found the consultants very helpful in getting advice.

Applying what I had learned from the Employability programme, I started making progress with my applications, securing interviews with firms I really wanted to work for. I found it extremely beneficial to practise for interviews with the consultants, it helped build confidence and I received useful tips on how to improve. I always felt that the consultants came well prepared with relevant information about the types of questions that might be asked and about how the interview process would be carried out.

All this soon resulted in securing a job as a Technology Analyst at an Investment Bank. Much hard work was required on my part but the advice and support I received through the careers service really made it easier, with all the tips and hints along the way, that are difficult to pick by yourself. Even if you are very confident, there is no harm in reaching out to these guys, you will definitely learn something new that will benefit you in your job hunt. Good luck!

If you’d like to find our more about the Global Citizenship Employability Programme, visit: www.ucl.ac.uk/global-citizenship/employability

The Skills you’ll learn taking part in the Global Citizenship Employability Programme

UCL Careers9 April 2015

When gearing up for an intense two-weeks focusing on honing you to be a highly employable global citizen, learning your new key skills directly from the employer you actually want to work for might not be an obvious approach. But UCL Careers actually has an extensive employer engagement programme based on skills development, which will be a large part of the Global Citizenship Summer Programme.

Graduate recruiters are often very willing to give up their time to come onto campus and spend time helping students improve their employability skills. At the Global Citizenship Employability Programme, employers from a vast variety of sectors will join us on select days to help you with your interview skills, your CV, and assessment centre exercises.

This is a great opportunity to improve your eligibility and confidence (by practicing with one of the most relevant people to your career interests) before you go up for the real thing. For the sake of a good example, let’s presume you study finance and it’s your dream to work for Barclays. Would you pass up an opportunity to get a personal session with somebody who recruits graduates to work for Barclays, in a totally informal way, and receive feedback from them on your CV and your interview abilities? You never know how far impressing the right person at the right time can take you.

The scenario described above is not, of course, applicable to everyone. Let’s look at another example – say you are serious about your studies and have a good idea of what you want to do, but only vaguely where you want to work. Why not take the totally free opportunity to meet a recruiter from the sector or sectors you’re interested in, who will give you tailored, relevant feedback to prepare you for applying within their industry? Alternatively, it might even be an extremely useful and efficient way to figure out what companies or sectors you might not actually be that well suited to after all.

Who knows— you might even be surprised when you’re a student who just wants some professional feedback— anybody’s professional feedback—and you realise that your skills are quite well suited to an employer that you’d never considered before.

At the Global Citizenship Employability Programme, you will meet and work with a variety of employers. You’ll have chances to network and potentially make some useful contacts along the way who can answer your questions and tell you about the skills they developed when they were in your position.  You’ll practice intense and high pressure “speed” interviewing, practicing answering competency questions under time pressure to a series of employers from different industries. You can get your CV checked and work with a group of students to understand what you can do to improve this fundamental document. There will be a number of diverse, helpful viewpoints that you will be exposed to, and invaluable advice tailored to your employability.

To register and find out more about the UCL Careers Global Citizenship Employability Programme as part of the Global Citizenship programme run by UCL, head on over to: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/events/employabilityprogramme

– Weronika Benning, Skills Administrator, UCL Careers

Why last year’s participants think you should apply for Focus on Management 2015!

UCL Careers26 March 2015

We contacted the students who participated in Focus on Management 2014 to see how they’ve been getting on since the course. We saw that they were thrilled on the last day of the course … but how has completing Focus on Management impacted them and their career? Here’s a selection of the responses we received:

Focus on Management 2014

Marianne Thompson
Third Year, BA French and Spanish (Joint Honours)

“I was recently able to draw upon the invaluable experience that I gained from this course at an assessment centre for an international investment bank. I believe that it was my exposure to business case studies during Focus on Management that best prepared me for this process, and I was successful in gaining a place on the competitive summer internship.

I would highly recommend the Focus on Management course to anyone who is thinking about applying for internships or graduate schemes, as it is the perfect introduction to the kind of work you will be expected to complete at assessment centres, as well as providing you with the skills and knowledge to impress employers in the future.

The diversity of the business case studies presented, along with the intensive nature of the course, means that you are always kept on your toes and you are constantly being challenged in new ways.”

Andrew Dunn
Graduated with an MA in History, 2014

“Focus on Management was marketed as an opportunity to network with some of the brightest sparks of UCL’s student body – and they were! It was a practice run at many of the exercises that one might find at an assessment centre. The opportunity to work with other students to solve these exercises helped me develop a greater awareness of my own skills as a leader and team-worker.

Shortly after taking part in Focus on Management, I put the skills learnt to the test during an assessment day. I’m pleased to report that I must have picked something useful up, as I was subsequently offered a position! I strongly recommend any student at UCL to have a go at Focus on Management 2015 — you won’t be disappointed!”

Pancali Hume
Graduated with an MSc in International Public Policy, 2014

“I found out about Focus on Management after seeing an email about it from UCL Careers and there was a part of me that almost didn’t apply – but I am so happy that I did!

The 3 days we spent on the course prepared me for my upcoming assessment centre at a professional services company far better than my individual research or any practice interviews I did. It challenged my thinking and allowed me to practice vital presentation skills and teamwork exercises in a realistic context.

I would recommend Focus on Management to all UCL students as I sincerely believe this is the prime time to be thinking about leadership and creating concrete goals to champion and lead change in our generation.”


Inspired by the words of last year’s participants? – you have until Wednesday 8th April 2015 to apply. Go to
http://www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/recruiters/events/focus for more details and application instructions.

Focus on Management 2015 is sponsored by leading global healthcare company GSK