Peeping inside the City February 11, 2013Posted by Andrew Falconer in : Finance & IT, Selection Process , add a comment
For a unique, insider’s perspective on a career in the financial services sector, come on our long-running and successful City Course. During the week you will visit prominent City employers and institutions. You will participate in employer-led business games and listen to presentations and graduate panels about the range of City careers.
At each employer visit you will get the opportunity to meet and network with recent graduates working within the firm, representatives from the graduate recruitment teams and sometimes more senior employees. You’ll start early, work hard, and come away with a detailed understanding of how the City works.
The programme covers investment banking, management consultancy, accountancy, commercial law, risk management, and more.
Organisations last year included:
- Financial Services Authority
- Slaughter and May
- Standard Chartered
- Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
- Bank of England
- Barclays Capital
Please note: Applications are due in before the summer vacation even though the event is in September. Due to the high volume of applications received for this course, we are unable to acknowledge receipt.
An example of a typical day:
Morning: Visit the Financial Services Authority in Canary Wharf where you will get the chance to take part in a business game, listen to a panel of graduates talk about their experiences working in the City and network with current FSA employees over lunch.
Afternoon: Visit Accenture’s offices near the Old Bailey. Listen to a presentation by Accenture employees about what is involved in Management Consultancy followed by a business simulation game in smaller groups.
Comments from previous students on the course… “I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. I made a lot of friends, developed my skills and got a great insight into a wide variety of careers.” “The course has helped cement decisions on the areas I may want to go in to.” “Extremely informative. It’s opened my eyes to different companies and industries I haven’t considered before.”
Join us on Facebook where you’ll receive updates, take part in discussions, and ask us your questions. Share the event with your friends and anyone who you think will be interested in applying to this course: www.facebook.com/CareersintheCity
Forget the geeky stereotype, STEM students are sexy! January 17, 2013Posted by Andrew Falconer in : Science & Engineering, employability and skills , add a comment
What is it that makes Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) graduates so interesting to Employers? Former Careers Consultant John Childs explains…
I think it is because many of them possess the intellectual curiosity to explore a problem, to use their capabilities to define and analyse it in a rigorous way, to develop a range of potential solutions and to predict the likely results or impact of implementing each one of them.
These are characteristics that are highly valued for a range of different types of work, in a variety of different industries. But, what and where are these jobs?
One place where you could find out is in the STEM jobs section of the Royal Holloway, University of London Careers website.
Firstly, you will discover some data about the destinations of former University of London graduates, categorised under their areas of study: Biological/Life Sciences, Computer Science & Engineering, Mathematics & Physics.
Then there is a section about ‘How to research types of work’ – in other words how can you find out what different job titles mean and what you would be doing day to day. In addition to reference material, this section includes video profiles of people working in STEM careers, as well as advice on choosing your career.
The next section explains ‘How to search for Employers’ and what they look for when considering applications from graduates. Large and small organisations can be very different places to work; in the way they operate, in the resources they offer and the scope of responsibility they give. Careers Advisers outline their views on these differences and factors you may want to consider when making your decision about the type of organisation that will suit you. University of London Alumni talk about the reasons which determined their choices and Employers describe what makes their ideal candidates stand out.
Finally, the site provides extensive lists of employers as an illustration of organisations which operate in the STEM arena. For each organisation, there is a link to gather more information about them. The lists are arranged under four headings: ‘Finding Employers for ….. Biological Sciences, Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics’. Within each of these headings, the Employers are listed under the sector in which they operate. For example, taking Physics, the sectors shown are: Aerospace/Defence, Climate & Environment, Consultancy, Education and Academic Research, Energy, Finance/Business, Information Technology, Operational Research (includes Organisation, Methods, Business Systems Analysis), Science & Technology, Transport.
It is hoped that the information provided will help students to get a clearer perspective of the career opportunities in STEM and to enable them to identify more easily the broad range of employers operating in the UK. The site can be accessed at STEM jobs.
University of London Temp Agency Registrations Reach 6,000 January 3, 2013Posted by The Careers Group News in : The Careers Group, The Careers Group Blogs , add a comment
Originally posted at News
The Careers Group announces that the University of London Temp Agency has reached almost 6,000 registrations since its start in January 2012. Its mission is to place students and graduates into temporary placements both internally within the University of London Colleges and Institutes, as well as externally with businesses from an extensive variety of industries – a service which is free to all students, graduates and jobseekers!
Students and graduates looking for temporary placements are provided with a dedicated website containing all vacancies, which can be filtered in order to match results to all skills and every experience. Registration, which is mandatory in order to apply for any vacancy, is made as easy as possible by only requiring people to provide personal details and upload their CV.
Examples of vacancies currently available are positions as Mystery Shoppers, a Data Analyst with Algorithm Development and Recruitment Consultants. And this is just the latest snapshot of the compelling variety of temporary job opportunities published during the last year. Whether students and graduates are looking for a placement as a Research Officer, Events and Communications Coordinator, Web Banner Designer, Porter or Library Receptionist – all skills, degrees and interests are aimed to be covered.
We asked a student, who has been registered with the University of London Temp Agency for 8 months, about their experience with the service:
‘[The University of London Temp Agency] are […] professional and truly dedicated to finding the right job for you. They take into account the type of environment you would like to work in, your skills and job experiences. […] I can wholeheartedly say that University of London Temp Agency genuinely cares about its temps and wants them to succeed. I would definitely recommend them.’
Numbers, Words & Environment December 10, 2012Posted by Andrew Falconer in : Science & Engineering, career profiles , add a comment
Numbers, Words and the Environment Week was a week of meet-the-employer events for those Royal Holloway students who wish to use their mathematical or communication skills as part of their future careers. The week was focused on environmental employers, lab based jobs, people jobs and numerical jobs on each day. The job functions included Human Resources, Logistics, Environmental Consultancy, Intellectual Property, Science Publishing, Conservation and Information Technology as well as many others.
- Sue Webber, Surrey Biodiversity Partnership
- Paul Joyce- Mouchel, Surrey Wildlife Trust
- Doug Maffei-, Gilead
- Eleanor Grey, Graduate Entry Medicine
- Clare Holford, GSK
- Charles Clark, Edwards
- Victoria Clarke, TeachFirst
- Les Hopper, Oxford University Press
- Chrissie Wells, Leapfrog
- Andy Kingdon, British Geological Survey
- Jackson Rapley, FDM
- Lucy Hawkings, Runnymede Borough Council
- Dr Boma Doughlas, The Energy Institute
- Anna Kosteletos, Royal Holloway, University of London
- Nigel Reeve, The Royal Parks
Selection Process, employability and skills , add a comment
In August I blogged about “Nepotism and Beyond” where I looked at the importance of networking as a tool in your job search. The post referred to an interview with Will Butler-Adams, the MD of Brompton Bikes (the folding ones used by commuters) on the BBC’s The Bottom Line. In the interview, Will Butler-Adams had talked about his use of contacts in sourcing staff. I paraphrased his comments below:
Recruiting is a lottery. You take someone on, you spend six months training them and at the end of six months you find you have made a ghastly mistake. If you spend a lot of time on the recruitment process, psychometric tests, games etc, like the civil service and big investment banks do, you can reduce the odds of making a mistake. But even then you often make a mistake. If you go for contacts you improve the odds.
I tweeted the blog post to Will Butler-Adams and he responded:
This is a crucial point. Networking is much more sophisticated than hoping a former employer or person in authority will be willing and able to recommend you for a position. In reality it is the people we take for granted who can help us more. Our family contacts, friends of friends and beyond can be the key to your career. But accessing them is hard.
I am running a session for MBA students at Royal Holloway in spring where they can network with each other. This is an odd idea. They spend every day together and many evenings, why would they need to network? In my confidential one-to-one discussions with them, it is clear that several of them have experience of working in roles desired by their classmates. And vice versa. Creating an opportunity for them to explore this in a structured way should help them consider the power of their own network.
I ended the previous post with “Employers like Will Butler-Adams value personal recommendation, its up to you to find a way of being the person recommended” and that is true. It is effectively “planned happenstance” . It is about planning and recognising opportunities so that you can be in the right place at the right time. They key word is “plan”. If you are the type of student who plans revision timetables, this is just one step further. You don’t even need to know exactly what you want to do in life, just have some ideas and make a plan.
So what might a plan look like? It will certainly involve face-to-face networking and may also feature some people you had never considered.
- Get some friends together and share the people you know. They may not help you but could help your friends. It may feel weird at first but could produce great results.
- Find a related professional organization and make a note of forthcoming events and seminars. They may also have student membership deals.
- Use LinkedIn to find alumni or other contacts working in the sector.
- Attend your campus careers events to meet professionals
- Follow key professionals on twitter (and also check out who else follows them)
- Find volunteering opportunities or work experience.
The key message is that you need to get out there and do things. Your network needs to be built as does your reputation. These opportunities to meet face-to-face can be immensely valuable. In future blog posts I shall look at the events themselves and how to make the most of them. As we head towards Christmas, think about all the people you will meet back home and start your planning.
Fewer jobs in the charity sector October 8, 2012Posted by Andrew Falconer in : Industry Focus, Third Sector, Voluntary work , add a comment
The charity (or “Third”) sector is an attractive career option for many students. It doesn’t have the same profile as financial services or FMCG and students can be naïf about the opportunities within it. According to the Third Sector Skills Council, over the last twelve months, there has been a decrease in recruitment in the sector by just under 10%. This is a reduction of 70,000 vacancies. It compares with a decline in the public sector of 4.3% over the same period, and an increase of 1.5% in the private sector.
But of course this is a mixed picture. Charities that were significantly reliant on local authority funding, e.g education, have suffered as a result of local budgets being cut. The Charity Market Monitor noted that donations have declined over the last few years, restricting their ability to recruit permanent staff. However the industry body Charity Retail recognise the increasing growth of the charity shop sector.
The growth of charity shops is probably not sustainable and there could potentially be a significant decline if local authorities and businesses equate charity shops with deprivation. Indeed there is already a backlash against them. However, with tax advantages, retail units will continue to be strong income generators for charities for the foreseeable future.
So what is the future like for the charity sector? According to Charityjob, there are currently over 170,000 voluntary organisations in the UK, generating an income of £35.5b. The sector employs over 650,000 staff – 63% full time and with a predominantly (68%) female gender balance.
They suggest this relates to to number of redundancies, pay cuts and freezes. The data correlates with the national picture of those organisations with more restrictive funding models. The report also suggests that workers in organisations that appear to value and develop their staff have higher staff morale than those elsewhere.
These periods of economic uncertainty are temporary and you can see a cycle over the last thirty years where the third sector, as with others, have expanded or contracted.
What we have seen over the last few years has been the growth of collaboration and sharing of resources amongst charities. For example, the Charity Works Graduate Scheme is a collaboration between a diverse range of charities – from RNIB to Cambridge House.
We have lots of resources to help you navigate your way into a Third Sector career. Charities usually have two types of volunteer or employee: those motivated by the cause and those developing a profession. For example, Government Liaison / Public Affairs staff will move from charity to charity and can command large (ish) salaries. Their motivation will often be their professional expertise rather than the cause of the organisation – although sympathy with that would be a requirement.
London Stock Exchange Group: Graduate Programme September 17, 2012Posted by UCL Careers Service in : Finance, Finance & IT, Industry Focus, Selection Process, The Careers Group Blogs , add a comment
Originally posted at UCL Careers Service Blog
By Jeff Riley , UCL Careers Service. It can take new graduate recruitment programmes a little while to establish themselves on my radar. Sure, I know formally that schemes may be advertised on JobOnline or Target Jobs and have what I think is a reasonable idea of what schemes may involve. Until I meet employers face to face though, programmes never become tangible for me. For example, this morning I visited London Stock Exchange Group who have been running a graduate training programme since 2010 and internship scheme since 2011. Even before I’d got inside the building I’d learnt one very important thing
- It’s not London Stock Exchange BUT London Stock Exchange Group. This is important because it means that it’s more than a stock exchange. The Group provides financial services infrastructure not just to London but also, for example, to Italy through Borsa Italiana (the Italian Stock Exchange) and via the eight international offices of FTSE in places like the USA. Incidentally, they also have a software and technology business called Millennium IT which is based in Sri Lanka. As the business develops, so do opportunities for graduates including the chance to work overseas in Milan or Rome.
I met up with Nishe Patel who is responsible for recruiting the next intake of graduates (closing date of December 7th), and managing the programme. Here are some key messages
- The scheme is evolving but right now you can sign up for the programme and you would apply for your fixed position towards the end of your programme, which is fully supported by the business.
- As part of the programme you could complete assignments in
- Capital Markets – Primary or Secondary
- Corporate Functions –Human Resources, Marketing, Legal, Regulation, Public Affairs, Regulatory Strategy, Finance, Audit and Risk
- Information Services – Provides market data to support decision-making and risk management.
- Post Trade – once a trade has been made this ‘back office’ function ensures that everything happens smoothly and with minimal risk
- Technology – the entire market depends on technology and this continually needs to develop to provide the best services for clients.
Now it became pretty quickly clear that this is a complex operation with its own language but not impenetrable. Nishe was easily able to distinguish, for example, the primary and secondary capital markets. Primary is the arena for companies new to the stock exchange such as the recently listed film studio company Pinewood Shepperton. Secondary is the market for previously issued financial instruments such as stock, bonds, options, and futures.
These different sectors recruit graduates following the programme into specific roles. Graduates who completed their programme in 2012 have joined positions in Strategy, Equities and Derivatives Markets, Information Services, Legal, Primary Markets etc. The roles vary from developing key business strategies for the next few years to developing key products that would be valuable to clients whilst managing the relationship with them. One thing Nishe is especially keen on is that applicants should be flexible and adaptable. “Applicants cannot be expected to know which department or role they want to work in until they have some experience. They may want to go into business development eventually and as we know that this role depends on being able to build great relationships, a spell in Human Resources could be really good for developing that skill
- What you will need.�
- Formally a 2.1 honours degree and 300 UCAS points from your top 3 A levels.
- Lots of different degree subjects considered. “To be honest”, says Nishe, “we get a lot of applications from business and economics students. These are very welcome and we do recruit individuals with this background. What we would like to see are more applications from science and technical subjects. Things like physics, mathematics, and computer science”.
- The right motivation. It won’t matter how able you are if you aren’t clear why you want to work at London Stock Exchange Group. “It’s no good saying things like ‘because it’s at the heart of the financial community’ or ‘because it’s an international organisation.’”, says Nishe, “We need to know why those things matter to you.”
Find out more via
* An open evening – taking place on November 21st
Nature Jobs Expo 2012 September 10, 2012Posted by Andrew Falconer in : Science & Engineering, Third Sector, employability and skills , add a comment
According to their publicity, now in its sixth year, the Naturejobs Career Expo is the UK’s largest career fair and conference for the scientific community. It takes place on September 20 at the Business Design Centre, Islington.
The Expo promotes global career opportunities in science, be it in industrial research, research organisations or academia. It presents the best opportunities from the best organisations: public, private, national and international.
Jobseekers can meet with potential employers offering hundreds of genuine vacancies. The conference plenary and workshop sessions will provide a unique opportunity to meet high profile scientists and gain careers information and advice.
Exhibitors confirmed so far include:
- Baden-Württemberg International
- BASF – The Chemical Company
- BGI 华大基因
- Bioscience Careers Group
- BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies, Albert – Ludwigs – University of Freiburg
- Cancer Research UK
- Contact Singapore
- CRP Santé
- European Commission, EURAXESS-Researchers in Motion
- European Commission, European Research Council (ERC)
- European Commission, Marie Curie Actions
- French Embassy
- Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies
- Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
- German Academic Exchange Services (DAAD)
- German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ)
- German Research Foundation (DFG)
- Graduate School of Excellence “MAterials science IN mainZ” (MAINZ)
- Hochschule Mannheim University of Applied Sciences
- IK4 Research Alliance
- The Institute of Chemical & Engineering Sciences
- International Giessen Graduate School for the Life Sciences
- International Graduate School in Molecular Medicine ULM
- International Max Planck Research School for Neural Circuits
- Johnson & Johnson
- Karlsruhe School of Optics & Photonics
- Karolinska Institutet
- Konstanz Research School Chemical Biology
- Macmillan Science Communication
- Max Planck Society
- The Merck Group
- Nanyang Technological University
- Nature Publishing Group
- Nature.com Open Innovation Pavilion
- Otsuka Pharma
- Philipps-Universität Marburg
- Qatar Biomedical Research Institute
- Research in Germany — Land of Ideas
- Singapore University of Technology and Design
- Teach First
- Technical University of Denmark, DTU
- Technische Universität München
- UBC Envision
- University of Copenhagen
- University of Münster
It is free to attend but you must register in advance.
‘Doing More with Less’ – how to appeal to employers July 20, 2012Posted by Kirsti Burton in : The Careers Group Blogs , add a comment
Originally posted at QM Jobs Blog
A report in The Times* newspaper this week describes how “Doing more with less has become today’s business mantra.”
What might this mean for undergraduates and graduates seeking work?
Here are three ways to help employers understand how you can enable them to do more with less…
1. Fresh thinking – demonstrate how you can bring creative approaches and new ways of doing things. As one consultant quoted in The Times commented ‘You have to out-think, rather than outspend the competition’. Draw on examples of things you have done while at university. Your use of Facebook to increase membership numbers of the Scuba Club, could be a model for a business using social media to engage with a wider customer base.
2. Focus – show that you know what really matters. Doing more with less requires working to clear goals and concentrating on areas where you can make a difference. Do your research on any potential employer. Have a view on what really matters for the success of their business. Prepare evidence of times when you have achieved goals as a student using limited resources. For example, did you complete several pieces of coursework at the same time as holding down a part-time job?
3. Affiliation – describe how you work with others to deliver results. The Times feature also describes how businesses are working together in collaborative partnerships to do more with less. It cites the work of Divine (the Fairtrade chocolate) with O2. Share relevant examples from course projects and work experience to show employers how you can work in partnership with others to make great things happen.
*The Times feature is based on a report by Raconteur. This can be accessed here.
A 2:2 is a worthless degree June 11, 2012Posted by Andrew Falconer in : Finance & IT, Selection Process , 5comments
So the results are in. How did you do? Did you get that 1st class degree everyone hopes for? Or do you feel there are no options now you failed to grasp that 2:1? You are not alone. Around 30% of graduates leave with a 2:2 degree and the good news is that there are still lots of options open to you – your degree still has great value. The notion that a 2:2 is worthless is yet another myth.
As careers consultants we often see graduates with a 2:2 suddenly start to talk about doing a masters course. Typically there are three reasons for doing a masters: a) desire to specialise and increase employability; b) passion to learn more about the subject and c) compensate for poorer grades achieved to date. Unfortunately the third reason doesn’t usually work. Many graduate recruiters don’t differentiate between a masters and an undergraduate degree – although some (e.g. ExonMobil) will take a 2:2 plus a relevant postgraduate qualification. If you want to do a masters then make sure your motivation is right.
So before you get depressed and hit the ice-cream, there is more than a glimmer of hope.
OK so many of the Graduate Schemes are closed to you because they require a 2:1 or above. But there are some schemes out there that are open to 2:2: degrees. Some examples that might help you get started:
- Barclays Retail
- PWC Inspired Talent
- GIST Logistics
- Mitchells & Butlers
- Civil Service Fast Stream
- London Treasurer’s Graduate Scheme
- NHS Management
- Scottish Power
- Jaguar Landrover
So from that (non-exhaustive) list you can see the diversity of schemes available – from Government to manufacturing, professional services to retail. Trawling through the internet should help find many others. Bear in mind that within the same company there may be different entry requirements depending on the role – e.g. IT. In many cases the 2:1 requirement isn’t necessarily about the ability to do the job, but a means of reducing the volume of applications.
It’s easy to get distracted by graduate schemes. These corporations often have large budgets to market their career opportunities to students. But typically only about 10% of graduates go into a graduate scheme. That’s all, just 10%. Maybe about 35% will do further study, leaving 55% of graduates doing something else.
“It’s tough out there. There aren’t any jobs.” The media keeps broadcasting a message of doom and gloom about the job market which isn’t very helpful. The graduate job market is generally always challenging and competition is usually strong. When thinking about your next steps there are several factors to consider.
- If you wanted a specific graduate scheme, why was that? Was it because of the company (if so, search entry level positions in same firm), the role (find alternative employers with similar roles) or location (refine your job search geographically but broaden criteria).
- What can you do in the short term to position yourself better in the future? For example, aspiring accountant and Royal Holloway graduate is building on his 2:2 by putting himself through the ICAEW Certificate because it shares the same modules as the ACA.
- Can I do it myself? Many current entrepreneurs have started their businesses with very little money, just a positive attitude and some basic business skills.
A 2:2 is not the end of the world. Alumni from across the University of London have done very well in life despite their 2:2 degrees. It may seem like it’s a barrier but, by thinking differently, it shouldn’t be a major disadvantage. When I last published a version of this post, this lovely comment was left:
As someone who got a 2:2 I thought that was it in terms of any ideas about continuing to study.
I had no idea there were graduate schemes to go on. Thank you
Similarly, whilst graduate schemes will generally be closed to those with degree levels lower than 2:2, it doesn’t mean that the company is. You may just need to work your way up from a lower level. But it’s still very achievable. You need to play to your strengths to compensate for your lower level degree.
Graduates can continue to get careers support from their colleges in the University of London Careers Group by joining Gradclub.
This is an updated version of this previous post.