Getting to Know Us: James

First question, can you tell the reader who you are?

James Weaver, Employer Engagement Manager

And what departments/students do you specifically help?

I work across QMUL and act as a central point for businesses that want to meet with our students and graduates. I oversee the events programme, and work placement schemes run by Careers & Enterprise. I also get involved with our Enterprise work when there is a need.

How do you do this? What do you spend most of your time doing?

As well as managing the Employer Engagement Team my time is spent discussing recruitment strategies with businesses and working out the best way for them to meet with you. I also spend a lot of time researching the labour market and economic trends and looking at where we should be targeting our conversations.

What’s the hardest thing about your job?

I think the sheer range and volume of businesses I talk to is the hardest thing. I have to understand the basics of almost every business sector in order to work out the best strategy for marketing opportunities to QMUL students, and also follow up as appropriate.  For example in the week I wrote these answers I’ve spoken with organisations as diverse as Accenture, Bishop Challoner School, BP, Colas Rail, Colchester Zoo, Goldman Sachs, Deliveroo, Reuters, TreePress,Ticket Master and Teach First.

What do you enjoy the most?

I really like ‘new things’ and I’m naturally nosy so meeting a new organisation and finding out about their business is probably my favourite thing. I also love visiting interesting office spaces as I am quite into how space is used.

What are you most proud of? What is your biggest success to date?

I’ve been here since 2010 and during that time I’ve seen QMUL’s general profile grow and subsequently our reputation has grown with employers of all different types. When I started out it was as a team of one and we now how have ten people working in my team within Careers & Enterprise delivering events and the QRecruit Services. It means we can now support every business that approaches us in a more bespoke way, and put more opportunities in front of our students and graduates.

What is the most common question you get asked by students?

I confess I rarely speak to students directly about their careers, but one of questions I see from students about our events is how they should prepare. My tip from an employer’s viewpoint is that they get asked the same questions over and over again – and the answers can almost always be found on the company website. We publish the name of the organisations attending our events well in advance. Take 10-15 minutes reading the latest news articles about the organisation and think about a question that shows you’ve thought about what the company does. Also if a recruiter gives you a business card it is because they want to hear from you! If you are worried about following up then pop into Careers & Enterprise and one of the Information or Careers Consultant team can give you some tips.

And finally, tells us one thing we wouldn’t know about you.

Outside of QMUL I am musician and if you listen to late night 6Music or Radio 1 you might have heard me playing. I am also an ok photographer and have had some images published in fashion and music magazines as well as on the Guardian website.

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Getting to Know Us: Kirsti

First question, can you tell the reader who you are? So name, job title etc.

Kirsti Burton, Careers Information Manager.

And what departments/students do you specifically help?

All departments and any student, which means the topics I work on can be really broad. One minute it could be film studies, the next engineering – and everything inbetween. It keeps me on my toes!

How do you do this? What do you spend most of your time doing?

Research and writing.Kirsti

What’s the hardest thing about your job?

Because information is so vast and fast, you can never finish researching (which in a way is also one of the best things about information work). There is also a lot of really bad information out there.

What do you enjoy the most?

The ‘detective work’ around researching a particular topic. That and the variety of what I do.

What are you most proud of? What is your biggest success to date?

Probably two things – one is the information space and our leaflets in the Careers & Enterprise Centre. They get a lot of positive comments from visitors, including staff from other universities, which is really nice to hear. It’s changed a lot over the past few years I’m pleased to say.

The other is the first time I held the printed version of the Careers Magazine that I edit in my hand. It was nice to see all my hard work in glossy paper form! It won an award too, so it wasn’t just me who liked it!

What is the most common question you get asked by students?

Depends on the time of year. In February it’s all about assessment centres, in April it’s about working abroad and July it’s about career choice. The patterns stays the same year after year…

And finally, tells us one thing we wouldn’t know about you.

The first time I came to Mile End, I was 15 and went to a Blur concert at Mile End Stadium!

Getting to Know Us: Sonia

First question, can you tell the reader who you are? So name, job title etc.

My name is Sonia Chumber and I’m the Internships Coordinator for the School of Business and Management

And what departments/students do you specifically help?

I specifically work with students in the School of Business and Management

How do you do this? What do you spend most of your time doing?

I source internship opportunities for business students and am the point of contact for any issue/query regarding internships. I also co-manage the QConsult programme which is a consultancy experience programme. I spend a lot of time talking to employers and building relationships so they will recruit QM students. I also spend a lot of time with students advising them on opportunities and the best place to look for internships. I manage the whole recruitment process for internships; so advertising roles, collating CV’s and ensuring they are of a good standard before sending to employers. I arrange the interviews and when needed help prepare students for interviews.

What’s the hardest thing about your job?

The hardest part of my job is getting students to apply for roles. Many students are busy with their studies (rightly so!) but they also need to take some time out to apply for opportunities that will benefit them greatly once they graduate. I get many students contact me after the exam period looking for summer internships, but most employers will recruit before the summer period. Some employers recruit as early as October the previous year.

QMUL_Careers_Drapers_156

What do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy all aspects of my job but the best part is meeting students and talking about their experiences. I enjoy student contact and learning about their aspirations and achievements.

What are you most proud of? What is your biggest success to date?

I’m proud every time a student secures an internship or gradate job. I have a couple of great successes, these are normally when a students has completed an internship and then gets offered a permanent position within the company.

What is the most common question you get asked by students?

Where can I find internship opportunities? There are a number of websites that list opportunities and most of these can be found on the careers website.

And finally, tells us one thing we wouldn’t know about you.

I love love love sweet potatoes.

Getting to Know Us: Rachel Brown

First question, can you tell the reader who you are? So name, job title etc.

Rachel Brown, Enterprise Programme Manager.

Brown

And what departments/students do you specifically help?

I manage extra-curricular student enterprise activity, so I support entrepreneurial students from every school in the college, at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

How do you do this? What do you spend most of your time doing?

Through a range of methods. I run 1-1 enterprise appointments every Friday, where students can come to see me to talk about any enterprise issue they might have. The appointments are quite varied, but typical reasons students come to see me is if they have an idea they’d like to develop and get feedback on, a problem they’ve got in their existing business that they’d like help with, or to talk about options for QMUL endorsement of the Tier 1 graduate entrepreneur visa if they’re international students who’d like to set up a business in the UK after they graduate.

A large part of my role is managing our ‘Try It’ and ‘Grow It’ awards, which offer seed funding of up to £500 to students who want to test an idea, and £5000 to students who want to grow an existing business. We currently have four deadlines a year, and I manage the promotion of these and the selection process.

I also spend a lot of time planning and delivering events and training programmes that run throughout the year to support student entrepreneurs – these include one-off sessions on topics such as how to write a business plan or run a crowdfunding campaign, and I also co-run a new 8-week incubator programme, inQUBEate, that provides mentoring and training for our enterprise award winners.

What’s the hardest thing about your job?

It’s incredibly varied and I find myself working with students who are starting businesses in a huge range of industries – I might be dealing with medical devices one minute, and chocolatiers the next. I have to learn about a lot of new industries to keep up!

What do you enjoy the most?

The creativity and innovation I’m surrounded by every day – I love talking to students about the new ideas they have, and it’s exciting to see the talent we have at Queen Mary.

What are you most proud of? What is your biggest success to date?

My role was new when I started, so I had a lot of scope to make the job my own. I’m pleased by the growth in the numbers of students engaging in enterprise since I started the role, and also by the quality of their business ideas. We’re starting to see a number of our students either winning or reaching the finals of national competitions, such as UnLtd’s Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year, NACUE’s Young Male Leader of the Year, and Santander’s 60 Second Pitch and Business Plan competitions.

What is the most common question you get asked by students?

I’ve got an idea for a business but have no idea what to do next – can you help?

And finally, tell us one thing we wouldn’t know about you.

I’ve had a variety of jobs in the past – the strangest was probably selling helium balloons on Blackpool Pleasure Beach. More exotically, I’ve also worked in Italy, France and the Caribbean.

Getting to Know Us: Abi

First question, can you tell the reader who you are? So name, job title etc.

Abi Sharma, Deputy Head of Careers & Enterprise

And what departments/students do you specifically help?

I’m the Careers Consultant for the Schools of Business & Management, Geography, English and Drama and Languages, Linguistics and Film.  I also look after our work with international students.

How do you do this? What do you spend most of your time doing?

My time is split in lots of different ways: line management; project management for C&E strategic projects; responding to student emails; planning, prepping and delivering workshops; creating and delivering innovative student events; delivering 1-2-1s for students; writing QMPlus content and weekly careers news announcements for students; reporting to stakeholders and maintaining external and internal relationships.

What’s the hardest thing about your job?Abi

Juggling all the different things that I do!

What do you enjoy the most?

When I hear from a student that with my help they’ve landed an internship or a job.

What are you most proud of? What is your biggest success to date?

There isn’t any one thing I’d call my biggest success. I feel a sense of achievement every time I feel I’ve innovated a new project, or piece of careers education which I can see helps students!

What is the most common question you get asked by students?

How can I stand out to an employer?

And finally, tells us one thing we wouldn’t know about you.

I’m a big tennis fan and I was a ball girl for Queen’s Club tennis tournament when I was a teenager. I had the privilege for being baseline ball girl for Boris Becker, Tim Henman & Todd Martin amongst others!

Getting to Know Us: Tracy

First question, can you tell the reader who you are? So name, job title etc.

Dr. Tracy Bussoli. Senior Careers Consultant with responsibility for QMUL PhD and Tracy Head Shot QMBlogPostdoctoral Researchers.

And what departments/students do you specifically help?

I work with PhD Students and Postdoctoral Researchers from all three faculties at Queen Mary i.e. Humanities and Social Science, School of Medicine and Dentistry and Science and Engineering.

How do you do this? What do you spend most of your time doing?

I see people in one-to-one appointments, deliver workshops, run events, support researchers in finding broad work experience (e.g. internships) and host a Twitter feed (@QMResearchers).

What’s the hardest thing about your job?

Supporting researchers that can’t pursue the academic career path they had envisaged because the academic job market is currently so competitive and/or not what they expected.

What do you enjoy the most?

Supporting researchers in exploring and securing work in a wide range of areas where all their strengths and talents can be utilised i.e. showing them that research training and other character traits developed through a PhD are much sort after by employers.

What are you most proud of? What is your biggest success to date?

Receiving numerous emails from QMUL PhDs/Postdocs when they nail their interview and secure their first post after their PhD.

What is the most common question you get asked by students?

What else can I do, if I don’t pursue an academic career?

And finally, tells us one thing we wouldn’t know about you.

Not only do I have three degrees (BSc, MSc and PhD), I have a diploma in makeup art. Oh, and I can tap dance!! Sorry is that too many?

Getting to Know Us: Jeff

First question, can you tell the reader who you are? So name, job title etc.

My name’s Riley, Jeff Riley, Careers Consultant.

And what departments/students do you specifically help?

I work with the Schools of Mathematics, History and Politics & International Relations. However, because of the way the Careers Service is designed I also contribute on a pan-London basis to careers work in International Development and the City and Finance areas.

How do you do this? What do you spend most of your time doing?

Most of my time is divided between work for my departments and more general work for Queen Mary Careers & Enterprise.  A lot of this would be interviewing students either in the Careers Centre or, for my departments in the Library (we just don’t have enough interviewing rooms in the Careers Centre).  Alongside interviewing I research my sectors – right now I’m doing a lot of research around options for History students – and organising careers events. These take a lot of time enrolling and briefing speakers.

Jeff pic

What’s the hardest thing about your job?

I’ve been doing this job for a while so whatever most student’s ask me about I’ve got some starting points for them. However, I still come across students studying subjects that are very specialised and I’ve no immediate answers to their questions.  Now, I think any student should be able to come to a consultant and get an answer to the question, ‘what can I do with my degree?’  They don’t want to hear a vague response about the value of a degree in general but quite specific material about their discipline but it’s pretty impossible for me to have that at my fingertips. So that can be bit of a struggle.

What do you enjoy the most?

The Careers Consultant job is really varied and it is a great job. If I had to nominate one thing though it is the fact that I can have conversations that really open up possibilities for students. Occasionally you feel you have had conversations that are part of a turning point.

What are you most proud of? What is your biggest success to date?

In my career as a whole probably creating a reputation for the Careers Service  in the area of International Development. More recently I’ve been at Queen Mary for nearly three years and I think while I have been here I have worked with my Schools – and with student societies – to create some high profile events. This year we ran ambitious  ‘Mathematics Impacts’ and ‘History Impacts’ events which really raised the Careers profile significantly

What is the most common question you get asked by students?

What can I do?

And finally, tells us one thing we wouldn’t know about you.

I always think how interesting this answer would be if it was anonymous!  As it isn’t then I can tell you that I’ve lived in the same flat in Clapham for 23 years. I helped build it and 25 other homes along with a small group of friends who formed a housing Cooperative.