What have you done in addition to your degree to enhance your employability and what do you feel you've gained from this?
In the summer of 2016, as part of the City Scholarship Programme, I undertook an intern/work shadowing placement with Morgan Stanley in New York. This was a unique opportunity to immerse myself in a leading finance company and gain an insight into its operations and recruitment process. Having the chance to receive advice from recent graduates and work shadow those at the top of their profession, instilled in me the importance of company culture, role flexibility and provisions for career progression. As a Politics, Philosophy and Economics student, speaking to those who did not graduate with a traditional finance degree, reassured me about the level of on-the- job training and the transferability of skills attained through the Humanities. The City Scholarship Programme not only enhanced my confidence but strengthened my networking skills, allowing me to develop relationships which will prove vital in securing a future placement. I have broadened my understanding of the investment industry and most importantly expanded my knowledge of specific roles, providing me with industry specific examples to relay during interview. Alongside meeting Queen’s alumni in New York and speaking with graduates on the US-NI Mentorship Programme, this experience opened my eyes to the vast array of opportunities on offer, strengthening my resolve to work internationally. I am grateful for this incredible experience so early at University , for, coupled with my subsequent membership of the Young City Leaders Society, it has helped me tailor the rest of my degree towards developing the attributes necessary for my future career.
Whilst at Morgan Stanley, I also gained an insight into Sustainable Investment. I was drawn to this growing sector due to its potential to address social issues. I was keen to understand the logistics of developing large scale sustainable investment strategies due to my involvement with Enactus; a society at Queen’s dedicated to improving lives via entrepreneurial action. Having joined in first year and trained by experienced members, I am now a Project Leader and Committee member. Our project aims to empower young parents who are ex-offenders, by developing a sustainable business model to mitigate the pressing problem of re- offending. This has not only provided me with a greater understanding of the challenges facing our local community but through liaising with our project partner, presenting to our Business Advisory Board and attending Enactus UK Leadership Training, this society has greatly enhanced my practical business skills and provided access to Enactus’ multinational sponsors and international network. For this work, I was awarded a place on the Inspiring Leaders Programme, which has helped me develop the tools required to effectively lead our project team. Aside from Enactus, I attend many of the great events organised by the PPE society to increase my commercial awareness, recently travelling to the Trinity Economic Forum.
Always on the lookout for a challenge and ways to broaden my horizons, I completed a Code First Girls course and as part of the International Buddy Scheme, I enjoy welcoming new students to N.I and learning about other cultures.
Making use of Careers, Employability and Skills at Queen's
I visit the Careers, Employability and Skills Service regularly and check MyFuture to keep up to date with the latest opportunities on offer. Having decided to apply for the City Scholarship Programme, I attended the insight workshop to ensure I fully grasped the programme and what they were looking for in an application. Upon my return from New York, a follow up career workshop for the City Scholars ensured I understood how to fully utilise my placement. With this in mind, I successfully applied for funded student membership of the Institute of Directors and am planning to undertake another internship this summer. The encouragement and advice offered by Careers, Employability and Skills is second to none and instrumental in making the most of the exciting opportunities available at Queen’s and beyond.
Advice for other students
As I am in my Second Year, the following things I’ve learned so far may be of most help to those who are interested in applying for internships, placements or study abroad schemes.
- Don’t be afraid to ask past participants for advice when it comes to applying for programmes; they love to share their experience and it’s all part of being in the Queen’s network. I didn’t have to look far for inspiration and I appreciated those who supported me, something which is easily passed on in turn.
- During my internship I found it useful to keep a small notebook, allowing me to quickly look back on the advice and industry specific examples I gained when preparing for an interview.
- Soak in all the opportunities Queen’s offers, from clubs and societies to the excellent Career’s service. Such experiences not only contribute to your personal development but by combing them in a way that is unique to you, significantly add to your employability.