Studied: English Literature (2009 - 2012)
Worked in: New York, through the Mountbatten Programme
Tell us a little about the global opportunity you took
In 2013 I took part in the Mountbatten Institute's New York programme, where graduates from outside the United States work for a sponsor company in New York for a year. Having worked in marketing for the year prior to the programme, I opted to continue with this, and worked as a marketing intern for Citi Private Bank from August 2013 - August 2014. As a prerequisite of the programme, you are also required to study, either for a Postgraduate Certificate in International Business practice or for a full MBA. I chose the former, which enabled me to gain credits towards a Masters, whilst still having plenty of time to experience and enjoy living in New York.
What was the biggest barrier to taking this opportunity and how did you overcome it?
A potential barrier is not getting placed with a sponsor company. Statistically, the majority of people who apply for Mountbatten, and who get through the initial interview stage with the programme, will get placed with a sponsor company in New York. However, Mountbatten always accepts a few more applicants in the initial interview stage than there are placements, to account for dropouts and to allow the sponsor companies some choice in who they interview.
Was it difficult to fit in with a new culture?
New York is a fairly easy transition from living in the UK, so long as you're comfortable in a busy city. The workplace culture is fast-paced and highly motivated, but you won't be having to juggle this with learning a new language.
What is the most rewarding aspect of working abroad?
Working abroad is a completely different experience to being a tourist. I loved really getting to know New York and learning about it through colleagues, the majority of whom were native to the city.
How did you fund your trip?
Whilst you're on the programme, you're paid a stipend to live off and Mountbatten pay for, and organise, your accommodation. The main cost is the tuition fees for the compulsory PGC or MBA. Both courses are several thousand pounds, with the MBA being significantly more expensive. I took out the Barclays Career Development Loan to fund the course, which is what Mountbatten advise. However, if I had my time again I would have tried to save more money before going in order to pay the course fees and to have more to travel with in the month after the programme finishes (in which the J1 visa is still valid).
Have you got any advice for other students considering a global opportunity?
Go for it! It's a tough, competitive job market, and having international work experience will set you apart from other graduates. I also recommend doing a programme like Mountbatten soon after graduating, before you become too settled in your career. Mountbatten is open to all graduates who have a year's work experience and there are opportunities in finance, HR, law, marketing, and other disciplines.
How did taking a global work opportunity help your career prospects?
Since returning from New York, I have begun working as a marketing executive for Guardian News & Media; an organisation I have always been interested in. I think the Mountbatten programme, and the experience I gained through working in New York, are both largely to thank for the job opportunities I have had since returning to the UK. The Mountbatten programme gives graduates the opportunity to work for a globally renowned company for a year, where you gain international work experience, a qualification and the tools to impressive prospective employers in the future.
What is your favourite food from your host country?
I think it's got to be the coffee and inexhaustible selection of bagels!