Careers Perspectives – from the Bath careers service

Focus on your future with expert advice from your careers advisers

Monthly Archives: February 2018

Employer Monday: Morgan Stanley

📥  Career Choice, Diversity, Employer Visit Report, Sector Insight

Welcome back to another Employer Monday blog post! If you read my previous blogs you’ll recall I often talk to employers to find out how they might like to work with Universities and recruit our students. Remember; I’m not a Careers Advisor, this is not advice or guidance, but I’m happy to share my experiences with you!
And, as ever, bear in mind my fickle nature which is prone to falling for every new employer!
The employer visit I’ll tell you about today is a Morgan Stanley…

GETTING THERE
Who doesn’t love a trip to Canary Wharf! Super-busy, clever people running between meetings in power suits and trainers, hugging espressos and smart phones; huge, USA-style buildings made of glass, glittering in the daylight; it is rather like being in New York. But cleaner…
It’s a quick train and Tube ride to Canary Wharf from Bath – no more than 2 hours door-to-door on a good day. Finding Canary Wharf is a breeze – finding a specific bank in Canary Wharf is trickier as whilst they like their buildings big and flashy, they seem to go minimal when it comes to signage! Morgan Stanley like to trick you too – they have not one building on Canary Wharf but two! Fortunately the whole place feels no bigger than campus so even I wasn’t disorientated for long.

WHAT ABOUT MORGAN STANLEY?
It’s another huge, global investment bank right? I must admit, now I have visited a few I am slightly jaded (I know, me! The eternal optimist). They all have amazing graduate programmes, they all have opportunities by the bagful for bright, young things keen to cut their teeth in the world of Finance.
Morgan Stanley are not dissimilar; you can work in Sales and Trading, Global Capital Markets, Quantitative Finance, Investment Banking. You can do Spring Insight, Internships, Graduate Programmes.
But what I liked about Morgan Stanley was their attitude to their own staff. I heard from a chap who joined Morgan Stanley ten years ago having performed very poorly in his Zoology degree and floated between jobs and travelling for a number of months after graduation. After almost a year, he started on a graduate scheme at Morgan Stanley and hasn’t looked back. Now MD of Institutional Equity Division he admitted he still didn’t really ‘get’ finance but his job was to be good with people and win new business and Morgan Stanley had recognised in him, and enabled him to develop, this skillset to succeed.
Morgan Stanley were very clear that there ‘was no room for egos’ and the principle of working there is that you succeed and fail as a team. They have two graduate intakes per year and even these can be negotiated because they encourage new recruits to take a break or go travelling after completely their studies. One-to-one support is provided for new recruits – especially if your degree discipline is not in Finance. Morgan Stanley feel very strongly that they are recruiting the ‘right people’ (but from a mix of degree disciplines, backgrounds, etc) so if things aren’t working out they look at what they are doing wrong; have they got someone in the wrong position or department? After a period, graduates are offered the chance to move in the organisation to find a better fit.
Now I know that lots of big corporates are now talking about diversity and how they treat their staff, but looking back at Morgan Stanley’s history, it does appear that they’ve always had a bit of a social conscience; back in 1940 they raised $1.5million (that was a lot back then) for the US Committee for the Care of European Children.

So here I go again, considering a career change! I don’t have a Finance degree but I’m no Zoologist either, I’m sure there will be something…
If you fancy working somewhere like Morgan Stanley, have a peek at their website for more on Graduate Programmes and the like. And don’t forget to compare the competition; check out Goldman Sachs or Charles Schwab for a start.

 

Make volunteering count on your CV!

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📥  Advice, Career Development, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized, Work Experience

Make volunteering count on your CV!

 

volunteer

From 19 - 25 February 2018 Student Volunteering Week is celebrating the contribution and impact of student volunteers and encouraging even more students to get involved! In the spirit of volunteering I am re-posting a blog entry on how to make volunteering count on your CV, as I believe volunteering can be just as valuable as paid work for many jobs out there.

If you are interested in seeing what events are happening on campus during Volunteering Week, check out the SU website: https://www.thesubath.com/vteam/student_volunteering_week/


Volunteering work can be equally as useful as paid work experience when it comes to applying for jobs and many students forget to emphasize their volunteering experience on their CV or don’t include it at all. Here are some tips on how you can make your volunteering count on your CV.

·         Some organisations value voluntary experience more than others

If you hope to make a career in the third sector or within international development, you may not be selected for an interview unless you have some volunteering experience! If you have relevant volunteering experience this needs to be emphasized in your CV and show up on the first page, under “Relevant Experience” or “Work Experience”. Too many times I have seen relevant volunteering experience hidden in the achievements or interests section, where employers may not see it. Remember, an employer usually only skims through a CV during the first selection process for a job!

·         Volunteering gives you transferable skills

You may not have any volunteering experience that is relevant for the actual job you are applying to, but that does not mean that your experience wasn’t useful. If you worked successfully in a team, mention it on a CV. If you worked in budgeting, this can emphasize your numerical skills or if you worked in fundraising, this may have increased your skills in persuasion. Look into more details about what skills the job is asking for and have a think about how your volunteering experiences can give you examples of those skills, and remember to include any specific achievements.

·         Tailor your volunteering experiences to company values

Have a read through the values of the company and tailor your volunteering experiences accordingly. Perhaps the company you are interested in have sustainability high on their agenda? Then your volunteering experience in environmental conservation may be relevant. Or maybe the company likes to be engaged in the local community? What then about your volunteering experience in a local charity? Make sure to highlight the most relevant volunteering experiences.

·         Make international volunteering count

Apart from following the tips above, if you have volunteered in certain countries or areas of the world, this may be beneficial for an international company to know about. Your increased interpersonal skills and increased international awareness may be extra worth for companies that have projects or networks in those particular regions.

To summarize, my final piece of advice is to tailor, tailor, tailor your volunteering experiences to the job you are applying for. What would be important for the employer to know about you? How can your volunteering experience benefit the company / organisation? How can your volunteering experience show who you are?

Book a quick query with a careers adviser if you need any support in writing your CV, or attend one of our workshops or talks. Book an appointment or a place on a talk through MyFuture.

Additional resources:

https://www.bathstudent.com/volunteer/

https://targetjobs.co.uk/career-sectors/public-service-charity-and-social-work/advice/288223-volunteer-your-way-to-a-graduate-job

https://www.theguardian.com/voluntary-sector-network

 

Employer Monday: Unlocked Grads

📥  Career Choice, Employer Visit Report, Labour Market Intelligence, Sector Insight

Hey everybody, Employer Services Manager here again – for more employer insights! If you read my previous blogs you’ll recall I often talk to employers to find out how they might like to work with Universities and recruit our students. As I’ve said before; I’m not a Careers Advisor, this blog post is not about giving advice or guidance, but I’m happy to share my experiences with you! I sometimes get carried away with my giddiness at learning about new places so please make sure to double-check my account against official websites…

And also remember that whilst I am officially an adult, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up and my fickle ambitions change every time I speak to a new employer!

The employer I’ll tell you about today is a bit different – Unlocked Grads.

Who are they?

Due to the nature of their business (which I’ll explain in due course), I didn’t visit Unlocked Grads but rather had lengthy conversations with them. Set up by the Ministry of Justice on the back of a 2015 commissioned report, Unlocked Grads is a relatively new organisation.

The premise of their business is basically recruiting graduates into prison jobs. It really intrigued me – I have never had ambitions to work in prisons but it definitely piqued my interest when I considered the opportunities and challenges! Surely it is rewarding to contribute to someone’s rehabilitation back into society? But at the same time, it’s all a bit scary!! And how do they make this appealing to graduates?

So what is it all about?

Unlocked Grads offer a two year programme of experience in the prison service with the opportunity to complete a masters. The scheme is open to career-changers as well as graduates and they aren’t worried about your degree discipline or previous work experience. You just need a 2:1 and some specific attributes including all the usual stuff; leadership, decision-making, resilience, motivation and then – my favourite – ‘a sense of possibility’. Their website says ‘You need to have a positive outlook and have the courage to drive forward transformational change in society as well as at an individual level’, and I think that’s really inspiring! Prison Officers don’t just jangle keys and lock people up, the British justice system is built upon the principles of rehabilitation and reintegration, so Prison Officers are also required to provide support, encouragement and ultimately a ‘role model’.
Unlocked Grads encourages graduates – who become Entry Level Prison Officers - to build positive relationships with inmates in order to encourage rehabilitation and ultimately prevent re-offending. And surely, if you get it right, that’s a pretty rewarding job?

The programme lasts for two years and then you can walk away with your Masters. Unlocked Grads are working with large corporates to identify opportunities for careers after completion. But I guess, whilst you do not have to stay with the Prison Service, they are probably hoping some will! And if you leave, they will have had enthusiastic, educated graduates who have provided two years of service as a minimum.

The first cohort started in summer 2017 so the longer term outcomes and results are yet to be seen but it is definitely one I’ll be watching. 60 new recruits took up positions in 6 prisons in and around London and I’ll keep my eyes peeled for any updates or success stories and share them here. I’m guessing it looks pretty impressive on a CV? If you can hold your own in a prison environment, a corporate boardroom would seem like a breeze!

I might get to work on my ‘sense of possibility’ and consider that career change…

If prison work sounds a little out of your comfort zone, make sure you check out Teach First which is a similar programme but in schools rather than prisons!

 

Exploring Career Stories

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📥  Advice, Career Development, Careers Resources, Tips & Hints

Exploring Career Stories

what's your story

I watched a youtube link today where a student talked about the importance of exploring careers stories in finding out about jobs, sectors, employers and skills needed and how it really had taught him about different career pathways. He emphasized the importance of not just asking people you meet about their jobs, but also ask about the challenges they face in their jobs and consider whether these challenges make you feel excited or bored, and use what you learn in your own career planning and thinking.

It made me think about how I have asked, emailed  and explored the careers stories of random people I have met along my career journey and how this has benefited me. For example, before I decided to become a Careers Adviser I wanted to learn about the job role, its challenges and the pathways into the profession. To increase my awareness and to decide whether this was indeed the career path I wanted to go down, I emailed (this was before LinkedIn) ten different people in careers adviser roles at universities and colleges and asked them to share their career journeys. I was surprised that the majority of them responded positively and gave me a wealth of knowledge I used reflectively and positively in my own career planning.

So, within the era of modern technology, how can you explore careers stories now?

  • Well, my first piece of advice is to do what people have done for generations. When you meet people, may it be at a party, a networking event, an employer event, a hike or a family gathering; be genuinely interested in the career journeys of the people you meet. How did they end up in their chosen career? What were the challenges along the way? What do they enjoy (and not enjoy)about the job they are doing? What qualifications did they study? People generally like talking about themselves so why not take advantage of  that!
  • Secondly, the internet is full of blogs, vlogs, videos and more to explore and  learn from. One of my favourite video links are from icould - here you can explore real careers stories searching by job type, subject and even life events.
  • Thirdly, what about viewing people’s LinkedIn profiles and discover the millions of career journeys different people have taken to get to where they are now. Type in a job role in the search box and see what comes up. Why don’t you connect with them, tell them that their career journey and job role sounds inspiring and ask politely whether they can share their career story with you. A contact for life may happen!
  • If you like to read information, then Prospects may be a good place to go. You can explore hundreds of different job roles and most of them have links to several case studies where you can explore a graduate’s careers story.
  • Finally, what about talking to alumni in jobs and sectors that you are interested in to share their career stories with you? On Bath Connection you can do just that. Those registered on Bath Connection have voluntarily said yes to support you in finding out more about jobs and sectors, and some even are happy to take on a mentoring role.

So go ahead, explore the different careers out there, increase your awareness of what you find exciting and not so exciting, and see how these careers stories can shape your own career journey.

I wish you the best of luck.

 

 

Employer Monday: BlackRock

📥  Commercial Awareness, Employer Visit Report, Labour Market Intelligence, Networking, Sector Insight

Hey everybody, Employer Services Manager here again. If you read my last blog you’ll know I often visit employers to find out how they might like to work with Universities and recruit our students. As I’ve said before; I’m not a Careers Advisor, this blog post is not about giving advice, but I’m happy to share my experiences with you! A word of caution – I’m so easily impressed, I leave most places hoping they’ve a job for me!!

The visit I’ll tell you about today is a trip I took in the summer to see BlackRock.

GETTING THERE

I never mind a train ride to London. I don’t know the underground like the back of my hand but I do know it’s pretty hard to actually get lost! To get to BlackRock it was quick two-tube journey to Bank from Paddington and a short stroll. From the outside it didn’t look as spectacular as some buildings in London and I had to ask myself…

WHAT DO BLACKROCK ACTUALLY DO?

In the introduction to the day, the chap said BlackRock are the biggest Finance company we had never heard of! He wasn’t wrong. BlackRock ‘manage more money than any other investment manager in the world’. They have 13,000 employees in 70 offices across 6 continents. Despite managing £5.7trillion worth of assets in 100 countries they pride themselves on their ‘start-up’ culture and adaptability. There certainly was a ‘start-up’ feel to the BlackRock offices – no one was suited-and-booted and it felt rather relaxed. I was told they describe themselves as ‘respectfully anti-bureaucratic’ and ‘always challenging status quo’.

THE TECH SIDE

It certainly seems to go hand-in-hand nowadays that any large Finance company has a clear commitment to developing technology. At BlackRock they developed a platform called Aladdin which is used to manage global client assets and portfolios. It is a global, single-entrance platform which means that real time information can be accessed across different countries. What they’ve also decided to do is not just use Aladdin themselves but sell it to their competitors! They described this as giving competitors the ingredients but not the recipe!

In 2016, Aladdin produced an $800 million revenue for BlackRock and the analysts who work on it are known as ‘Aladdin Ninjas’!

I hadn’t given a huge amount of consideration to how companies make their forecasting but BlackRock told us about some ways and places they obtain and use data to make predictions:
• buy raw data from satellites to inform their forecasting ie, there is a direct correlation between the height of buildings in China and the global cost of steel
• using satellites to count the number of cars in a shopping mall car park in the US is an indicator of the state of the economy
• social media scraping data is used to do brand monitoring, trend watching, and sentiment/competitor analysis.

Their latest work sees them analysing the language used by CEOs to determine the relationship between language and salary!

JOBS AT BLACKROCK

1. Advisory and Client Services: These are all tech-focussed and include policy making and sector transformation, Client Solutions, Corporate, Financial markets.
2. Analytics and Risk: Including financial modelling, portfolio analysts and risk management.
3. Corporate Functions and Business Ops: Including finance, internal audit, HR, Legal and compliance, Marketing.
4. Investments: Including equity and fixed income, Liquidity, Quantum finance. (Investments make up 35% of the overall business but attract 65% of the applications.)
5. Relationship Management and Sales: Provide all clients with a single point of contact.
6. Technology: This is the largest area of Graduate Recruitment. It includes Software Engineering which is the only area of work which requires specific degree disciplines – Computer Science or Engineering.

Graduates on the Analyst programme are sent to New York for 2 weeks at the start of their programme so that they can learn all about the company and meet other graduates from all over the world. Not exactly your typical office induction!

LIFE AT BLACKROCK

BlackRock encourage work-life flexibility but don’t call it ‘work-life balance’ because late nights and weekend working will be required at some point. However, home working is also common. ‘As long as the work is done, it doesn’t matter where’, is their attitude.

They adopt ‘summer hours’ and finish at 3pm on Fridays. Casual dress is the norm around the office but people are expected to ‘dress for their client’ so often keep a spare shirt and tie on the back of the door. Students are not expected to dress particularly ‘corporate’ at Assessment Centres – apparently ‘tech people are particularly distrustful of suits’!

They do seem like a fun and supportive place to work (but I don’t doubt they expect hard working in return). There are a number of employee networks you can opt in to:
• Families @ BlackRock
• Veterans
• Disability Network
• Women’s Network
• Out Network (LGBT)

They also have a conscience! BlackRock have stopped producing corporate branded merchandise and instead donate to Kiva (a charity providing funding for start-ups in the third world). On top of this, every year each employee is given $25 to donate to a charity of their choice as well as 2 days per year to volunteer. BlackRock matches the amount of any fundraising.

Oh dear, can feel my fickleness kicking in again – I think I want to work here now!! I could see myself as a Ninja!

Think Aladdin sounds cool? What about other financial companies with sophisticated software? Check out: JP Morgan's Athena or Goldman Sachs' Securities Database

 

Tales from teaching

📥  Academic Career, Advice, For PhDs

I have over ten years' experience of teaching and training in an HE setting, and on thinking about it during that time I've come across a wide range of people and situations I wouldn't necessarily have expected. There was the time a student challenged me in front of the whole class for marking his homework wrong when it very clearly was wrong. And the time I had to email a student who had recently lost her father to explain the approach the Department was taking to her missed coursework. And the time I marked 200 French exam scripts in a day and a half. And the time I lectured sitting on a desk in my wellies with heavy snow outside and a severe chest infection.

I could go on, but the point of recalling these stories is that it's only on reflection that I appreciate the broad range of skills and attributes I've developed, not to mention the diverse range of people I've had the privilege of working with, through university teaching. I've learned to stay calm under pressure, communicate to diverse audiences, manage people and much more. To help YOU reflect on and recognise the skills you've developed, or could develop, through teaching as a postgraduate, and to market these skills effectively both inside and outside of academia, the Doctoral College have asked me to design and deliver a new skills session on Articulating the Value of your Teaching Experience. This session is happening on 14th February (easy to remember!) 10.15-12.05, and you can book a place through the Doctoral Skills web pages. Come along and learn from the experiences of other postgraduates who teach, learn how to market your skills from teaching  wherever you want to go next in your career, and find out more about the current HE landscape in the UK. Also do check out the Doctoral College's new guide on getting started with teaching as a postgraduate.