Graduate Case Studies
- Deloitte - Gap Year Scholar Program
- A leopard can change its spots (from computing to marketing)
- Getting into PR
- The FatMoose story - how to start your own business
- Orion - To the stars and back. Final year space project
- Graduate Career Stories: 100 graduate employees describe how they ended up in their current roles. Including science writer, magazine editor, journalist, purchasing manager, forensic scientist, educational researcher, archivist, tax adviser, design consultant, operational researcher, brand manager, games programmer and zoo registrar.
During my gap year between school and university I was lucky enough to be offered the opportunity to work for Deloitte for 7 months on their Gap Year Scholar Program. I was placed in the Life section of Deloitte’s Actuarial and Insurance Solutions department and there I followed the same training program as my graduate counterparts before, after approximately two weeks, moving straight onto my first client facing project.
Throughout my 7 months I was involved in a variety of interesting and challenging projects. One of the tasks I enjoyed most was being involved in the preparation and attendance of a briefing session for a possible annuity start-up. This involved collating information about how annuities work, and the annuity market in general, and then presenting this information to the client. For this project I also helped generate some simplified cash flow figures for an annuity using a Life insurance actuarial modeling program called Prophet. Another large project I was involved with was an embedded value review – this is essentially a calculating of an insurance company’s current assets and expected future income streams from policies already sold.
Although there was always an expectation that I ‘got the job done’, I was largely left to organise, prioritise and juggle my responsibilities myself. Furthermore, I found that my managers always took the time to explain concepts and the work to me, even though sometimes they would be working hard and late themselves. This, coupled with regular socials both within my department and with the gap year scholar group, meant that I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Deloitte – the Christmas party in particular was a spectacular event!
Deloitte has a reputation for being one of the top UK firms to work for as a graduate and for treating its employees fairly. I also found that there was loads to get involved with besides your work; some people went on one-off volunteering projects and others worked part-time giving careers advice or tuition in local schools. I personally became involved in Deloitte’s hockey and football teams, and in their Depression Awareness week. The central London offices actually have a distinctly campus type feel with medical facilities, relaxation areas, cafes, restaurants and even a fully functional gym built into the office space!
In addition to graduate careers, industrial placements and internships Deloitte offers a number of other programs to give students an insight into Deloitte. Opportunities include Insight Days and a buddy scheme, details of which can all be found at www.deloitte.co.uk/graduates. In addition Deloitte often hosts open presentations, business games and a number of other workshops which students can find details of at www.deloitte.co.uk/graduates/events
If you are interested in finding out more about the opportunities available at Deloitte then please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I had a fantastic time with Deloitte during my 7 month placement and expect to continue to do so in my future summer placements and, potentially, as a graduate employee. Deloitte has opportunities available in Tax, Audit, Corporate Finance, Actuarial and Consulting so, if you are thinking of a career in finance, management, or technology I strongly recommend that you seriously consider Deloitte.
Getting your foot in the door of job related to your degree is difficult, but getting your toe in the hallway of a career path away from your degree is enormously harder. This is my story of how a leopard can change its spots.
I had graduated from UKC after studying Computers Systems Engineering, and at the time my options ranged from IT developer to Electrical engineer, but mostly staying in the technical side of business. Following graduation, I ended up working as an electrical engineer for Motorola. Although interesting at the start, the repetitive day-to-day tasks kicked in and the challenge became procedure. I managed to last a year before I quit to move on.
Back in Uni, I've found that I had a natural “common sense” when it comes to marketing and advertising and I set my heart on securing a job in the marketing industry. After 6 months of re-inventing myself, and not giving up, I finally managed to get my foot in the door.
I'm now working for a leading ecommmerce website design agency based in London as the Marketing Executive. Waking up on Monday mornings is no longer a struggle. Although I didn't have any formal qualifications to being with, I got in by demonstrating that I was capable of learning quickly in my 6 months out of work. Luckily for me, Digivate has a great culture in investing in people and as a result of talented staff, they now have has a stellar client list from Selfridges to HSS and Paperchase.
Through my experience, I found that if you have the ambition and desire, persistent job hunting will eventually pay off. The additional background knowledge in your degree will give you the advantage to help you secure a dream job in any sector.
Kun Dang, Digivate Ltd
I have finally got a job in PR, you said it could take anything between 6 and 8 months and it took 6 (although, if I'm being honest I have only really been trying since the New Year).
After about 100 applications (speculative, and to advertised jobs and work experience), an agency picked up on me (JFL Recruit www.jflrecruit.com they specialise in PR) and offered to set me up on a work experience placement. I worked unpaid for a week at a PR and Design specialist company and they wanted to keep me on. I turned down the offer because of the commute (I travelled for 5 hours one day because there were trees down on the line). I felt like I was shooting myself in the foot but realised it was impossible really to work such long hours unless/until I moved to London.
After updating my CV after my work experience, however, I applied for a few positions locally via www.reed.co.uk - a job website I highly recommend for people searching for specialist careers in local areas (they advertise thousands of specialist regional jobs), I got three interviews.
I was offered and have accepted the job at a music and entertainment company. They said I was the only person they considered with no or little experience but they liked me and are giving me a good salary and are going to train me on the job and even hire a computer specialist on a temporary basis to set up the company digitally and train me in multimedia. It will be an in-house PR role with some marketing and computing duties and it is just a 20 minute drive away from me. I start next Monday.
BA English and American Literature graduate
The FatMoose story (www.fatmoose.com)
It all began in Woodys Bar at the University of Kent, Canterbury. We would always go there after our 2 hour E-commerce lecture (after that lecture we always needed a drink or two!) One night we decided we didn’t want to work for 50 years in a job we didn’t enjoy and so decided to start our own company based on something we would be passionate about – FOOD!.
We had a lot of ideas, some were OK but weren’t really something we were excited about and others were just really bad. The one that really got us excited was to create an easier way for students (and pretty much anyone else) to find what and where to eat at great prices. Being students ourselves this was something we could really related to and knew that there was definitely a need for such a application. The initial idea had recipes and loads of other functionality which really, when we thought about it later, didn’t make any business sense.
This brings me to advice number 1:
Keep your idea simple – don’t overcomplicate things to early on at the start up stage. Understand the core of your business and how it will be useful to customers. Then build on new concepts that help add value to your core business.
After we had the idea, we became very paranoid that someone would take our idea and do it for themselves if we told them. We wasted time and money on getting people to sign non-disclosure forms, etc. It was only until we started developing the business that I remembered something Jason Porter (the co founder of Friends Reunited) once told me; “A business is 10% idea and 90% implementation”. It’s not the idea alone that will make you successful, it is the processes you implement to produce and deliver your service or product that will really take your business to great hieghts. Think of it this way (and this concept can be applied to pretty much any business) if you had two Indian restaurants next to each other which looked exactly the same, what would make one better than the other is the quality procedures to ensure the food remains fresh, the chefs and amount of spices added to each dish, the customer service, a smiley owner, etc.
A business is 10% Idea 90% Implementation. Concentrate on the processes you have that operate your business, and don’t be scared to give some details about your business to others who can help you.
In Jul 2009 we finally incorporated the company...
Just get on with it – don’t be scared about making mistakes, just know that you will and that each one will be a learning experience, even if you learn just not to waste your time doing things a certain way.
In Dec 09 we finally launched a version of www.fatmoose.com we were happy with. At the moment we are concentrating on promoting our business and getting the word out there. When looking at advertising or any sort of investment always think in terms of ‘Return on Investment’. If you spent £100 on advertising and it only got 10 users onto the site effectively it cost you £10 per user (quite expensive). Word of mouth, viral, buzz is something I would recommend, requires more thought than conventional methods but can provide a higher return on investment.
A few final tips...