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. 

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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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WATCH: Isabel’s QConsult Story (& apply for the autumn round)

Looking to get some work experience on your CV?

Want to do more than photocopy and make the tea?

Why not apply to the autumn round of QConsult?

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The QConsult programme involves students working in a team of 5 to conduct a research/consultancy project on behalf of a business or charity, helping to solve a real problem and working as a team to conduct research and analysis before presenting their recommendations to the client. Past projects have involved research, marketing, product development and evaluation.

To hear more about what it’s like to be on the programme, see previous QConsultant Isabel’s video below, where she tells us about her experience and gives her top tips for those thinking of applying. Read on for more details about the programme …

The programme will take place over 9 weeks in the autumn term, from 18 Sep – 17 Nov. Students work part-time and are paid London Living Wage (£9.75/hr) for 20 hours of project work, with additional training sessions on top. All undergraduate students are eligible to apply for the programme and we welcome applications from all schools.

We will also be releasing two video diaries from students who just finished the summer QConsult programme. Follow us on Twitter (@qmcareers) to catch diary updates throughout August.

To find out more about the programme and apply visit careers.qmul.ac.uk/qconsult.

Applications close at 9am on Tuesday 29th August.

Thinking of taking a gap year after graduating?

pexels-photo-346885Taking a “gap year” either for self-fulfilment or career development can reap rewards. In a recent survey, 37% of employers believe it increases people skills, and 35% agreed a year out helps people adapt quickly to new situations.

To make the most of it, make your time out count:

Why take a year out?

Going abroad provides a chance to broaden your horizons, discover new cultures, and is a great way to network and make new friends. Picking up a language and teaching English are also motivators for some. Remember, taking a year out is not just about travelling – you may want to stay in the UK to pursue your passion for music for example, or volunteer for a while.

What about my career?

Activities undertaken on a year out can boost skills sought by employers, and can give you space to work out what you would like to do in the longer term.

If you’re undecided on what you want to do next, make sure you do some thinking before you go (or come and speak to one of our Careers Consultants!). A gap year is a great opportunity to pick up some work experience in an area that interests you.

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The value of volunteering

There are many reasons to volunteer, like wanting to help others, keeping up a hobby, making use of spare time, meeting new people etc. Often people forget that volunteering can also be an important step to getting that desired job or place on a postgraduate course.

Volunteering can give you structured opportunities to establish, improve or maximise general workplace skills like time management, communication or more specific skills that an industry demands – see Prospects’ Job Sector information to identify some of these. Volunteering can introduce a range of scenarios that you could use as examples to help answer competency questions for job applications and is a great addition to your CV, showing an employer that you have gained valuable work experience and taken the initiative to get involved in different things outside of your studies.

Work experience through volunteering can be vital to being accepted on a postgraduate course especially if the degree is more vocational or it’s a change in career direction.  For example it is likely that an IT graduate wanting to do an Masters in Social Work would need to build up practical experience of working with vulnerable people. Volunteering can also be an information-gathering exercise to know more about the area you are hoping to study as a postgraduate.

Remember that there are some practicalities to consider before you start volunteering like commitment, location, financial support and application processes. There are many different ways to volunteer – for example, being a member of a society committee, being a course rep or helping out at your local community centre.  Here is a brief list of places to look for volunteering opportunities to start you off:

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Making the most of summer

blog-picWith exams now over, it’s time to start making plans for the summer. Read on for advice from Careers Consultant Andrea on how to make the most of the next few months …

  • Think carefully before applying for advertised work experience positions so you identify the best opportunities e.g. what’s your main motivator for getting work experience?

– Experience in a particular sector?
– A chance to develop a new skill?
– Getting an ‘in’ with a particular company?
– Money?
– Broadening your network?

  • If you know a specific small company you’d like to work with then think about a problem that they need solving and then think of a piece of work you could do for them which would help solve that problem and add value (e.g. competitor analysis, a specific social media marketing campaign, running an event). Approach them on LinkedIn and ask if you can meet for a coffee for 15 minutes to discuss your idea.

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Student blog: My experience working for a start-up

kamrulKamrul Alom is a 2nd year Politics student, who shares his experience working for both a corporate and start-up below. Kamrul also featured in March’s Student Stories Week.

Most students specifically apply for internships at big names. We tend to apply for the likes of JP Morgan, P&G, Google and others. However, it is easy to forget or neglect the world of start-ups: a very different world to the big corporate employers that many of us will one day join. It is a very different but great alternative.

I currently work for a start-up called Plum Fintech, as an Operations and User Happiness Intern, which marks a great difference to my previous internship at Morgan Stanley. I have also gained work experience in several different organisations, both in the charity sector and private sector, developing vital experience and skills.

plumPlum is a personal savings butlers, and it all happens whilst speaking to Plum on Facebook Messenger. My role involves supporting and ensuring that new users are correctly set up onto Plum, and if not, I am tasked to solve and diagnose the error – i.e taking it up with stakeholders or messaging users. I also make sure that the company links correctly to users’ bank accounts (securely and safely of course) to analyse potential savings, using a very smart algorithm. It automatically makes these savings for you. The application allows you to get on with your life, as Plum makes very intelligent savings for you.

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Careers & Enterprise: Who we are

Whether you need help finding a part-time job, writing a CV or cover letter, or preparing for a graduate scheme, we can help.

Where are we?

queensThe Careers & Enterprise Centre is based in the Queens’ building (pic on left) on the Mile End campus, which is number 19 on this campus map.

We’re in room WG3, on the ground floor, near the Octagon and the Student Enquiry Office . From the main entrance, head down the corridor on the left-hand side and follow the signs.

What can we do for you?

We help QMUL students and recent graduates (up to 2 years after you graduate) with anything careers-related, from writing a CV to exploring your options after graduation. A career might seem a long way off if you’ve only just finished your first year, but whatever stage you’re at on your QMUL journey, come and see us! Even if you’ve never even thought about life after university, we’re here to help you …

Appointments with Careers Consultants

We offer 20 minute 1-2-1 appointments with a Careers Consultant, and these appointments can cover any careers query, including: CV & application feedback, finding and applying for jobs, or deciding what to do after graduation.

Job hunting

Whether you’re looking for part-time work or a full-time role after graduation, take a look at our jobs board, Job Online: www.careers.qmul.ac.uk/jobs. This is updated regularly and

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