Student story: My first assessment centre group exercise practice

Nadim1Nadim Ahmed, second year BSc Accounting and Management student, recently attended the Grant Thornton group exercise practice. He tells us more about his experience below…

What happened?

We were given an assignment brief which outlined the objectives of the project and the main questions we were required to answer; this was supplemented with theoretical data. Then we were given 30 minutes to discuss the case study together and prepare a short five-minute presentation and discuss our answers with colleagues from Grant Thornton.

How useful was the experience you had?

We were all given one-to-one feedback, and I believe this was very important and has highlighted attributes and skills which I demonstrate clearly and also highlighted areas where I could potentially improve. Overall feedback was very positive and has boosted my self-confidence.

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Graduate story: Sara’s Civil Service success

SaraHello everyone, my name is Sara! I graduated this summer from Queen Mary with a BSc Economics and Politics and I am now studying MSc Development Economics at another university.

During my last year of my undergraduate degree, I applied for the Civil Service Fast Stream and I received an offer for a place on the Government Economic Service (GES) scheme. However, I decided to defer my entry until next year in order to complete my Master’s first. For me, there were two main reasons behind the decision to do a Master’s.

Firstly, I wanted to specialise in a particular field of economics. During my undergraduate degree, I took Development Economics as an optional module and I found it really interesting, so I wanted a chance to study it more in-depth. Secondly, I’d like to pursue a career in International Development, which is quite a competitive field. Looking at different job opportunities both inside the Civil Service (e.g. Department for International Development) and outside in other organisations like NGOs or international organisations, I realised that most required Master’s level qualifications.

When I applied for the Fast Stream, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. At the time, I was applying for Master’s courses as well and that was my main priority. I applied for the Fast Stream mostly as a backup option and to practise in view of applying to graduate schemes this year while I was doing my Master’s. I did not expect to get so far on the application process, but I was very lucky to have the opportunity of deferring my place to complete my Master’s and I’m very happy now to have everything sorted out for when I finish university!

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Graduate story: SBCS to QTemps success

35127929411_040c522062_zHi! I’m Piriyah and I graduated this year from Queen Mary with a biomedical sciences degree and am currently working in a temporary role as a Data Administrator. At the time of graduation I had decided that I wanted to follow the traditional path of a life sciences graduate and pursue a career in research. Now you may be wondering why I decided to apply for this role….

It was during my final year, that I came to realise that my ideal job would be one in which I could spend the entire day working in the lab. This is because I thoroughly enjoyed carrying out a lab-based research project for my final year dissertation, which unlike most students, I would say was one of the highlights of my 3 years at uni.

Not only was I able to work alongside researchers, who are experts in their fields, but I was also able to get a full experience of all the components that comprise research in academia. Although the project was challenging, I had really enjoyed my time working in the lab, to the extent that I made the decision to pursue a career in research!

By the time that graduation arrived I had an idea of what sort of job I wanted but I hadn’t planned on how I was going to enter into the field of scientific research. My immediate options were to apply for further study, to look for entry-level laboratory based roles or training placements such as in hospitals.

However, these options weren’t straightforward. With applying for a masters, I couldn’t decide on which field of science that I would like to specialise in. I wanted to make sure that the masters I applied for would feed into the sort of subject that I would be interested in possibly carrying out further research in.

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Student story: My Summer Internship at Legance

maria bMy name is Maria Luisa and I am going into my third year in Politics and Business Management at Queen Mary. This summer I had the chance to spend two months interning at Legance, an independent Italian law firm with offices in Rome, Milan and London. I was lucky enough to be based in the office in Rome which is also my home city!

At first, I was a bit intimidated about working in a fast paced environment and in the corporate world but, after the first week, I managed to adapt easily thanks to the supportive environment that I found. Since day one, I have been assigned very stimulating tasks and have been involved in a great variety of activities of the firm which is the thing that I liked the most about my internship. In particular, I primarily dealt with doing research, helping write reports and interviews, translating documents from Italian into English, working with the Corporate Social Responsibility Sector, attending meetings and reporting back to the office.

If I have to describe my internship in 3 words I will definitely choose: challenging, as I had to come across to new topics that for me were unknown, engaging because since the beginning I felt very welcomed by all my colleagues and constructive, as I enriched my knowledge and improved my skills.

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Student blog: Spring Week Success

Yesterday we heard from Arjun, who has just finished his 1st year studying Business Management. He shared his advice about the importance of Spring Weeks – read on for part 2 and his thoughts on what to do before applications open…

IMG_7310What should I be doing in the meantime?

Find what you’re interested in – are you interested in the fast-paced markets? Looking for an advisory or client facing role? Keen to work with numbers? Most firms will provide good insight into their respective business areas on their dedicated careers page – so I recommend checking it out and exploring the potential opportunities available to you.

Brush up on your CV – I cannot stress enough how much a clear and concise CV will be the make or break of recruiters taking you further in the process. On average, recruiters spend only a couple of seconds skimming a CV to know if they are interested in a candidate. So to ensure you make it through that stage, you must:

  • Ensure any past work experience and volunteering focuses on what you have contributed and/or achieved in a short bullet point or two per role
  • Make sure each job states the organisation, location, date and your job title
  • Make sure your formatting, layout and grammar is consistent and clear
  • Remove unnecessary details like gender, photo date of birth or personal ID numbers (oh – and that embarrassing and totally unprofessional email address you made when you were 13? Yes, get rid of it and replace it with a professional one!)

For business and finance, your CV should be no longer than 1 page – recruiters do not like long CVs, so play around with the margins, summarise your secondary school grades and remove things that add little value. Show your CV to a close friend, family member for their comments or why not book an appointment at the Careers & Enterprise Centre? I would thoroughly recommend it! I got advice and tips on my CV that helped highlight inconsistencies and improve my general layout.

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Student blog: The importance of Spring Weeks

Calling all First Year students: Let’s talk about the importance of Spring Weeks…

Arjun Jethwa - PhotoArjun Jethwa, 2nd year Business Management

If you’re interested in a career within Investment Banking, Asset Management, Accounting or Consultancy – this excellent springboard will give you the competitive edge when it comes to getting fast tracked into some of most prestigious internships in the city. I went through the process last year and gained a Spring Week and I thoroughly recommend you do the same!  Here’s some short tips and information I would recommend for fellow incoming first years…

What are they?

Some may already know about them, most probably do not, but every April a few hundred curious, ambitious and well-driven first year students enter some of the prestigious European and American banking institutions in the city, and leave having secured summer internships that will get them ahead of the competition and closer to their dream job once graduating.  Ranging from a week to a couple of days, many banking institutions provide students with the opportunity to experience what it is like to work for their firm through work shadowing, practical work and networking opportunities to some of the most senior individuals and graduates who were only just recently in your same position – they are hugely beneficial for anyone interested in this profession and makes your CV really stand out, especially when opportunities for first years are so limited.

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Student story: My QConsult experience (applications open now!)

Thinking about autumn term already? Don’t forget that QConsult starts again in September and applications are open NOW. 


Carola (2nd from left) & her QConsult team

Carola Bigogno (2nd Year Biomedical Sciences student) took part in the spring round of QConsult, working on a project for a local housing charity. Here’s what she had to say about her experience on the programme:

Why did you get involved with QConsult?

When I found out about QConsult I was thrilled. I thought it would be a great chance to improve my skills and gain new transferable ones, to learn more about a particular job profile – consultant, which I found extremely interesting, and also give back to the community in a different, but still valuable way.  And I was definitely not wrong, the overall experience was incredible!

Did you enjoy the programme?

The best part, for me, was working together in a team: putting together ideas and opinions and using our skills to present to our client and write up the best report possible. I think that I’ve always worked pretty well in a team, however, working with other people can be extremely challenging. Luckily enough, everyone in my group was very professional. We also became friends, sharing not only the experiences of the programme but socialising together too.

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