Posts Tagged ‘work experience’

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 https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test. 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.

 

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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.

 

riskconmpass

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!

 

 

How I secured my year-long internship

What will my internship be about?

As I excitedly wait for my exam results, I thought this would be a great opportunity to tell you all about the year-long industrial placement I managed to secure starting from this summer. One of my current main interests is to do with the industry of digital health. This industry encompasses many different sectors which includes wearable devices connected to mobile apps, digitized patient health records, virtual reality and many more! Imagine being able to have a device which measures your heart rate while being connected to your mobile phone. This is an example of one thing I could be expected to do during my internship.

Image 1: Example of a wearable heart rate monitor and mobile app device by a company called Under Armour

Image 1: An example of a wearable device and mobile app to measure heart rate by a company called Under Armour (this is not the exact same wearable device I will be using during my internship).

What did I do to secure my internship?

Securing my internship involved being very proactive – this is a must have characteristic for everyone! Through sending speculative emails for internship opportunities, I was accepted by the company based on my skills set and previous experience on my CV. I was then asked to attend an interview which I did and was able to complete successfully. This brings me to my next point which is to always be prepared. Without previous preparation of tailoring my CV to the companies I was applying to, as well as anticipating possible interview questions I may be asked, I may not have been able to secure this internship in the first place. QMUL was very helpful during the process of my preparations, where in particular, the departmental specific industrial manager for my course helped improve my CV, as well as gave me advice on how to prepare for interviews. For example, one useful tip for tailoring a CV I used was checking the company website for current roles and reading job descriptions. In this way, I was able to ensure the skills and experience I outlined on my CV were aligned with what the company was looking for. In regards to interviews, one main tip was to understand the power of pausing for thought when asked a question during an interview – I used to think pausing to think about how to answer a question was a bad thing as it may show a lack of knowledge to the interviewer.

Final thoughts!
I cannot wait for my internship to begin this summer, where I will finally get to apply the current knowledge I have gained during my studies. In addition, the fact that I will be helping to improve the lives of people through the work I will be carrying out during my internship makes it even more motivating!

Stepping Out of First Year

img_6451Exams are finally done and there goes my first year! It is crazy to think that being in a three-year course would eat up a lot of time but now I’m done with one-third of the way as we speak. In the grand scheme, life passes by in the blink of an eye. I would honestly say this year has been one of the greatest years in my life. It started from coming here alone without anyone that I know, a shy Indonesian kid that tried to make his very first friend. I went through thick and thin with my closest friends that eventually found me, and helped me with the struggles that I face, may it be my studies or even my relationship problems! I’ve got to learn that there are good people out there that become your good friends and that you can depend on them regardless of many circumstances.

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img_7252I even joined clubs here that promoted my physical well-being, simultaneously allowing me to experience further university life and what it feels to be like to be in an international environment. I managed to even experience working part-time in a foreign country, and performed several gigs around London with my band. However, we should all keep in mind that this would not be able to be achieved if all we do is stay in our comfort zone. Reach out of your comfort zone – be tired, be ambitious, be stressed, and in the long-run, you will realise that you have become a stronger version of yourself, and that everything done was worth it. Now that my first year is over, I can’t wait to see what lies ahead in my second year!

How to occupy your summer holidays whilst at uni

What shall I do this summer?

This is a question I asked myself towards the end of my first year, and again now, halfway through my second year. At university, summer breaks are long (around 3 months!) which is obviously a lot of time to fill. Some choose to work, others go on holiday and some students just go home and don’t do anything at all. I thought I’d talk you through a few options, in case you, like me, want to occupy your summer doing something productive!

1) Get an Internship – this is the primary thing on my mind at the moment. As a second year student, I’m aware that time is quickly running out at uni and I’m beginning to worry slightly about what I’m going to do in the future. I don’t think that it’s generally enough anymore to just get a degree when you’re looking to qualify yourself for your future prospective career. You need experience in that field! You need to know if you’re going to like it, and you need something under your belt to show a future employer that you’re keen, you’re experienced and they should hire you. Universities themselves can offer may opportunities for summer work experience, but theres also plenty online at your fingertips too. I’ve even started doing an internship during term-time as well, just as an extra boost to my CV.

2) Work – Students are renowned for not being the MOST financially stable, so working over summer and actually earning some money for yourself (so you aren’t so dependent on your overdraft or mum and dad) is never a bad idea. I actually spent the summer after finishing my first year doing a summer working season in the French Alps. Although working a season doesn’t mean you earn the most money, it does offer the opportunity to meet a tonne of new people, work abroad (!!!) and it keeps you busy. I thoroughly enjoyed last summer and I would always always recommend to anyone to do the same/or a similar thing, I think it taught me so much about myself (cliche, I know, but true), and it did allow me to start my second year of uni with a bit of extra cash and a bunch of new friends from all over the country. But alternatively, you could just work at home (which admittedly, would make you earn more money) and make paying your own bills the next year a whole lot easier!

3) Find a New Hobby – Summer is the perfect time to find something new to get yourself stuck into. It’s three months, without the stress of uni and the freedom to do whatever you like. So get stuck in and enjoy yourself! Theres nothing worse than coming back and not having any stories to tell your new friends!

4) Go on Holiday – as important as I think it is to be productive in your summer break, it is also important to relax too! You’ve spent the last however-many months in the library or in your little uni room working your socks off, so do take a well deserved break to detox, relax and have fun.

5) Use it as an Opportunity to Read Ahead – Through summer it’s very easy to forget uni exists and to be honest, forget everything you learnt the year prior, so maybe spend an hour or so a week just reading through old notes, reading ahead for next years modules, or just reminding yourself of a few key concepts to help yourself for the next term.

But more importantly – have fun!

I hope if you’re looking for something to do this summer these have been helpful, if anyone has any more suggestions, please leave them in the comments. Or alternatively, if you have any questions for me about anything I’ve mentioned here, please go ahead and ask in the comments too!

Billie 🙂

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.

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– 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!

Industrial Liaison Forum

RJC_5013webThe March Industrial Liaison Forum was this week, and a number of SEMS students who are currently on placements were invited to talk to current students about their experiences so far. Not only was this a great opportunity for us to advertise the year in industry scheme, but also it was nice to talk to other placement students and hear about how they had found their year so far. At 1pm, myself and the other placement students were sat in front of a large group of current SEMS students. Crawford Blagden (SEMS Industrial Experience Manager) began asking us to explain in turn our own experiences of applying to placements and the assessment and interview process.

I am sure it was very useful for the prospective placement students to learn about this process and what is involved in an industrial placement. I also found it extremely interesting. Since all I know of industry is my own experiences, it was nice to hear about how other students were having different experiences of their work placements, and how the work they had been doing differed from my own.

I definitely think that an industrial placement is a personal experience, where what you gain is reflective of the work you do, the effort you put in and the attitude you take towards your work.

Hopefully all of the students who attended the talk enjoyed it and found it useful in preparing for the application process, and will go on to find interesting industry placements of their own.

Spreading the Love for Geography

If you’re someone that has a real love for geography and an urge to enthuse other students, then the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Ambassador Scheme could be just the thing for you to get involved with!

Celebration Day 2014 (jazz hands)

Geography Ambassadors at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) headquarters in Kensington, London

 

Undergraduates, postgraduates and graduates can all apply to become an ambassador and once you have attended a training session you are free to go and spread the love for geography in classrooms and beyond. Throughout all of your visits there is amazing support provided to you and any resources that you need are sent to you though the post, including your I LOVE GEOGRAPHY pencils… that yes, it is true, both students and teachers go crazy for!

I Love Geography Pencils to give out t0 the students

You can get in touch with teachers yourself or check  on the Facebook page where potential visits are added daily. Schools may ask for a wide range of visit topics for example:

  • I love geography sessions
  • Careers in geography
  • What is geography like at university?

…or maybe they would like you to come up with a fun entertaining geographical activity that will enthuse their students. Lets face it, we’ve all heard the phrase ‘isn’t geography just colouring in?’…as an RGS-IBG Ambassador it is your chance to erase that stereotype!

I got involved as an RGS-IBG Ambassador during my first year at Queen Mary University of London. I saw it as great opportunity as I hope to become a Secondary School Geography Teacher. However, even if you are not interested in becoming a teacher it doesn’t matter as along with the social aspect, this scheme provides you with lots more invaluable skills that would look great on any C.V.  My first session was a children’s lecture at the Royal Geographical Society at its headquarters in Kensington – just down the District Line from Queen Mary – it was a great way to kick start being an Ambassador. I got to meet fellow geographers from both QMUL and other universities and I received my Ambassador t-shirt!

Following on from this I attended three events at schools in London that I arranged myself. First up was a lunchtime session for a group of sixth formers who wanted to know what geography was like at university. Secondly I attended an Open Evening at Addey and Stanhope School to encourage students and their parents that taking geography as a GCSE option is a really great way to widen future horizons. The RGS-IBG Ambassador scheme provided me with loads of great resources to give to the school, the students and the parents. I later returned to Addey and Stanhope School and had the chance to do an after school session based entirely on my own ideas. So despite others opinions, I decided to take a laboratory  into the classroom and do soil analysis, even though my flat mates joked ‘so… your just going to talk to them about dirt?!’ it went down really well, the students loved it and I got amazing feedback. Soil analysis was something that I had been studying in my first year, I provided the equipment and soil samples with the help of the geography laboratory staff at QMUL, and in groups the students tested soil texture, soil pH and soil colour.

Testing the pH of the soil

Testing the pH of the soil

Concentrating on getting that pH value just right

Concentrating on getting that pH value just right

Analysing the soil texture

Analysing the soil texture

Not wanting to get their fingers dirty didn't last long!

Not wanting to get their fingers dirty didn’t last long!

Using the Munsell colour charts

Using the Munsell colour charts

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From the short talk that I gave the students even managed to make some university style notes

The students made some university style notes from the short talk that I gave

Becoming an RGS-IBG Ambassador is really simple, you can download the application form from the Geography Ambassador Scheme website and a training session is happening at QMUL on the 13th February 2015. The scheme is really flexible and allows you to do something different around all of your university studies. For me this scheme has provided me with so much confidence, I really enjoy every moment of it and I cannot wait to do another session and eventually become a geography  teacher! Whether in London or your home city, there are lots of students out there waiting for you to come to their school and spread the love for geography… so what are you waiting for?

RGS throwing

 

Summer Reading Challenge Ambassadors!

Summer Reading Challenge Ambassadors!

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The summer is always a great time for new experiences and opportunities, especially in London! During the summer of 2012, I worked voluntarily as a Summer Reading Challenge Ambassador at my local library for 2-3 days a week, as part of the annual national programme with the Reading Agency to help children and young people (4-11 years old) to actively continue reading over the summer holidays. The kids are awarded prizes and stickers along the way for their achievements in reading a designated number of books within the 6/7-week span. Those who complete the challenge, which has a new theme every year (this year, the “Mythical Maze”), are awarded a badge and certificate and I can surely say that it was great to see the immense pride children had once they had completed the challenge. The role of the ambassador was simply to encourage children to read and engage with the sorts of stories associated with the theme in question through play and discussion. If anything, I gained invaluable and beneficial experience working with children, administrative and customer service skills and most importantly, the role really enhanced my interpersonal/communication skills.

Additional info on the job description!

Additional info on the job description!

 

If any of you guys are really interested in working with children and young people, love reading and have a passion for helping others, you can apply for the post this summer at your local library which runs from 12th July – 14th September 2014 – it would look great on your CV. Simply enquire, they’ll give you an application form and then, your form is left with the staff there for review! Alternatively, apply online at www.do-it.org.uk. Check out the websites below for more details:

http://summerreadingchallenge.org.uk/

http://readingagency.org.uk/young-people/004-get-involved/volunteer-as-an-activist-for-the-summer-reading-challenge.html

 

 

*Summer in Paradise*

It’s that time again! Summer is drawing to a close and another school year is about to begin. I can’t believe it! Summer is one season that always seems to fly by.  Nevertheless, I am excited for the upcoming year; particularly my course modules in ‘media law’ and ‘intellectual property law.’ This will be my final year at Queen Mary so it has to be AWESOME: awesome grades and awesome experiences.

My exams ended early (May 14th) this year and before I knew it I was back home on my beautiful island of Bermuda. I was looking forward to a long and exciting summer break.

 

Bermuda Beach

John Smith’s Bay Beach – Bermuda

 

I spent the months of June and August working at two of the island’s top corporate law firms.  (As a budding lawyer I try to take advantage of as many opportunities as I can to gain legal work experience.)

Working as a summer law student was a great opportunity for learning and development. I met other Bermudian law students and also had mentors who were patient, encouraging and ensured that I had quality tasks to complete. Such assignments ranged from drafting opinions to running errands to the ‘Registrar of Companies’ and conducting library research.

One thing for sure is that even if you don’t reside permanently in the UK, any work experience is valuable when it comes to UK-based training contract and pupillage applications. Don’t ever underestimate international experience. More than anything it’s likely to help you stand out from the crowd so take advantage of it whenever possible.

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