Guest blog: Life as a Patent Attorney

stephanieI am training to become a Chartered (UK) and European patent attorney at Kilburn & Strode LLP at our offices near Holborn.  I have a background in physics and previously worked in research and peer review publishing before joining the profession.  

Patent attorneys work with individuals and companies to help them protect their innovations and developments, principally in the form of inventions. The role is unique, and not only requires a technical background usually in the form of a science or engineering degree, but also specialist legal knowledge and a commercial mindset. It takes a number of years of on-the-job training and several professional exams before one can become a registered patent attorney. Most trainee patent attorneys work in private practice, however there are other options such as training in industry or in a government department. Ultimately, a patent attorney aims to provide a service to a client or to an employer by advising on, obtaining, and maintaining intellectual property rights. This involves a good understanding of the client and their business such that balanced measures can be taken in light of commercial decisions.

To train, you will usually need an undergraduate degree in a scientific or engineering discipline, and many firms require a classification of at least a 2:1. This strong grounding can help ensure you have the adequate analytical skills required to quickly understand relevant information across a wide range of technologies. There is no requisite legal knowledge as this is built upon during training.  

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East London Social Hack

_dsc0505-edit-003This weekend 50 students from QMUL took part in the ‘East London Social Hack’, an intensive enterprise bootcamp that tasks participants to set up social enterprises in just 3 days to address key issues in their local community.

The first ‘East London Social Hack’ took place in March 2016 and, due to its popularity, the event was expanded this year with the support of an £18,500 grant from the UPP Foundation. This allowed the bootcamp to be increased from 2 to 3 days, and enabled the winning teams to receive a package of workspace and mentoring for 3 months in co-work space Launch 22, along with £500 of funding to market test their ideas.  

rrrrThe grant also enabled the university to assemble an impressive line-up of 16 local social entrepreneurs who helped students to develop and validate their ideas over the weekend, including Junior Ogunyemi, a QMUL economics graduate and author of ‘How to be a Student Entrepreneur’, Katherine Hibbert, founder of hugely successful property social enterprise DotDotDot, Junior Smart, founder of SOS Gangs Projects, and Alexis Olapido, founder of Gym Bites.

On day 1, students discussed social issues that they were passionate about and formed teams based on their values, culminating with their first pitch of the weekend. They heard from Katherine, who set up DotDotDot Property in Tower Hamlets to link empty property with renters who were willing to volunteer in their local community in return for cheap rent. The company now turns over £1milllion a year and has expanded across London.

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Careers in communications – upcoming events!

If you’re interested in a career in communications, you won’t want to miss these events below, taking place over the next 3 Tuesday evenings. Click on the links to register your place.

Career Conversations: Exploring Careers in Public Relations – Tuesday 28th Feb, 6.15 – 7.30pm

handshake-440959_960_720We are delighted to have QM alumni Lisa Quinn who is Director of Communications at Hearst Magazines and Suraj Bhanot who is an Account Manager at leading PR agency Weber Shandwick.  Lisa and Suraj will each give a short case study presentation on a PR project that they have been involved with – to help you get a better understanding of the role of PR in different contexts.

We will also be joined by Kate Turner, Public Affairs and PR Consultant at The PR Office.
After the presentations, Lisa, Kate & Suraj will then answer questions about building their careers, ‘top tips’ for getting in to PR and what recruiters are looking for in entry level/graduate recruits.

Career Conversations: Exploring Careers in Publishing – Tuesday 7th March, 6.15 – 7.30pm

books-1204029_960_720This is a great opportunity to explore how to start to build a career in Publishing.   This will be a panel discussion with recent graduates.

The aim is that students will gain a clearer insight into some of the different ‘early career’ roles within Publishing and so be able to better identify their ideal job and target their job search accordingly.  Our panellists work in different sectors of Publishing – fiction, educational & academic.

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Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

21523294814_ddd84475e2_bOften appearing towards the end of an interview, this question seems relatively straightforward. Indeed, the main problem candidates face with this question is not having thought that far ahead! But don’t worry, this question isn’t a test of your prediction skills – it’s a job interview question just like any other. So how do you answer it?

First of all, the panel does not want to hear about your personal aspirations. This includes where you want to live, how much money you want to earn, whether you want to start a family, and even ‘I want to be doing a job that I enjoy’. As with other interview questions, keep your answer focused and professional. Your ambitions should be related to the industry you’re applying for and, if it’s a full-time position, preferably to the company or organisation you’re being interviewed by.

A good strategy is to break your answer down chronologically, beginning with the position you’re applying for. If it’s an internship, how will it provide a stepping-stone to your future career development? If it’s a graduate job, how do you hope to progress within the role? It’s important to stress how you want to develop the skills you’ve already mentioned in the interview, and that you want to become an expert in your field.

Nonetheless, be realistic. Five years may seem like a long time, but it’s not an eternity in professional terms. If you say that you want to be managing an entire team by then, you’ll look naïve rather than ambitious. To avoid such mistakes, it’s a good idea to find out what other people who’ve applied for your position in the past have gone on to do (LinkedIn is a great resource for this). That way, you can find out what’s achievable, whilst tailoring your answer to your own aspirations.

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How to Smash the Fast Stream Assessment Centre

You’ve sailed through the online tests, you’ve done the e-tray, you’ve passed the video interview- and now it’s on to the Fast Stream Assessment Centre. Well done for making it so far! Read on to find out how to give the FSAC your very best shot.

Don’t forget to read the 2017 FSAC Guide for practice exercises, and check our Facebook page for other opportunities for support. We’re here to help you get through it- do get in touch with any questions.

– QMUL Fast Stream Outreach Team


  • Get to know the competencies (Fast Stream ones are Level 3). Each exercise will highlight different ones. See the competency framework below.
  • Take a look at the practice scenarios in the FSAC guide – they’re very similar to the actual exercises you’ll get on the day.
  • Dial-a-Fast Streamer- if you contact us through our Facebook page, one of us will do our best to chat you through the assessment centre by phone.
  • Make sure to unwind and get a good night’s sleep- you can do it.

fsacOn the day:

  • Eat breakfast and stay hydrated.
  • Dress professionally, but prioritise comfort.
  • A digital watch is useful for keeping track of time in the exercises.
  • Remember that you aren’t directly competing with the other candidates- if all of you perform well, you could all get through. Be friendly and collaborative, and don’t get intimidated.
  • Keep your spirits up- every exercise is scored individually. If you feel like you weren’t at your best in one, regroup before the next challenge.
  • Don’t neglect the self-assessment that they’ll ask you to complete after each task. Take time to correctly identify the competencies you demonstrated effectively and which ones you need to develop- it’s important to show your own awareness of your strengths.
  • Enjoy it! It really helps if you pretend that you’re already a civil servant during the exercises. The day is tiring but it can be a lot of fun if you get into it.

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Student story: Hasan, QConsult Commercial

hasanMy name is Hasan Hoque and I’m in my second year of university studying BSc Economics, Finance and Management at Queen Mary. I took part in the autumn round of the QConsult Commercial Programme where I worked as a consultant in a team of five on a live project for a business client. This opportunity is perfect for anyone interested in consultancy or those looking to build upon a variety of transferable professional skills. To apply for the next round of QConsult, click here.

You are initially required to complete an online application form which is a chance for you to showcase your interest in the programme, your skills and past experience. You don’t need to have experience in consulting; as long as you can communicate your passion and skills effectively you’re on track to making a great application!

Next is the assessment centre: the assessors are extremely friendly and want you to perform your best. You’re told how you’ll be assessed and what they’re looking for in successful candidates, so that whether you succeed or not, you’ll have valuable experience which will come in handy when applying to graduate roles. If you aren’t successful you’re encouraged to seek feedback and apply the next round. Once you’ve been accepted onto the programme you’ll be assigned a team and will attend a training session. This is so you are aware what is expected of you as a consultant representing Queen Mary and that you have the knowledge to work effectively to produce the best results for your client. It’s also an opportunity to meet your team members and be introduced to your team’s project.

You then attend your initial client meeting where you have the opportunity to visit the client’s office. You’ll go through the project brief with them and what they expect you to have achieved at the end of the project. My team prepared some ideas and questions beforehand to pose to our client to gain a better understanding of their aims and objectives. I found this extremely helpful as it ensured we were on the right track when we started working. Our client was very specific with their demands so it was essential we cleared any doubts. We then kept constant communication with them, updating them about our progress.

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Student Enterprise Blog: Ammarah Javid

1t7a0222-iloveimg-convertedHistory graduate Ammarah Javid

I took part in 3DS in 2015 and it was such an exciting learning opportunity for me. I learnt so much in the space of a few days and built long lasting relationships with the mentors who were genuinely interested in helping us grow our ideas. Essentially, it gave me the confidence to start a project I am working on now, one and a half years later. Starting a business always seemed so difficult and complicated to me but the incubator session proved that team work and strategy planning were all the ingredients you needed to execute and bring to life your business idea.

Using these skills, my Co-Founder Abdul Shakur and I have planned our first event on the 8th February which has also been sponsored by NatWest, within a few weeks of coming up with the initiative. Our project is called London Diverse Professionals (LDP) and the aim is to tackle the diversity issues in various industries by creating greater interaction between professionals and minorities, women and those from less privileged backgrounds. We hope that we can help students build their networks before entering the workplace as opposed to after beginning their careers.

I have a lot of faith in the underlying objective and I look forward to embarking upon my own journey of challenges. Incubators like 3DS are great because they create so much more than 3 days of activity. They instil confidence, spark interest and ignite potential within students that lead to future lightbulb moments which may well be life changing for themselves, let alone anyone else. 3DS was definitely my wake-up call and I recommend it to anyone that wants to either start their own business, develop their skills, or simply want to unleash their entrepreneurial drive and spirit!

Event Link: