Grads on the path to success

Last month’s Graduate Outcomes Survey revealed that UEA graduates are above the national average when it comes to working in highly-skilled occupations.

These figures were based on graduates from 2017/18 so we caught up with a few from that cohort who are already forging a path to find out where they’ve ended up and how support like careers fairs, the UEA Awards and studying abroad helped them on their way.

From L-R: 2018 graduates Aimen Mobin (Business Management BSc), Thomas Grimshaw (History BA and Early Modern History MA) and Sophie Lurcuck (English Literature BA)

From L-R: 2018 graduates Aimen Mobin (Business Management BSc), Thomas Grimshaw (History BA and Early Modern History MA) and Sophie Lurcuck (English Literature BA)

Aimen Mobin

Course: Business Management BSc

Current role: Technology Architecture Delivery Senior Analyst at technology and consulting firm Accenture

Can you describe your role?

I currently work as a Technology Architecture Delivery Senior Analyst at Accenture. Essentially I work on projects related to a certain technology for a particular client, and our end goal is to ensure that the client’s requirements and expectations can be successfully met through the solution/system we build for them.

What skills did you gain at UEA that have helped you in your career?

A lot of the skills I’ve gained were through societies. I was Events Representative in the Pakistan Society and teamwork was a skill I gained through this, as well as event management and organisational skills, making sure that you’re communicating and coordinating well with people.

I was also Equality and Diversity Officer for the Entrepreneurship Society, which was interesting to me because I’m someone that advocates highly for equality, and it’s great that UEA is embedding those roles within each and every society.

How did you end up at Accenture?

While I was still student at UEA, I attended an event called Tech Visionaries, a four-day spring insight programme with Accenture. There were managers and mentors from the company, and about 60 students from different universities. We were all given the same project to work on within the four days and then on the last day we presented it to HR and management at Accenture.

After this I got a phone call from the management team. They said they really liked my presentation, and offered me on to the Technology Architecture programme. I thought they were going to offer a more business related grad scheme, given my academic background - but I’m very grateful that I’m able to work in the technology industry now!

Then once I’d graduated in 2018 I started the graduate scheme at Accenture, which normally lasts two years but last year I got promoted to senior analyst.

Did you use CareerCentral services?

Yes, CareerCentral gives you a bunch of websites that you can reach out to that have different grad schemes and I remember going to some of the employability week events. CareerCentral are just brilliant with supporting students; reading their CVs and cover letters, and making sure students are aware of any opportunities as well.

One of the centres that UEA had was called Target Jobs, where students can reach out and get advice on what sort of grad schemes to apply for and networking events to go to. This was where I found out about the four-day event in London.

Because it was in technology and I was studying business I was a bit hesitant to apply, but I thought you know what it’s just a networking event and it eventually helped me get my current job.

Any advice for new or current students?

Give your full attention to academics but also get a good balance between student life/societies and studies so that your extra-curriculars aren’t hidden away. The reason I say that now is that now I’m employed work life balance is so important.

Sophie Lurcuck

Course: English Literature BA

Current role: Creative Account Executive at Total Media

Can you describe your role?

I work for the organic team at Total Media as a Creative Account Executive and that means doing a lot of content writing, copywriting and marketing. Being able to write, working in PR and getting a job in the creative industries is what I wanted to do, so I’m really enjoying it!

What skills did you gain at UEA that have helped you in your career?

A key skill I picked up while at uni was writing essays and the whole aspect of researching them. That is basically what I do all the time now when writing articles, anything I write requires research and it’s the same principle as when you’re writing an essay at university.

How did you end up at Total Media?

When I left UEA, I applied for Total Media’s graduate scheme. There were lots of stages to it: the initial application; a video interview; a test; a phone interview and finally an assessment day. I was on the scheme for a year and rotated across a number of different services, finishing on the organic team. I really enjoyed working there and when I finished they offered me a role there.

Did you use UEA’s CareerCentral services?

I used it to find a job as a student caller while I was studying. I also completed the UEA Silver Award, which is a real hidden gem and I’d really recommend it to anyone looking to make a headstart. It really helps the way the UEA Awards are structured because you have to write up a CV, which means it’s ready and prepped to go when it comes to applying for jobs, and you have to work a certain number of hours to get the award.

I was lucky enough to get a summer internship at a social enterprise linking sustainable businesses with students. I was able to meet students and people from the businesses and used this when talking about a brand I love for the assessment scheme at Total Media. So just having those experiences to talk about helped me to get to the job I’m in today. Aside from that it’s something that gives you something to reference in your CV and a lot of practical experience to call on.

Any advice for new or current students?

Apart from the UEA Award, I’d recommend the Working With Words module for anyone in LDC, which is something I use all the time.

And I’d just say to get involved in whatever you’re interested in. Volunteer, take things on – interviews can be challenging and the more you’ve done, the more you have to say and the more diverse you can be.

Thomas Grimshaw

Course: History BA and Early Modern History MA

Current role: Events and Fundraising Executive at Walking With The Wounded

Can you describe your role?

I am based in the small fundraising team at Walking With The Wounded (WWTW), a charity who provide a pathway for ‘at risk’ veterans to reintegrate into society through employment, mental health support and the criminal justice system.

The main focus of my role is to support the smooth organisation and delivery of events, such as the Cumbrian Challenge and Walking Home For Christmas. To boost awareness and increase participation in these events I organise marketing and PR, such as creating content for social media, filming video and contacting local media.

As a result of COVID-19, I have moved towards the organisation of virtual events and have been researching new ways in which the charity can stay connected to its supporters.

What skills did you gain at UEA that have helped you in your career?

While studying I was involved with the UEA Velo committee and worked as a student ambassador for uea(su) for open days and events. I also spent six months in Sydney (Australia) studying abroad, which was such a unique time that helped me gain confidence in my own abilities.

These experiences allowed me to develop many skills, including leadership, communication, self-confidence, experience of public speaking and new friendships. These have been useful in my career, as much of my work revolves around building relationships.

Studying history helped developed my written communication but also helped develop my problem-solving skills and analytical thinking and the events WWTW run are constantly analysed in order to measure their success.

How did you end up working at Walking With The Wounded?

After graduating from my BA in 2018, I decided to continue my studies at UEA by undertaking an MA in Early Modern History. Towards the end the course, I was starting to look for job vacancies, unsure of an exact career yet. On the CareersCentral website, I saw a three-month internship for WWTW as part of the UEA internship programme and applied with my CV and a cover letter straight away.

From there I went through the interview stages and a few days after I received a call offering me the position. After the three months was up I was offered a full-time contract and have stayed here ever since.

Did you use CareerCentral services?

Aside from the UEA internship programme, I primarily used CareerCentral for support with writing my CV and cover letters. The resources on their website were particularly useful for this, as well as in-person support in the form of seminars and 1-2-1 meetings with a career advisor to go over the various documents.

CareerCentral frequently delivered lectures and hosted events specifically for history students, which included some great advice on how to find a career and why employers value history students. Their regular Careers Fair events gave me the opportunity to listen to both alumni and graduate employers, research potential careers and network with employers.

Is there any advice you would give to current students wishing to follow a similar career path to you?

Don’t just focus on what skillsets you have; identify which life skills you need to develop. If you do a self-assessment towards the end of your degree, you’ll be surprised by the number of transferable skills you already have. The careers team always talk about the importance of these transferable skills, but you never fully realise them until you've left university. Allow these skills to guide your career path, and always have them at the front of your mind when applying for jobs. Use them to your advantage – employers are looking for these skills.

In particular for a career either in the third sector and events, I would advise you get involved in charity work. Not only does volunteering provide you with valuable experience, it demonstrates that you are committed to working in the third sector. Do you own fundraising, and maybe even organise your own event. Do whatever it takes to make you stand out.

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