Posts Tagged ‘careers’

Delving Deeper Into Yourself

I reckon most of us have probably heard of the Myers-Briggs Indicator Type test. Well if you haven’t, you can check your ‘personality’ at According to this test, I am an ENFJ-T. However, I won’t elaborate too much about this –  there’s something else interesting about your personality.




Do you know that every individual also has a risk personality? Psychological Consultancy Ltd created an assessment to evaluate one’s risk personality. These personalities are shown in the Risk Type Compass® below.



Unfortunately, we would be unable to take the assessment as these are mainly created for businesses. This assessment has particular relevance to the banking and finance, insurance, energy, manufacturing and consulting sectors. Why do I have to say all these? Because as maths students, many of us are attracted to those industries.


Especially in the sectors mentioned above, an effective management of risk within the industry is vital to its growth. A study done by researchers over a 19-year period on over 1000 senior bankers from more than 150 were carried out. The study measures the riskiness of strategies of these bankers. It found that personalities were the integral factor in risk-taking.


Most organisational failures are typically caused by taking too much risk or taking insufficient risk, e.g. a group of predominantly risk-takers tend to amplify risk-taking, and a group with a great number of risk-averse members are less likely to take them. Hence, we need a more diverse range of personalities to balance this out to achieve an effective risk management! Of course, there are other factors that would make this work, such as establishing working relationships and concise communication with your colleagues in the firm. Other than winter, a number of us are in the season of applying for internships. Perhaps, if you are confident of your risk type or personality, could this probably be a point to mention to employers? (ehem, maybe.)


It is good for us to know ourselves deeper. Not just our risk personalities, but who we really are. More fully understanding yourself is a catalyst to personal growth – in studies, applying for jobs, decision-making and many more. Most significantly, always be genuine to yourself – no one is better than you at being you!



Vacation Scheme Savoir Vivre

*Cue in my previous post* So, now that you have successfully applied for a vacation scheme, it’s time for the tips on how to survive it, and walk out triumphantly with a training contract offer behind your belt.


– Don’t be afraid to ask questions! There is only so many things you can be expected to do on a vac scheme, work wise. No one will expect you to take on very difficult tasks. However there will be times, when one of the partners or senior associates asked you to help them with something out of your zone of competence. What to do then? On no condition should you go and try to do the task sloppily. If you don’t understand, ask! They are there to help! And of course, they are a busy lot, but they will always have a few seconds to explain the task. In the end, it is more effective to spend 3 minutes explaining than 3 hours redoing a wrongly executed task, isn’t it?
– Socialise! A vacation scheme is not only a valuable work experience, but also a chance for you to meet some incredible people. The graduate recruitment team will probably set up some events for you to get to know your fellow vac schemers, your supervisors and maybe even if you’re lucky some of the partners. Take as much out of these events as you can. Enjoy yourself while making useful contacts. Make sure to get to know your supervisors, after all, their opinion is probably the most important when it comes to your evaluation. Have a little chat, share a drink, show them who you are outside of the office. This will help them determine whether your personality will suit the firm, and whether you would be a good addition to the team.
– Make a good impression! The second you walk into that office, there is only so many things you can do right, and remember, the first impression is most important. All of the smallest things matter! Make sure you’re dressed smartly. Don’t underestimate the power of being dressed to impress. Clean cuffs, polished shoes or appropriate accessories are among the must do’s! Nothing looks worse than a sloppy suit or an unironed shirt. But clothes is not all. Remember to also wear a big smile! It will make you look friendly, and break the ice. An honest and wide smile can work wonders.

The Royal Courts of Justice, the Strand, London

Now you’re packaged with a few of my tips it’s time for you to go and put them to use. Now off you go! Make Queen Mary University proud!

My penultimate year at QMUL Geography

From volunteering in North London to travelling in a helicopter in New Zealand, my penultimate year at Queen Mary has been exceptionally busy but nonetheless another great and exciting year.

I’ve travelled to the other side of the world, become the President of a volunteer group, achieved a Silver Green Impact Award, undertaken environmental audit training and even presented my dissertation project to prospective students. Just when I think there are no more things to be involved in, another springs up and at the end of my second year with the ‘what will I do next?’ question looming, this year has definitely provided me with countless options.

In March I travelled to New Zealand for a 10-day field trip around the South Island. The scenery was breathtaking and it was definitely a trip of a lifetime! We got to take a helicopter ride up to the Franz Josef Glacier which we walked across. We went on many walks through valleys, exploring the processes that shaped them and discussed how they might look in the future, which affirmed the knowledge we’d gained from lectures leading up to the trip. Skills developed on fieldtrips like this such as filling out field notebooks and documenting results outside of the lab have definitely prepared me for my dissertation.


Tasman Proglacial Lake, New Zealand


The obligatory task of measuring rocks for clast shape analysis (a must for any Geography student)

Since my first year I have been involved in the QMUL Canal Clean Up Volunteer group who are affiliated with Thames 21 who kindly provide equipment, training and most importantly extra pairs of hands on events! From simply volunteering at an event on campus got to know more about Thames 21, the work they do and the opportunities of leadership training. By undertaking the training, I am now the President of the group as well as an Event Support Team Member for Thames 21 outside of university. I recently helped lead an event in Edmonton, North London, where a buried river is being resurfaced to create a wetland. I’ve developed my team work skills, organisation capabilities and learnt to work to a schedule as on events you can be working with 20 or so people. These skills are going to be transferable into the workplace but primarily I really enjoy helping out and using what I learn at university to teach others the science and reasoning behind such projects like the one in Edmonton.

clean up

All the volunteers getting ready for a canal clean up!

green impact

The 2015 Green Impact Awards

In my first year, I also got involved with Green Impact which aims to make the university more sustainable and environmentally aware. Having achieved Bronze last year, my team has completed the Silver Award. Again, being organised, able to achieve on a deadline as well as working and communicating with a team are all skills I’ve gained from the experience here at QMUL, but still it’s being able to put what you study and understand into practice while working with like-minded people that I enjoy most about Green Impact. Through being a Green Impact Project Assistant, I was able to undertake an IEMA approved audit training. It was an insightful day where I got to see what other Green Impact Teams were doing as well as developing experience and skills that will set me in good stead after I graduate.

Now…to get ready for my final year… 🙂

What can you do with your Economics or Finance Degree?

Many students studying Economics or Finance related degrees feel investment banking is their ONLY option. And just because they have a finance degree they have to go on to become a banker in a huge financial firm. Yes, it’s true that many economics graduates do go on to become investment bankers and financial analysts at bulge bracket banks. But, this isn’t all you can do with your degree.


An Economics or Finance degree can open several career paths for you. Lately, the job market has become increasingly competitive and most graduates come out of university with a 2:1 or higher. Economics and Finance graduates face intense competition when applying for work at bulge bracket banks, this made the recent graduates think out of the box to the kinds of jobs they could do. Economics graduates have started to enter the professional services industry, media, academia, civil service and government.


Economics & Finance students

Economics & Finance students


Professional service firms such as Deloitte, Pwc, KPGM and EY are known for recruiting majority of economics and finance graduates. So if you want to enter the world of finance, but not particularly as a trader or banker then the professional services could be perfect for you. They specialise in things like consulting, audit, tax, financial advisory, property advisory, risk and technology. So they really offer it all, and link your work to the business world.


London Bridge "Home to professional services"

London Bridge “Home to professional services”

Working for the civil service or the government is another great alternative. Economics graduates come out with detailed knowledge on fiscal and monetary policy and government policies, which they could apply in the real world working as an economist for the government. As glamorous as the private sector might sound, the public sector can offer a lot too. Working as an economist, you get the chance to work with the Bank of England and help make decisions that will shape the future of Britain.


Near the Bank of England

Near the Bank of England

Academia is another popular choice for many. If you like the theory of your subject and like talking and communicating the world of academia could be for you. You can pursue further study in your area of interest within economics, maybe a master’s degree or PhD. This will help you specialize in a field of study, and you could go ahead and become a lecturer or researcher. This is a pathway that is rare and easily disregarded by students, but it is a very rewarding career. Who knows you could be the next great economist to publish an amazing theory!

Academia could be your thing!

If you love to inspire, Academia could be your thing!


The media industry is becoming increasingly popular, not just for marketing and media students. I’m sure you must have watched Bloomberg news once as a student; well you can work for Bloomberg. Companies like Bloomberg, The Economist and Financial Times like recruiting economics and finance graduates as TV newsreaders, journalists and writers because these graduates have in-depth knowledge on business and economic news. Entering the media industry is tough, but once you show an interest nothing is impossible.

Bloomberg office

Bloomberg office


It turns out that an economics or finance degree equips students with marketable skills that can allow them to thrive in a range of careers. And though investment banking is the traditional career path, the world is changing and so is what you can do with your degree. So look further than others and find yourself a career that you enjoy.

Have fun with your career

Have fun with your career, there’s so much you can do!


Much Love,


A leap of faith “From school to university”

You’re about to take a big step in your life, make a really important decision and you’re scared but excited. I totally agree university is one of the biggest milestones in your life. But remember you’re not alone, everyone feels the same before taking a big step. And trust me, when you do take that leap of faith, you’ll feel great about yourself.

Joining university is a fun and not at all daunting experience. I know it can seem scary, because I felt the same. But trust me, you will enjoy your 3 (or 4) years at Queen Mary.

I feel it’s a chance worth taking, and Queen Mary will not let you down. I am within the School of Economics and Finance at Queen Mary, better known as SEF. SEF has an excellent reputation, and provides all of us with brilliant facilities, not to mention SEF is located within the main “Queens Building”.

Queens Building

Queens Building

As a BSc Economics student, I feel Queen Mary really allows students to unlock their full potential. Lecturers stretch you to the limit, and make learning, not just about memorising but challenging yourself and questioning everything. You really commit yourself to your subject, studying something you love from all angles.

I’ve received unimaginable support from staff, lecturers do have office hours, but they’re generally happy to help at any time.

I’ve got the chance to work with live Bloomberg data, at the SEF Bloomberg terminals. Giving me the chance to explore my subject in great depth. There’s not been a time when I thought, “I’m bored today”.

I love the location of Queen Mary, based in the East End on the horizon of Canary Wharf. It’s the perfect location for any Economics student, you have London’s biggest financial district round the corner. Giving you the chance, to attend major events at big firms like Morgan Stanley, HSBC and JP Morgan.

The world of finance 'Canary Wharf'

The world of finance ‘Canary Wharf’

The SEF careers service has close links with major firms such as, The Bank of England, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Citibank and much more. Giving you the chance to secure amazing placements and internships. Lipsheon and Raj are both part of the SEF careers team, and from experience, I can tell you their advice is brilliant. The careers help you will get is unimaginable.

Putting academic stuff aside, Queen Mary offers you so many societies to choose from. I was so excited in the first week that I ended up joining more societies than I could handle. Queen Mary has a lot to offer in terms of societies, baking, quest radio, Theatre Company, dance, economics, trading and investment, horse riding, numerous sports teams, Lego and even Harry Potter (ooooh I hear you say).

The campus, is also award winning. Providing students with every possible necessity at affordable prices. From coffee shops at every possible location to restaurants, bars, bookshops, a gym, a Santander branch and even a grocery shop. All this is located right on campus.

Personally, one of my favourite parts is that Stratford Westfield is just one tube stop away. So girls, (and guys) you can shop your hearts out any time and any day.

Oh, and did I forget to mention the Sainsbury’s, Nandos, and Subway down the road, meaning you will never go hungry.

Drapers bar & kitchen

Drapers bar & kitchen

Much Love,



How I came to do a PhD…

Good day!

I thought it would be sensible to start off my contribution to the student blog with how I started my toughest journey yet: my PhD!
Back when I was a wee college student, studying (ha…) for my A levels, a PhD was something that I associated with grey hair and wisdom. I didn’t realise what it was, or how you got it. When I was an undergrad, I knew my lecturers had ‘Dr’ preceding their names (or professor, in a couple of cases), but I never really thought about how they got those mysterious letters. Naive? Maybe… But I also put that down to lack of education in career prospects and progression.
My undergraduate course was a BSc biomedical sciences, which included a placement year at a hospital or in industry (only if you were successful in application and interview!). It was only in my third (placement) year at a small biotech company in Cambridge that I became aware of what a PhD was, how to get one and what it can do for you.
More than half of the 50ish people working at this company had a PhD, and almost everyone in the biology lab, where I was based, had one. It was here that I learned how it is pretty much vital for a career in research, in industry or academia. Why did they never tell me this at university?
When I returned to university for my fourth and final year, I began researching potential PhD supervisors and their work. For some reason, I felt intimidated by PhD application forms and the potential for high-class competition, so instead of applying through ‘‘ I applied directly to each supervisor.
By writing an email directly to my potential supervisor, I made sure my application actually made it to their office, and I wasn’t surrounded by other applicants that may have attended a better university or, I don’t know, done more volunteering or something. Insecure? Probably!
Out of the 7 supervisors I emailed, I got 2 replies asking me to attend an ‘interview’, which was basically an informal chat to make sure I wasn’t completely hopeless at life. Both of them offered to write up a grant proposal for me. Wait… I had just been offered 2 PhD positions, and I was worried about my application?
Just goes to show what being a little proactive can do for you!

I think I have to include a photo here, so here is me graduating (on the left)… ready to head down the long, dark road of the PhD. I should definitely look more scared…


‘Til the next time,

1st Year Work Experience and Mini Pupillages

For this edition of my blog, being as summer is fast approaching, it seems sensible to think about what first years can do during the summer holidays in terms of work placements and experience.

Many first years will not be accepted into Mini Pupillage schemes as most require you to already be in your second year when you apply. But there are some out there who do, so I went along to every CV writing course and Bar Society event that Queen Mary offered in order to see what these firms and Chambers are looking for.

I began around Christmas time by researching and trawling through every Chambers website I could find. I found about 10 over a range of areas from Criminal to Property to Child Law and sent in my applications. I knew I didn’t stand very much of a chance but I thought I might as well to get to learn the process and you never know. Plus, in Law, it’s never too early to get stuck in!

Then it’s the waiting game. Many take over 6 weeks to reply and  some even longer, so until then I decided to cast the net a bit further and look at local Courts and Solicitors. In total, by the end of May I would have sent in over 20 applications! Hopefully one of them will bite.

In the meantime I attended the National Pupillage Fair and some were present to whom I sent an application, allowing me to talk to them personally and perhaps moving my papers a little bit up the pile. I also applied to Citizen’s Advice and Victim Support for some extra experience in dealing with the public and sensitive issues.

So far, all I have received is a letter from one Chamber stating they are considering my application, which does inspire a little bit of confidence. But I encourage anyone who is looking for summer work to apply as soon as possible. It doesn’t matter if you don’t get a reply, at least you would have tried and got all your information ready for next year!

 Never be disheartened, most first years don’t even contemplate something like this, so you would already be on the first step.

Inspirational Law Events

One thing that I have particularly enjoyed throughout this school year is the fact that the law department and its related student societies never disappoint when it comes to learning outside of the classroom.

During the first semester I attended quite a few events put on by ‘QM Careers’ in an effort to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a lawyer and exactly what is required to successfully pursue a career as a barrister or solicitor. I had the opportunity to attend panel discussions, law fairs and a series of networking events where I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge. I was impressed to know that so many barristers and solicitors from top city law firms and chambers came to our campus to share their experiences.

I also visited The Old Bailey and The UK Supreme Court (where I had an opportunity to meet and ask questions to Lady Hale) with the student Bar Society. The timing of the latter trip was perfect because I was learning about the Supreme Court & the Judiciary in my ‘public law’ module.

Sunny Jacobs (left) and Peter Pringle (center) – married couple and former death row inmates posed for a picture with me (right) after their moving speeches on Feb 28th 2013 at an Amicus-ALJ event on campus.

I have found this semester to be particularly exciting due to the broad range of guest lecturers from countries including the U.S. and South Africa. I attended a guest lecture on Intellectual Property (IP) and Publicity Rights for Celebrities in the U.S., Fashion & IP Rights, Human Rights & Judicial Activism and I was blown away by the stories of two death row exonerees who spoke at an Amicus-ALJ event.

I highly value these experiences and I realize that it’s rare to attend a law school that provides such a broad scope of educational opportunities. An added bonus: most of these events are free of charge!  Plus, just being located in London is a huge benefit as there is such easy access to law firms, chambers, the courts and much more.


In addition to my studies, I also have a part-time job. I work in office administration; the hours vary but average 5 to 10 hours a week involving 2 shifts per week.

Living in London offers plenty of opportunities to find part time work, especially in hospitality and retail. Queen Mary is located right near large shopping areas such as Stratford Westfield City and Oxford Circus. Jobs on campus also provide a great option for example in the cafes and shops located on campus. The location is convenient, the hours are flexible and your employer understands that you are a university student so you also need time to study.

A hospitality or retail job may not seem directly related to your future career aspirations but many ‘transferable skills’ are built through these jobs, providing a great opportunity to enhance your CV. For example, for Economics and Finance students many banks, consultancies and accountancy firms require their employees to engage with clients regularly so customer service experience is highly valued. Several firms even require customer service or sales experience as a pre-requisite for applying.

The opportunity to earn some extra spending money is great and can help you become even more independent. Just remember that you are still a student, so you still have coursework, readings, exams etc. so make sure your employer knows you are studying and are only available for limited hours per week. If working during semester doesn’t sound appealing, the summer break provides a great opportunity to pick up some work experience without the stress of study as well.

The Careers Service at Queen Mary is extremely friendly and helpful and can offer advice for finding part time work, in addition to helping with graduate careers.

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