Guest blog: Prepare for your success

Dawn TurnerHello, I’m Dawn, a third year Accounting and Finance student in Chelmsford (and Lord Ashcroft International Business School Senior Intern 2017). It feels strange writing this blog and trying to think back to early last year where I was just about to start the second semester of second year. It still felt like an eternity until having to juggle graduate job applications and trying to ace final exams, only to find that in fact, it was no time at all!

Starting to think about careers and where you want to go after uni is something that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later, and being able to practise the skills for a great interview, in a supportive environment with potential future employers, isn’t an opportunity that you come across every day!Having taken part in a mock interview and assessment centre with the Business School and the Employability Service’s ‘Prepare for Success’ event, I found it to be an invaluable experience. I cannot stress how useful it is to be told what’s great – and more importantly what could do with a bit of tweaking – concerning your interview technique before you’re released into the world of real graduate job interviews.

Business School interns at the O2 in LondonAs well as learning to be a pro interviewee, it helps with identifying what you need to add in to your job interview for it to be the one that employers remember. I have learnt that employers love to hear about what you do around your studies and the soft skills you have developed because of it. For example, being a LAIBS Intern is an example of a great conversation piece at an interview (as well as the whole programme being incredibly good fun). It not only shows that you are prepared to engage yourself in all parts of university life, but also that you have attended training days in networking, effective communications, creative problem solving, among others – and that you’ve climbed over the O2! Imagine how impressed they will be when you proudly tell them that you conquered your fear of heights to get an awesome all-team selfie at the top, and that you worked as a team to make it all the way back down again. It’s all very exciting stuff, if you ask me.

Decorated office desk with 21st brithday bannerAs a result of the support from the employability team and from being part of the LAIBS Intern programme, I was lucky enough to secure an internship with a firm called Scrutton Bland over the summer. The experience was fantastic. I learnt so much while I was there and everyone is genuinely there to help and support you, so never be afraid to ask questions. The people I was working alongside were fantastic and so welcoming – I even had my desk decorated for my 21st birthday! I would definitely recommend looking at doing a placement year or summer internship, as you learn so much: applying what you learn in your studies to the real world, as well as boosting your career prospects.

I cannot say enough how much the support provided and the co-curricular activities has helped throughout uni and will continue to be of use in the future. I have found I am more confident in myself and my abilities. And so I suggest, wherever you get the chance to, attend the career/employability sessions and think what you can do to better yourself (while having a great time doing it too)!

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