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Name: Aysel Kucuksu University: Queen Mary University of London Course: LLB English and European Law Aysel won the Languages Undergraduate of the Year Award 2015 with EU Careers and still now can't believe she won!!
I was on my year abroad in Denmark when I first saw an
email from the Law department at Queen Mary, University of London outlining the
various categories one could compete in as part of the ‘Undergraduate of the
Year’ competition. Although the title itself was intimidating, I really wanted
to challenge myself. Besides, the Languages Award seemed to accommodate
for my love for languages without making a degree in it a prerequisite for an
application, so I knew I could not miss this opportunity. The prospect of
networking with fellow language enthusiasts and EU professionals as early as
the Assessment Day stage also had its say in prompting me to apply; not to
mention the opportunity to visit Brussels, the ultimate destination for lawyers
and linguists alike.
Embarking onto the application process had its tough
moments, however. The elaborate six stages I had to go through, varying from
interviews, through essay writing, to psychometric tests (definitely as
terrifying as they sound), were really designed to seep out the best
candidates. So much so that by the time I reached the Assessment Day stage, I
knew just how tough a competition the people I met during it would be. They
were smart, ambitious, and coming from a plethora of educational backgrounds,
and they also made for a great conversation. The Assessment day was probably
the best stage of the application process precisely because I got to interact
with these incredible individuals, some of whom I now call my friends.
The highlight of the competition was unquestionably
the East Wintergarden dinner at Canary Wharf, however entering this outstanding
venue, I was incredibly flattered by the effort that was put into the event and
impressed by TARGETjob's remarkable attention to detail. Having Fiona Bruce
as our host for the evening was the cherry on top of the cake. After a few
lovely conversations, several delicious courses, and a couple of Fiona’s
stories, it was time to announce the winners. Hearing each winner’s bio's before the time for the Languages Award came, I felt both extremely delighted
and privileged to join their ranks once my name was announced.
Today, almost a month after the event in Canary Wharf,
I still have not managed to shake off the excitement from it. With my trip to
Brussels yet to happen, I am in constant conversation with a number of EU
professionals, who are going above and beyond their duties to accommodate for
my interests when it comes to visiting the city and its institutions. A month
on and I cannot help but think about how lucky I am for getting this
recognition simply for immersing myself into doing something I love.
Congratulations Aysel and to all the other finalists!
I attended the March 2015 IT’s not just for the boys’ event
and it was by far one of the most worthwhile and valuable experiences I’ve had.
Through this event I secured a telephone interview for a summer internship and
I now have a clear idea of the company and graduate job I am hoping to acquire.
In order to make the most of the day here are my 5 top tips:
1. Take a pen! – There is so much valuable information that
you will learn on the day and you will want to take note of them. Event
partners are more than happy to give out email addresses and sometimes phone
numbers so make sure you have a way of noting them down!
2. Do some research – It will make you stand out to the
event partners if you know what you are talking about! Do some light research
on each event partner that you are interested in and it may be helpful to
research the speakers on the day also! Being positively noticed will make you
more appealing to the event partners, and may help secure further discussions
with the employers.
3. Be friendly – This event isn’t just about meeting
possible employers but is also about meeting other talented and creative women.
Make friends! Any connection is a good connection that could help drive your
future. The forums for the events are great ways to advertise positions and ask
each other questions so make the most of it!
4. Be confident – Employees like people who are confident
within themselves, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be an amazing
public speaker, or that you have to boldly introduce yourself to everyone, but
I am more meaning that you should take pride in yourself. Dress smartly, as this
gives of a good first impression, and speak calmly and clearly.
5. Have fun – Finally, just enjoy yourself! This is a great
networking event and provides some great opportunities but just make sure you
have fun! A smile is a girl’s best accessory!
Our next IT's not just for the boys! event is taking place
on 23 October 2015. Apply now!
Name: Chelsea Sievewright University: University of Abertay Dundee Course: Ethical Hacking and Countermeasures Chelsea is the 2015 winner of the Computer Science Undergraduate of the Year Award with CGI! Chelsea has attended other events with us so we knew how great she was and she now hope to inspire other girls into a career in technology! Having been to the IT’s not just for the boys! a few times, I was aware of the various events that TARGETJobs held. However, with my fourth year being so busy I didn't consider applying for the Computer Science Undergraduate of the Year Award at all. But then I received an email from Katy at TARGETJobs Events a few days before the deadline urging me to apply. I thought, although the application will take me a while, I might as well go for it because I have nothing to lose! So I did, and to be honest, I can’t believe I'm now writing the winners blog! The initial application was similar to most jobs applications, which I had become accustomed to in my search for a graduate job. The online tests had put me off applying because they do take a while but I made sure I had no distractions and took the time to complete them. I thought I’d be rejected after this point, but actually, my results ended up being in the top 5 and CGI put me through to the assessment centre! I think all my previous practice really paid off when it mattered. I flew down to Reading for the assessment centre and expected it to be really hard and daunting, after all, I was competing in a UK wide competition. But in reality it was the opposite of what I expected, I enjoyed my assessment centre, it was fun and really relaxed. So then I got to the final….I couldn't believe it! From my small University in Dundee, I actually made it to a National final, in London. Amazing! I was super chuffed and so was my University. They wrote a news article about my place in the Final 10 and from this I received a request from the BBC to do a Radio Interview for BBC Radio Scotland. Without even winning I really got a huge amount of publicity which is great as a student. The final in Canary Wharf was unbelievable. The venue was grand, the food was exceptional and hearing Fiona Bruce reminisce on her student days was incredible. But then the nerves kicked in when the winners were to be announced, Computer Science was the first award and I knew I would have been so gutted if I didn't win, but I did not expect my name to be called out and my bio read out by Fiona Bruce!! I'm still in shock, walking up to the stage to get my award was so surreal and the amount of support I received from my University, friends, family, people I don’t even know and employers, past, present and future was just amazing and I want to thank them all for their support.
I have worked so hard over the last four years at University that I feel I deserve it, but also it is an amazing achievement for women in tech. Hopefully by me winning this award, younger females will be inspired to choose a career in computing and will not be put off by the stereotype which surrounds computer science!
Name: Aataullah Naser University: University of Manchester Course: Masters of Mathematics Aataullah is the first ever winner of the The Future CFO of the Year Award with ACCA! He wasn't really that bothered about it to begin with and never dreamed he'd get as far as he did!
Initially, when it came to the application I was not fussed as much as you would expect. Not due to apathy but because of revision! I wrote out my application form, nonetheless as best as I could, whilst juggling revision for exams. Continuing my revision, I could only hope for the best. Then, one afternoon as I was getting home from the library, I received a call from TARGETJobs about completing the online tests and the lovely lady on the line (who I would like to thank very much!), told me looking at my application she believed I was a real contender to win the Future CFO of the Year Award. This really helped motivate me to get as far as I could in the competition. I gave my utter best during each online test, and a short few weeks later I received an email from ACCA Global inviting me to an assessment centre. I was excited to have got so far already! The assessment centre at ACCA Global was a brilliant experience that had helped me develop in many ways. Some of the tasks were truly difficult, but I believe completing them helped me develop skills such as communicating, problem solving, and presenting, in ways that I have never been able to throughout my degree. I met many amazing people at the assessment centre who each in my opinion were worthy of the award. As a result, I had doubts of becoming a finalist after witnessing how well each short-listed candidate did. When it came to finding out I was a finalist I was truly astounded, I felt that everyone did so well at the assessment centre and it would be impossible to get this far! Nonetheless, I was excited for being a step closer to potentially winning an Undergraduate of the Year Award! I was excited to visit Canary Wharf and the venue for the awards was just superb. I had a great time speaking to my fellow finalists and the people at ACCA Global. At the time, despite if I won or not I already felt having come this far was an excellent achievement and everything I had experienced would help me in the future, especially when it came to applying for jobs. As Fiona was calling out the finalists and winners, I was unsure of what to think about my category. As it grew closer and closer, I was becoming more nervous but my mind was completely blank! Once my name was called out I was in complete shock, never expecting that I would win! It was a fantastic feeling and being presented by Helen Brand, Chief Executive at ACCA Global and Fiona Bruce was the cherry on top!
Winning such a prestigious award has been a brilliant experience, looking back in January, I had no idea I would get so far but if I never tried the chance of me winning would not even exist. I encourage everyone in the same shoes as I was to apply, you never know just how far you may get!
Siew tells us about her experience of attending Women in investment banking!
Name: Siew Sanz Ng
University: University of Oxford
Course: Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
Being a PPE undergraduate, my insights into the global
finance industry were rather limited. What helped strengthen my knowledge base
and connected me to different experts in the industry were Women in Investment
banking. Apart from busting intimidating jargons, the event helped me to
understand the differences between areas such as merger & acquisition,
asset financing, sales & trading, asset wealth management etc., which area
falls into the public or private side and how these different areas interact with
one another. The event also equipped me with the tools and resources to find
out more about each area specifically.
More importantly, I was interacting with key financial
experts, allowing me to gain personal insights into the industry – what
attracted them and what exasperated them. This helped me to better understand
how my skills and personality will fit into the sector and eventually helped me
to make the right decision on which division to apply. Furthermore, speaking to
them definitely boosted my confidence in the interviewing process because I was
able to draw on the insights on individuals who knew the industry inside out.
Hence, this is why you should apply for Women in
Investment Banking. Not only will you get the opportunity to deepen your formal
and informal understanding about the industry, you get to build sustainable
relationships with both the experts and other attendees of the event. I still
keep in touch with them and received support from them throughout my internship
application process. If I had not attended this event, I would not have found
out about the Deutsche Regional Internship Opportunity and would not have
eventually received an internship offer from Deutsche Bank.
Name: Jessica Dowdy University: Oxford Brookes University Course: Construction Project Management Jessica is the Construction, Engineering & Design Undergraduate of the Year 2015 with Laing O'Rourke! She never thought that she'd win let alone be planning a two month trip to Australia! The process began for me when I visited the TARGETJobs stall at a careers fair during my first year of university. Over the next couple of years I received weekly emails of job opportunities in my sector, including industrial and summer placements. While these were always interesting to read, I was not in the position where I could utilise these opportunities as I already had placements arranged. However, receiving emails with the words ‘Undergraduate of the Year Awards’ in the subject line did draw my attention. As I read through the emails and information provided, I thought this was a great opportunity and was highly impressed by what I had read about previous winners. Whilst reaching the final never even crossed my mind at this stage, I had been through a similar process for a slightly different award the year before which had gone a lot better than expected. Therefore, after careful consideration and discussions with various peers, I decided to enter into the competition, with the opinion that it was likely to be an invaluable experience and I had nothing to lose. Little did I know, I had a lot to gain! The application stages were nearing the end when I chose to apply, so I had little time to fill in my personal details and answer the award-specific questions from the sponsor, Laing O’Rourke. Admittedly, I was so pre-occupied at work that I would have missed the completion deadline had I not received a call from one of the TARGETJobs Events team reminding me to finish my application, so thank you for that! The questions were thought provoking and challenging to answer within the word limit; yet they allowed me to express my views on two topics which I am very interested in so I enjoyed completing them. By contrast, I found the online tests really difficult and thought there was no chance I would be continuing to the next stage! A couple of weeks later I received an email informing me that I had been invited to the Assessment Day with Laing O’Rourke at one of their offices. Nervous yet excited, I travelled up towards Nottinghamshire for what was a challenging but thoroughly enjoyable day. It was great to share experiences with the other candidates and to meet the assessors, some of which had been in a similar position to all of us not so long ago. We were even fortunate enough to gain an insight into the very technical and innovative engineering techniques through a factory tour of the Explore Industrial Park, where the off-site manufacturing takes place. Regardless of the next stages of the competition, I felt very grateful for the experience and it was wonderful to meet so many talented people; both assessors and fellow students. Following on from this, the ten finalists received an email inviting them to the Grand Final in Canary Wharf; this was a shock to say the least! Receiving the invitation through the post and discovering that Fiona Bruce would be presenting was the icing on the cake as I have been inspired by her work over the last few years. The day itself was wonderful. Sitting in a room surrounded by so many talented, ambitious and hard-working finalists was extremely motivational; not to mention the attendees from sponsor companies who have all achieved great success in their careers. It was a great networking opportunity and very inspiring, particularly as a woman hearing Fiona’s speech and watching a high number of females collecting the top prize! Hearing my name called out as the winner of my category was totally unexpected, particularly as I was the only non-engineer, so thought I would be completely ruled-out! Sharing the stage and receiving an award from Fiona was surreal and didn’t sink in for quite some time, in fact I still don’t think it has! The other candidates were fantastic and I would like to congratulate them all and wish them every success in their careers.
Now that the competition is over, planning for my journey to Australia to complete a 2-month placement with Laing O’Rourke is just beginning! I cannot wait to get out there will make sure I keep you posted along the way. Thank you to TARGETJobs, Laing O’Rourke and everyone else involved in the process. My advice to those of you who may be reading this and are in a position to apply for the 2016 awards, would be to ‘go for it!’ There is absolutely nothing to lose and you may end up surprising yourself just like I did. Good luck! Congratulations Jessica and to all the other finalists! Pre-registration for the 2016 Awards is now open here! http://undergraduateoftheyear.com/register
Harrison is the fist ever winner of the Male Undergraduate of the Year 2015 with L'Oreal!
It all started when I checked through my university emails
with one particular email catching my eye – Male Undergraduate of the Year. The
more I read, the more I became curious; curious at the prospect of me actually
winning this outstanding award and gaining an internship with L’Oréal, including
a week in Paris. Applying, for me, was a no-brainer; being in Brussels on my
year abroad, I had just one summer left to gain some valuable work experience
The hours I spent fine-tuning my application and completing
assessments paid off and L’Oréal invited me to their assessment day. Throughout
the day, I met some of L’Oréal’s staff from across the company and what struck
me most was how wide a variety of people from such diverse backgrounds worked there.
Not only that, but how from the very first day of this potential internship, I
would be thrown in at the deep end, and given real and valuable work to be
done; more than photocopying or making another cup of coffee – I would be an
intrinsic part of the L’Oréal team. Not that I needed any motivation, but this
factor certainly encouraged me to perform to the best of my ability throughout
The very next morning, I received the all-important phone
call. I had made it to the top 10! When the day of the awards ceremony finally
arrived, excitement and anticipation filled the room. Listening to Fiona Bruce
discuss her career and the various paths she had taken along the way was truly
inspiring. I felt proud, fortunate and extremely grateful to be sat around a
table filled with some amazing students as well as more staff from L’Oréal who
couldn’t help but be excited for each and every one of us!
When the time came and the Managing Director of L’Oréal UK
& Ireland, Michel Brousset, read out my name, I was astounded. Even when
taking photos with Fiona Bruce or while she spoke about my achievements and
skills that had lead me to win this award, I was still in disbelief. Only on
the long, overnight bus back to Brussels did it truly sink in. I’m the Male
Undergraduate of the Year and my journey starts here.
Congratulations again Harrison and to all the 2015 finalists!
Name: Nathan Craig University: University of Nottingham Course: Industrial Economics Nathan is the 2015 Management Undergraduate of the Year with Enterprise-Rent-a-Car! Since getting over the shock of winning, we asked Nathan about his experience! Hi all! My name in Nathan Craig and I am fortunate to be the winner of the TARGETjobs Management Undergraduate of the Year Award 2015. I decided to apply to the process in late January as a result of receiving an email from my university careers service. Normally I would just skim over my emails, but the award caught my eye in this one and immediately stuck me as an excellent opportunity. I have a keen interest in the automobile industry and have always fancied myself as a sales person, therefore the fact that a placement with Enterprise Rent-A-Car was up for grabs, suited me to a tee. I was invited to take 3 tests, occupational personality, situational judgement and inductive reasoning, within the next few days once I’d submitted my application. After a week or so, I was contacted by a talent acquisition manager from Enterprise who invited me to participate in a telephone interview. I tend to get nervous over the phone, so I kept myself as busy as possible up until the last minutes before the interview. The interviewer really was a calming influence and I was able to find my stride quickly. This resulted in me being invited to an assessment centre a few days after the call. The assessment centre was a great experience. I like to think of Enterprise Rent-A-Car as an iceberg company, there is a lot more that occurs out of sight than you can imagine! I was genuinely surprised by the friendliness of all the people I met at the assessment centre, other candidates as well as current Enterprise employees. I felt I was able to express my personality throughout the day, which was action packed and a great learning experience. Many of the assessors had once been in the same position when they first joined the company, a comforting fact also demonstrating the scope for career progression at Enterprise. I received an email, within the next few days congratulating me on making the top 10 candidates and inviting me to the awards ceremony in Canary Wharf, definitely a high point as it was an impressive achievement to make it this far into the process. The final was an unforgettable experience and a welcome break from revision. At the ceremony, headlined by Fiona Bruce, I was able to network successful candidates from other assessment centres as well as more Enterprise employees. After a 3-course meal, the winners for each of the awards were called. I was nervous when Fiona Bruce was announcing the shortlist in my category, perhaps because I knew what a great achievement it would be to win this award. As the winner, I was presented my award by Jim Burrell, a remarkable man who has contributed vastly to the success of Enterprise in Europe.
All in all, I have had a very positive experience, from applying in January to winning in April. I am looking forward to my placement with Enterprise Rent-A-Car, in particular, the week I will have in the USA. I would encourage everyone to apply to this award because it is a fantastic experience regardless of the outcome, and of course you have to be in it to win it!
Name: Cara Goldthorpe University: University College London Course: LLB Law with French Law Cara is the 2015 Law Undergraduate of the Year with Mayer Brown. Since the final we've caught up with her to find out why you should take part next! When I saw the Undergraduate of the Year Awards advertised through my university careers newsletter, I signed up almost immediately; there was nothing to lose but so much to gain. However, before progressing very far, I encountered some difficulties in France where I am currently studying on exchange. I put my application to one side for a couple of months, and only returned to it after I’d received several reminders from the team at TARGETJobs. Looking back, I’m so glad that they phoned me up and nudged me to push on with my application, as otherwise I doubt I’d be where I am today! After all this, I was just so happy to make it to the top 35. Making the shortlist of 10 was an achievement I had never anticipated and I went to the assessment day with a positive frame of mind feeling proud of simply coming this far. I found the day very enjoyable; it was nice to meet the other shortlisted candidates and to put faces to the name of Mayer Brown, who were clearly investing a lot in the competition. Numerous members of the firm gave up their time to be on the judging panel and networking drinks followed where we had the opportunity to mingle with the graduate recruitment team, trainees, associates and partners.
Being announced as winner on Friday last week was an even bigger surprise and I’m just glad that the work I put into my application paid off; as well as grateful for the opportunity TARGETJobs created by organising the awards and Mayer Brown for their sponsorship. I’m very excited to be joining the firm on their summer scheme later this year, as everyone who I’ve met from the firm so far has been lovely and I am keen to learn more about the work that they do. I’d strongly encourage any penultimate year law student to apply for the competition. The application itself is not that time-consuming when you compare it to other applications for work and work experience, which have far more stressful assessment days! As for the competition, not only is there a great prize at stake, but if you’re shortlisted you’ll have the opportunity to meet other talented students from a range of disciplines at the award ceremony. It’s a great atmosphere and nice to see so many employers reaching out to students in this way.
Since winning the Mathematics, Economics and Finance Undergraduate of the Year Award 2015 with Gazprom Marketing and Trading, we've caught up with Katy to find out why she applied for the award!
received an email from the University of St Andrews Maths department, with
details on how to enter the TARGETJobs Undergraduate of the Year Awards, my
immediate thought was how incredible it would be to win.
The application process for the Mathematics, Economics and Finance Award,
sponsored by Gazprom Marketing and Trading, was a fairly straightforward online
process. It included the completion of a numerical test, situational
judgement and OPQ tests, as well as a submission of three essays. The online
tests are not something you can really prepare for, and I simply tried to
complete them as fast and as honestly as I could. The essays took a little
longer, but I felt that I had experiences to draw on.
I sent in the application and was delighted to be contacted and told
that I had been selected as one of 14 candidates who had been successful in
this first selection process.
The second stage took part in London and involved an assessment day at
GM&T’s headquarters in London. The assessment centre included group and
individual tests, and an interview with HR managers. Walking into the Gazprom
offices was slightly daunting, but once I had met some other candidates and
members of the Gazprom team, I relaxed and settled into what proved to be quite
a challenging day. Overall, I very much enjoyed the experience and it was a
pleasure to meet so many talented people.
It was not long after that I received an email congratulating me on
being selected as one of the ten grand finalists inviting me to the awards
ceremony at Canary Wharf. My feelings were a mixture of nerves and excitement
as I arrived at the event and whilst we sat down and socialised at a very
enjoyable three course lunch, I am sure that all the candidates were very aware
that the winners were soon to be awarded. My category was the last of the
twelve to be announced and I was thrilled when Chris Jones, Head of Global HR at
GM&T announced my name as the winner. It was a moment I will never forget
as I walked up to the stage to be presented with a beautiful glass trophy by
I am now looking forward to a very exciting summer internship with
Gazprom at their offices in London and in Singapore. It’s a fantastic
opportunity to work with a finance team of one of the world’s largest energy
Looking back, I am so pleased that I took the time to enter this
competition and make the dream of winning come true. It has been a truly
memorable experience and I am very proud to be the TARGETJobs Undergraduate of
the Year for Maths, Economics and Finance 2015.
Congratulations again Katy and to all the 2015 finalists!
Aleksandra won the 2015 Female Undergraduate of the Year Award 2015 with Rolls-Royce. She is studying the same course from the same university as last year's winner Courtney Gill! Fresh from winning her award, we caught up with Aleksandra to find out how she found the process and why she applied!
If my estimates are right, 12 months ago I was sitting in the library,
trying to figure out the probability of failing my economics exam. More and
less at the same time, the news about my one-year-older colleague, Courtney
Gill, winning the Female Undergraduate of the Year Award, was updated on the
department’s website. Just out of curiosity, to make my procrastination a
little bit more useful, I signed up for the TARGETjobs mailing list to get a
reminder when the application process opens. If anyone told me then that I will
see myself in the picture in a year, I would probably start laughing. But here
I am! Paradoxically, I have never met Courtney in person even though we study
in the same department. But I would like to say a massive thank you for inspiring
me to give it a go. And I want to encourage anyone with any doubts to do the
same – just because you never know.
In the beginning of the second term I got a terrible cold, and did not
cure it properly because of the amount of work and extracurricular activities I
had taken up. I ended up in my bed with pneumonia, unable to do anything just
because I wanted to do everything. It is probably another important lesson I
learnt this year. However, having taken a step back, I slowly came back to
life… and my mail box. When I got a final reminder about the Award’s applications,
something told me that this is a thing worth putting some effort into. The
online application went quite smoothly, as well as few tests that followed. I
almost forgot about it, when after a couple of weeks I got a message that… I am
going to Derby! I have to admit that I had no idea what to expect from the two-days
assessment at Rolls-Royce. But meeting with senior representatives, fellow
students from all around the UK, and having an unusual opportunity to visit the
test beds seemed extremely exciting.
Even though I am not studying an engineering-related course, I am very
much interested in new technologies and innovation. However, I would never
expect myself finding engines so interesting! I learnt a lot over the weekend
at Derby, but I also met wonderful people. I had an impression that after two
days, for all 15 of us, who took part in the assessments, it seemed like we had
known each other for ages. Such a friendly atmosphere was extremely helpful
during the assessments we had to go through.
Of course, I did my best during each test, exercise or interview I had.
However for some reason I assumed that small mistakes I thought I had made
simply ruled me out from the group of possible winners. I was already over the
moon when I received an invitation for the final ceremony in Canary Wharf, and
I genuinely did not expect anything else. I was happy to see again the lucky 10
that I had met in Derby, as well as Rolls-Royce people and representatives of other
11 companies, sponsoring the awards. By the end of the dinner all finalists
started to feel a little bit nervous and soon the first winners were announced.
After the ceremony I got a couple of funny comments about my face expression
when Eric Shulz read out my name from the stage. It probably pictures very well
the state of shock that I was in. Today, after a couple of days from the final
I still cannot believe it all, but most importantly I am extremely happy and honoured.
It means a lot to me that there are so many kind responses to the news from
everyone in Cambridge and my friends back in Poland. And of course I am very
much looking forward to my summer internship at Rolls-Royce! I will try to post
regularly about my preparations, travel, and, of course, my time at the
Congratulations again Aleksandra and to all the 2015 finalists!