“Adapting to the British recruitment process was a strenuous task, but the careers network at the University of Birmingham was extremely useful and was integral to me landing a graduate scheme offer with a top global firm. I completed my undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh before starting my master’s degree in Engineering Management. Coming from the U.S. meant that I would not only have to adapt to a different style of teaching but also different employability requirements.
There were countless workshops and presentations that I took advantage of to inform myself of British professional standards. Psychometric testing, detailed application forms and assessment centres were all very new to me, but the careers network was a great source for help. I utilised the careers library for insight and practice examples for psychometric tests and attended one-on-one sessions regarding my prepared application responses and CV content. The office was extremely useful for gauging labour market information and accessing directories with tailored tips for succeeding with particular employers and roles.
The international careers advisors were invaluable resources for educating me in the different etiquette, vocabulary and overall cultural differences to make sure I stood out in a positive light. Ellen O’Brien was incredibly helpful in providing me with personal advice to display my unique selling points and strengths on multiple occasions before my interviews. As a lead facilitator she organised networking events that allowed me to speak with employers that were fully aware of my struggles as a foreign applicant. These events were intimate enough to really allow for uninterrupted conversations with employers to gain insider knowledge into these big organisations.
I can honestly say that one of these events directly resulted in me getting a graduate scheme offer with Ernst & Young. It gave me the opportunity to speak with a recruitment officer who completely changed my opinion on the culture of the organisation and assisted me throughout the whole recruitment process. My scheme starts next September in London and I will be an Information Technology Consultant for financial services organisations regarding risk and compliance across supply chains. This could not feel like any more perfect of a fit and I owe it all to the careers network at UoB!
Unlike a November afternoon, it was sunny. So, though tinged with dry cold, it was a beautiful day. As I strolled towards the Great Hall, I tried to remember the last time I attended a Law Fair in that Hall. It was in 2006 when I was pursuing my law degree. I knew it was bound to be different – things are changing fast in today’s world. Moreover, I am now attending as an International Student Ambassador for Careers Network. My job at the Fair is to interview the employers to find out what opportunities are there for International Students.