This section is all about finding a graduate scheme. A graduate scheme is usually an entry level (for professional firms) or middle management career scheme that involves professional training and a fast track into a corporate career, so usually a great start to graduate life. This may involve rotations in different fields and sponsored studies. Finding a job at the end is arguably one of the most important things to do while at university. Yet strangely it is also an often neglected topic for students. This is likely because other more pressing and short term issues come forward, such as housing, academic studies and your social scene. Because courses tend to be 3 or 4 years long, it is tempting to also put it off till the end. A lot of online advice forums as well as from supportive school teachers suggest that one should study for its own ‘enjoyments’ sake or choose subject areas that you are passionate about. That logic is sound but this chapter will explore some of the flaws in that advice.
Students who study vocational degrees, such as Medicine, Dentistry and Engineering appear to be more focused. This is not surprising as students tend to have an idea on where they want to go, and the topics learned may have a direct application for their jobs, or perhaps they may be sponsored by an employer. It also at the very least if they do not embark in those career areas, stimulating the student to seriously consider their future options. Students who study purely academic careers without industrial placements, I am thinking of English, Theology, History etc. may leave it too late and often ponder what to do as a career after they graduate. In the current economic climate, students cannot afford to miss out on the opportunity while studying. Despite the current pessimistic views on the global economy, according to Martin Birchall of High Fliers Research , there has been an increase in graduate jobs by 4.6 % in 2012. It is up to you to prepare adequately and seize that advantage. Alternative options after graduate include self-employment, like creating your own business or going into a non-graduate role. For the former, this is not a bad choice but graduates often gain more with some work experience in a big firm, or at least a networking base. Creating a business from scratch is tough, so never underestimate the hard work required or the need to have starting capital. If you could have an experienced businessman as a non-executive or a mentor, that would be ideal. As I am interested in graduate schemes, I will focus on those.
This section will try and bring to bear some of my experience in applications to help you capture your dream job. I keep a detailed record of all my notes when preparing for interviews and assessment centres and I see patterns. I have also attended many workshops to excel in getting graduate jobs, including Clifford Chance, Trevor Smith, the FSA, Treasury, Bank of England, Standard Chartered, Unilever, Proctor and Gamble, KPMG, SIFE (Student in Free Enterprise), Durham Career Services and Lloyds Banking Group.