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Project Manager: Inspire Me

ManpreetDhesi11 November 2015

As part of our #UCLInspireMe series, Durgha Ramji, Project Manager at Inme, talks to us about how she got this role and shares some tips for UCL students who want to pursue opportunities abroad. For more insights from recent graduates working for smaller organisations, search #SMEProfile.

Durgha RamjiDurgha Ramji (25) is Inme’s very own ambitious young person from the UK. Durgha spent her first year at UCL before transferring to the University of London Institute in Paris. Durgha has interned at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Sharekh Youth Forum in the Palestinian Territories and the Next Billion Online project powered by Google in Bangalore, India. She now heads Inme’s engagement with the outward student mobility strategy of UK HE Institutions.

Go International with UCL

I remember my time at UCL as being an opportunity to interact with people from all over the world. My friends circle had never been so diverse. There were  also lots of opportunities to learn about projects which can support a student gain international experiences through volunteering or placements. These experiences are critical in todays globalised world as employers are looking for graduates with the ability to work in multiple cultural contexts.

While at UCL I applied to The British Council’s Study India Programme (SIP) and after graduating I spent a year in Bangalore as part of Google’s Next Billion Online project (NBO). These experiences really inspired me to pursue opportunities in India. When it came to deciding whether I accept my offer of a graduate job in London or continue exploring career development opportunities in India – having had the SIP and NBO experience made the decision easy for me – it was always going to be India.

From my previous exposure to the cultural, economic and youth led start up environment I knew the responsibility, initiative and skills I would develop by leaving the UK would be invaluable and attractive to employers back at home once I returned.

Returning to a world of opportunities in India

Selected as delegate for the World Conference on Youth in Sri Lanka, I knew I would also visit friends in India and so bought along my business plan for a student leadership programme I had submitted to the Lloyds Bank Start Up Fund. I’d got through the application round and had my phone interview in a tent on the banks of the River Ganga while working as a facilitator on an Inme rafting programme in Rishikesh.

Unfortunately I didn’t pass this stage of the Llyod’s application but I’d also shared the business plan with Inme who took up the offer and decided to explore the opportunity to internationalise their  offering of leadership programmes to international students.

And so I decided not to take my flight home and I’ve been working in India since.

Global Entrepreneurial Minds at Inme Learning Pvt Ltd

As part of my role, I am heading the entire project cycle of designing, selling, implementing, evaluating and improving an international product. I am responsible for ensuring the success of the project, anticipating and following through on opportunities and working with different departments to ensure my objectives are met.

I have found inspiring mentors in the senior Inme team who themselves come from diverse backgrounds and have extensive experience in pioneering visionary ideas and products in India. The senior team are experts in using adventure based learning, behavioural science and attitudinal and mindset training to build leadership skills.

With Inme – I believe I have discovered the most conducive environment to build my own leadership capabilities!

Skills focus

Through working with the senior Inme team my steepest learning curves has been in the following key areas:

Adaptive challenges – As a start up project making mistakes enable us to gain insights, understand our target group and adapt the product to what works best for them. I know that having the bigger picture and an overall plan is necessary but I must be ready to adapt to the context and situation.

Anticipating opportunities – When attending my first SOAS Alumni event in New Delhi I took along my programme brochure in anticipation of sharing it with fellow alumni.  In a chance meeting with a representative of the British Council we discovered a potential collaboration opportunity. Investing my time, energy, creativity, relationship building efforts and trust in multiple options and opportunities is important – I know some will fail, but some will pan out extraordinarily!

Taking risks – Taking risks with a combination of trusting my intuition and reasoning (add to this a dash of serendipity!) will leading to rewarding results for myself and Inme.

Appreciating diversity – There are many different ways, processes and methods of achieving the desired result.

Living the Generaton UK – India experience

Today, I find myself living the Generation UK – India experience – and with the project I am heading – The Global Leader Inme – I really want to inspire fellow UCL students to take the same leap I have of being at the vanguard of ambitious young people ready to work with India and innovative and exciting Indian Companies to build ties between the UK and India which go beyond simple economics.

Inme are UCL Skills4Work supporters and are delivering a workshop with Deloitte on Career Drive and Motivation on Monday 16th November 2015 at 5pm.

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

ManpreetDhesi5 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/