Careers Perspectives – from the Bath careers service

Focus on your future with expert advice from your careers advisers

Topic: Diversity

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.

 

Tips for achieving your best! Part 6 - Guest blogger Keon Richardson

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📥  Advice, Diversity, inspire, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

Our final blog in this series of "Tips for achieving your best!" Guest blogger Keon Richardson (Sport and Social Sciences 2107) talks about how getting up early helped to achieve his goals and why he decided to turn down a more exciting social life to reach his goals!

10.    WAKE UP EARLY!

Everyone has their optimal hours of the day when they work best. But as I previously mentioned in Tip Number 6, your brain operates at its highest rate when you first wake up early in the morning. A tip I would suggest to avoid hitting the snooze button is to change your alarm to your favourite song to get you excited to get out of bed! My alarm is DJ Arafat - Tapis Vélo. Another technique that I learned from tearing my groin in Second Year and being sidelined from playing was to treat studying like training. To get to 7.30am training from town, I would wake up at 5.50am (takes me an hour to get ready and 30-40 mins to get to campus). Being on campus at 7.30am is early enough as it is, and my earliest lecture in Final Year was at 10am. So I played a trick where I started waking up at 6am on the days that I didn't have training and started working at 7am in my room. That meant that I already had a three hour head start over my classmates who started at 10am. I took the game one level deeper and started waking up early on the WEEKEND. This was pretty easy as I didn’t go out at all during Final Year so I didn’t have to burden the pain of attempting to wake up early on Saturday with a Friday Night Hangover. So the key thing is to find out your optimum hours when you work best!

11. Make “No” your Vitamin C!

In order to reach my goals, I found that I had to give up  and ultimately sacrifice certain things by saying “No” to things I would normally say “Yes” to. In First and Second Year, I always used to talk to one of my close friends from school on the phone for 2-3 hours daily. This was mainly because I only did work on the days that I had training and lecturers. So, when I would go home after lecturers, I would phone him, watch shows online or have a nap. In Final Year, I had a different mentality and I knew that my work ethic had to quadruple. I worked everywhere that I could. On the 403 National Express back home to London; in the Barber Shop; on the coach to Away Games; and making mental notes in the shower (Weird!). People would look at me as if I was mad when I worked in certain spaces but I knew I was working towards a bigger picture which would come in small steps.

"Do you want to go out tonight Keon?"

In Final Year, if I spoke to my friend on the phone it would be briefly or my phone would be unavailable as it was on Flight Mode. I remember he asked me on WhatsApp when he could call me and I replied, “When I graduate”. I could tell that he was annoyed, but he said “OK, do your thing”. I respected that he gave me space and understood what I was doing was temporary to get to the point where I could finish all my work on time without the need for extensions (as I relied on extensions for EVERY essay in Second Year). Likewise, he respected me because I told him the truth and set it clear that I just need to give up our phone calls for a short period to focus on getting my work done. I made a commitment that I would not request a single extension in Final Year, and I had to say “No” to phone calls, partying, link ups. All of it. The last party I went to was in October 2015. I even got to the point where I had to temporarily give up certain apps on my phone. I deleted Snapchat and Instagram because I found myself procrastinating on these apps when I wanted to take a “break”, and my break ended up being more than one hour looking at everybody’s Snapchat and replaying it again just to avoid my work. It takes a lot of guts to say "No" especially to things that you enjoy and are so used to instinctively saying "Yes" to. But if you want to achieve your goals, you are going to have to give up your short-term “needs” for long term achievements.

What's Next Keon!

"What have you been doing since you finished University?"

Since graduating and returning home from my eventful summer, I secured a full time role as Disability Officer at Palace for Life Foundation (charitable arm of Crystal Palace Football Club). This is my dream graduate job and I have loved every minute of it so far! I am responsible for developing and delivering the “Inclusive Eagles” Disability Football Programme in the London Boroughs of Bromley, Croydon and Sutton. This involves: establishing PE curriculum sessions in Special Schools, leading football sessions for the Crystal Palace Down’s Syndrome Eagles; line managing a team of Foundation sessional coaches who deliver on the Inclusive Eagles programme and liaising with external partners such as Surrey FA and Royal Society for Blind Children.

Outside of my graduate job, I am a Gold Scholarship Programme Alumni Mentor and continue to manage the communications for IBSA Blind Football. I have published six IBSA articles on the development of Blind Football across the world, of which five have been re-published by the Paralympic Games. I recently went to Nantes on behalf of IBSA Blind Football to write an article on the first phase of the French Blind Football Championship. As for what’s next, I want to continue developing my expertise in disability as well as coaching and developing blind football. In 2018, I will be going to Enugu, Nigeria to deliver a Blind Football Coaching Clinic to Bina Foundation Blind Football Club and running the social media pages for the IBSA Blind Football World Championships. One of my long-term goals is to manage the communications for IBSA Blind Football at the 2019 African Championships and Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. In the small amount of spare time that I have, I’ve been learning French, Igbo and Swahili on YouTube (I enjoy learning other languages and hope to become fluent in one of them!).

For me, I'm not only proud  that I've obtained a degree and not become another society statistic. I'm more proud of the fact that I stuck to what I am passionate about and now I'm beginning to reap the rewards. I'm happy that I can pursue what gives me joy and peace of mind, rather than be involved in gang wars, knife crime and the all rest of it.  I don't look down on anyone who does that as everyone has different circumstances but growing up and especially today more than ever, a  lot of young black males go down that route without knowing the long-term consequences. University is financially and mentally draining, but there are so many fantastic experiences that you can gain than just a degree. Whoever or wherever you are, take your approach to your education how Buster Douglas took his approach to defeat Mike Tyson! Be brave. Be bold. Be Brilliant. Whatever you want in life is achievable!  If you would like to leave feedback or need any further advice, email me at: keonrichardson@hotmail.co.uk or follow me on Twitter: @FinallyKeon. Asante Sana and Kwaheri! (Thank you and Goodbye in Swahilli)

 

 

Tips for achieving your best! Part 5 - Guest blogger - Keon Richardson

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📥  Advice, Diversity, inspire, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

Our guest blogger Keon talks about the importance of writing down your goals, finding someone you trust to support you in reaching those goals and importantly ignoring those who may criticize you along the way .....

7.    Write down your Goal(s) and TEN reasons WHY you deserve it!

The motivational tapes, that I mentioned in my last blog, were key to helping me get through my dissertation, but just listening to them would have been pointless if I didn’t have clear goals to work towards. The tapes resonated with me a lot better when I could relate to the motivational speaker’s trials and tribulations towards reaching their goals. I had two pieces of paper stuck to my wall. One was a list of everything that I wanted to achieve by the time that I left the University of Bath. The other (and what I needed more than the former) was ten solid reasons why I believed that I deserved to graduate with a First-Class Degree. This took a lot of immense soul-searching and deep reflection to draw out ten firm reasons. Although, when the tough times came (a week with no heat or hot water in my student house; my Laptop breaking; and walking with a bruised toe for two weeks like an injured pigeon), I could return to my wall and look at why I should continue despite the struggles. At the bottom of my list I wrote “I OWE IT TO MYSELF!!!” in block letters and underlined to ensure that I would do whatever was necessary to obtain my goal. To quote Les Brown again – “You can either have reasons or results. Reasons don’t count”. Even though it was bitterly disappointing not to receive a First Class Degree, I got a 2.1 Degree and a First in my Dissertation, which is the next best thing. As I said before, who you become in the process is bigger than the goal itself!

8.    Find someone that will make YOU responsible for your goal!

If you just write down all your goals and you don’t tell someone, then it’s easy to feel guilt free if you don’t achieve them. Why I suggest telling someone who you trust about your goal is that this person will make you accountable for your actions. In Semester 2, I became best friends with a student who is studying Pharmacy. At the end of March, I told her that I wanted to get a First in my Dissertation and I mentioned the date that I would have my dissertation completed by. She challenged me to have it completed four days before my personal deadline. It took a lot of confidence to tell her about my goal and she rightly tested me to see if I was serious about my goal. There were occasions where I was in the library watching Futsal on YouTube and she would say, “so you are wasting Student Finance to watch YouTube”. As funny as it was, it kicked me back into action to get on with my work. To quote Les Brown again, "we have so much energy that can take us so far – it’s necessary that you hook up with some other energy that can take you to the next level." I ended up finishing my Dissertation a day before our agreed date and my Dissertation was finished a week and a half earlier than the actual deadline. This gave me boundless time to proofread my work before handing it in.

9. Use your "haters" as a goal!

You have to believe that you deserve your dream. MANY people will attempt to derail you from your dream. I’ll never forget when a teacher from my secondary school/sixth form said that I have an attitude problem and that I won’t last in Bath. One summer, my friends suggested to this teacher that I should speak to the students at our old school about my university experience, and this teacher said that I must have a “hidden agenda”. When I went to school a week later, he asked, “haven't you dropped out of Bath yet?”. As much as this angered me, this motivated me because I said to myself that I’m going to make sure that everything he thought about me was a lie. The day I received my First in my dissertation I 'pulled' up to see him. He asked how I was doing at Bath and I told him that I received a First in my Dissertation. The only words that he could utter was “MY GOD!”. It was an unreal feeling knowing that I made him eat his words and all the negativity that he said about me was a lie. People are going to criticize you when you’re working towards your goals, but you have to believe in yourself that your goals are possible, your goals are necessary, and you achieving your goals will help to inspire others.

 

Tips for achieving your best! Part 4 - Guest Blogger- Keon Richardson

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📥  Advice, Diversity, inspire, Tips & Hints

Keon Richardson (Sport and Social Sciences graduate 2017) continues with his tips for achieving your best with his own personal strategy for dealing with exam stress (chocolate!) and how he used motivational tapes to keep him on track ..

5.    Create a coping strategy to deal with essay and exam stress!

Mmmmm chocolate!

Following on from the wise quote that “Final Year is a marathon not a race”, I really recommend that you develop and implement a coping mechanism to deal with those moments where you are in your room at 11 pm panicking whether your all-nighter will be handed in on time or not. Each student deals with stress differently. However, I believe that we have consciously or subconsciously developed a method to counteract the stress that we face within education and everyday life. The options for students to relieve stress are endless: smoking, drinking, partying. The list can go on forever. For me, none of the above was a viable option because of how seriously I took playing Futsal. Futsal training for an hour and a half three times a week allowed me to get away from the books and channel my energy in something that I love. It also prepared me for the day as training was from 7.30am to 9am (except Thursdays). However, after the season finished in a heart-breaking cup loss to Northumbria University, I decided to take a rest from playing to recover from Patellar Tendonitis. Consequently, the only alternative I felt that I had was food. A 114G bar of Galaxy Cookie Crumble was my sacred haven to get away from the fear of completing a 15,000 dissertation in three months, the anxiousness of waiting to find a full-time job in Disability Football Development, and the other stresses in life. The moment that the blocks of soft melted chocolate biscuit swirled in my mouth, all my life fears went numb and I was entrenched in a Tango Dance with the sensation of the Galaxy Cookie Crumble. I would eat chocolate when I was writing essays, when I wanted to get away from my thoughts or when I rewarded myself for working hard (my room was full of Cookie Crumble and other treats especially when I received my Assignment Feedback). Although my chest would be heavy for a few days, it calmed my nerves and gave me comfort in the periods of Final Year where I went into isolation mode to complete my work!

6.    Listening to motivational tapes every morning an every night!

For me personally, I believe this is my KEY point to doing well in academic studies and succeeding in life. As I alluded to in the last tip, chocolate was my instrument to counteract my overthinking. But what really got me through Final Year was listening to motivational tapes.  No matter who you are, at some point during University (particularly in Final Year) you will get tired. Everyone reaches their plateau where they feel that enough is enough. What motivational tapes did for me was that it distracted me from my current situation and elevated me into a positive mindset to get through the day. There are three Motivational Speakers that I listen to: Eric Thomas, Les Brown, and Lisa Nichols; all three are renowned global speakers from the US. Eric Thomas ("WAT UP! WAT UP! WAT UP! IT’S YOUR BOY E.T!") would give me the fuel to do work when I didn't feel like doing it and the desire to push through the moments when I was getting writer’s block in my dissertation. He was the go-to-person when I was in the writing mode. I would put on his hour long tapes and let it hit the back of my mind as I was writing. Les Brown and Lisa Nichols are much older folk so they aren’t as hyped as Eric Thomas. Their motivation is a lot more soothing and the first thing I played in the morning and would listen to whilst I was falling asleep. This helped block out all the doubts and questioning myself I would usually do while I was tossing and turning in my bed. It gave me the faith that I would graduate, as Les Brown says “faith comes by hearing and hearing; death and life is in the tongue. Watch your words. Watch your thoughts; for they have magnetic powers”. Although I do not know them and have not physically seen them, they were mentoring me and developing my psychological strength to get through the workload. I found it helpful to listen to motivational tapes when I first woke up in the morning. Scientifically speaking, your brain operates at a 10.5 wave cycle per second, which is the highest it will operate across the whole day. The first 15-20 minutes you wake up you’re in an unconscious mind zone, so why not fill your brain with positive messages? Alongside this, you can write down your short-term and long-term goals! I know that you may have other ways of motivating you to get through challenging times so think on what these are for you .......

Support from Student Services - If you would like to discuss coping with exam and essay stress or struggling with workload, then do have a chat with a Wellbeing Adviser or see information on their website http://www.bath.ac.uk/departments/student-services/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tips for achieving your best! Part 2 - Guest blogger Keon Richardson

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📥  Advice, Applications, Diversity, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

Today we continue with our guest blogger Keon Richardson (Sport and Social Sciences graduate 2017) as he puts forwards his 11 tips on achieving your best whatever you are studying ...

1 Make Use of ALL the Services At University!

I alienated myself from societies, students, partying, lecturers and my personal tutor when I first started University. This was because I was quite nervous living away from home and I also wanted to focus on becoming the best Futsal Player that I could be. This came with its positives and negatives. Although I was seeing great strides in my technical ability, I often fell asleep in lectures because of my intense training schedule and I hardly read any Journal Articles that were on Moodle. But when I continued to struggle to write essays and saw Thirds littered across my Assignment Feedback, I decided that I needed to have a better balance of being a 'Student-Athlete' and use the support services that were available to me.

Ultimately, the question I asked myself was – "Why do you pay £9,000 a year to suffer in silence?" Grammar and concise writing were the main areas that I needed to work on to improve my grades, and my personal tutor recommended that I should go to the Writing Centre. At first, I was embarrassed because I perceived that he felt my writing was that poor and I pre-judged the Centre to be for foreign students who were struggling with their assignments in English. But after a few sessions, I saw improvements in my grammar, paragraph structuring and writing flow. At the same time I was in the Careers Services working on my CV. This also added to my writing development as I had to structure three pages (two page CV and one page cover letter) which summarised my experience, personal skills and why I wanted the job advertised, coupled with why I wanted to work for the organisation. As I became a regular face at the Writing Centre and Careers Service, staff members were willing to spend more time with me because I was eager to develop. Not to mention that these services are FREE.

2 Plan Plan Plan!

 

My Dad's favourite quote is, "if you fail to prepare then prepare to fail" and I couldn't agree more. Carefully prepare a plan for your essay or exam which outlines the following: topic, limit, focus, essay/exam instruction word(s), your main argument(s), opposing sides to your argument, key authors to support back elements of the argument, and a conclusion that connects to your introduction. Creating this plan will require a lot of reading and making notes which could take up to 7 days. But once you have your plan you'll be able to write your essays and attack your exams with ease. I had to constantly revise my plan for my 15,000 word dissertation as the data that I collected from my interview changed sections of my Introduction and Literature Review. Even if you are not 100 per cent confident in your plan, at least you have a foundation for your essay/exam and can continue to revise your plan as you go along. Show your plan to your lecturers to gain reassurance and ask them any questions that you unclear about for your essay/exam. I'm certain that my lecturers were sick of seeing me time and time at the end of every seminar to hound them with questions. But I'd rather know that my plan is in the right direction than have no clue what I am doing and unable to contact my lecturers over the Christmas holiday (I've been there before!).

Read more on Keon's tips tomorrow........

For further information on the Careers Service and our resources check out http://www.bath.ac.uk/students/careers/

For information on  Academic Skills Centre (previously Writing Centre) Drop in Sessions available 12:15-14:05, in the Skills Zone. Check website for further details.

 

Tips for achieving your best! Guest blogger - Keon Richardson

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📥  Advice, Diversity, inspire, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

Happy New Year to all our readers! It's a time of the year when we often think about whether we should make New Year's resolutions and then if we do whether we can actually keep it longer than the month of January! Our Career blogs over the next few days will feature a recent graduate, Keon Richardson, who did decide to make some changes to the way he did things during his student life and for him personally this helped him to go on and achieve many awards that he had not thought possible at the start of his journey. Keon wrote a blog on his experiences at University and so over the next couple of weeks we will be featuring different aspects of his blog. Find out how Keon successfully managed his time to achieve what he wanted from his University experience. Read his tips for succeeding, his low points and how he handled this, and the challenges of being a black student at a University like Bath.

Keon Richardson graduated 2017 from the University of Bath with a Second-Class First Division Bachelors Art Honours Degree in Sport and Social Sciences with the Bath Award and Half Blues Award. By the end of 2017 Keon started his dream job as the new Disability Officer at Palace for Life Foundation.

 

Posing at the River Avon!

"My four years at Bath has been special and full of memories that I will cherish forever. I was the only student from the University of Bath to complete a professional placement at QPR in the Community Trust; to achieve the London FA and The FA Young Volunteer of the Year; the only student from the University of Bath Football and Futsal Club this season to be presented with the Half Blues Award; and one of two University of Bath students to represent Team Bath in the Zambia IDEALS Project last year and compete for Bristol City in the FA National Super League. Last summer I was awarded a football coaching scholarship by Team Archie to shadow a football coach educator deliver Premier Skills across China and support the delivery of the Federation of University Sports of China High School Girls’ Football Final from 22nd July for four weeks.

Despite the amazing accolades, I was hugely frustrated of just missing out on a First-Class Degree. Nevertheless, I am personally proud of my own personal development over my four years of academic study. As hectic as my studies and extra-curricular activities sound, it gave me discipline to prioritize my time wisely and balance “work and play”. And with God’s grace and a plan of action, I received a First in my 15,000 word dissertation.

The purpose of my blog is not to impress you that I received a 2.1; my message is to impress upon you that you have greatness within you more than you are currently expressing. You have something special in you that eyes have not seen, ears have not heard, nor hearts that have not felt. I know from my own personal life that anything is possible if you have a vision and you are dedicated to working every day to make that vision into a reality. I went to a state school in North London where I was told more about my ­limitations than my potential. “You’re not socially ready to go to University”; “You’ve never been in an academy. How can you play at University Futsal First Team Level?”; “You’ll never get into Bath”. This was a typical reaction that both students and teachers threw at me to derail me from going after my dreams to both study sport and play first team futsal full-time. As a young black male living in Tottenham (London Borough of Haringey) which is outlined as “one of the most deprived authorities in England and ranks as the most deprived in terms of crime” by the Department for Communities and Local Government, drugs, gang wars, knife crime, and robbery has been impinged on myself and other young people throughout our adolescence. But I got to a point where I realized that I should not deprive myself from obtaining knowledge nor experiencing the best life that has to offer just because I live in deprivation. Adding further to the plight, the Independent Commission on Social Mobility highlighted that “there are more young black men in prison in the UK than there are UK-domiciled undergraduate black male students attending Russell Group institutions”. In the summer 2007, I was robbed for my Sony Ericsson and Apollo Mountain Bike by one of Tottenham's rivalry gangs and that was the day that I decided that I won't fall into this type of lifestyle and I will overcome this negativity.

When I began University in 2013 I decided to set my goals high and aimed to receive a First Class in my degree. In the moment, I set that goal for the sake of it. However, between finishing my placement year at QPR in the Community Trust and preparing to coach football in Zambia, my motivation to receive a First was to take my work ethic to another level that I had not been to before. I realized that to get a First I would have to do things I had never done before, such as: preparing lists of questions for my Dissertation Supervisor; reading Books and Journal Articles with a close analytical eye; sticking to a weekly work schedule; working on days that I didn’t have lectures; and setting myself personal deadlines to finish my essays. What I have now come to believe is when you set extremely high goals for yourself, who you become in the process is much more important than the goal itself.

Even if you don't achieve the goal, your personal development through the process outweighs the goal itself. I know that's easier said than done. I cried and was very upset for most of the day when I received the email stating that I received a 2.1 and not a First. However, I am slowly coming to understand that the person I've matured into physically, mentally, spiritually and socially over the past four years at University is greater than a First Class written on a piece of paper. So how did I do this?! Over the next few days I will share with you my eleven tips to achieve your best in whatever you are studying……"

 

Living Successfully with Psychosis

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📥  Diversity, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

This year I had the privilege of providing career support for Neal who has just completed his MA in International Security. It's not easy to live with a condition like psychosis and yet despite setbacks in his life, Neal recently started as a consultant for Alten. He kindly agreed to be interviewed and this is his story.

From the age of 14, I had started to feel unwell and then one day I found myself climbing on the school roof – I was completely deluded and didn’t know where I was. It was like watching the TV programme Quantam Leap or The Truman Show film with Jim Carey. Medics had no idea what caused this as I had never taken drugs, or alcohol and I was diagnosed as having psychosis. Fortunately, I didn’t suffer from any hallucinations, but I ended up being hospitalised for the next six months. I found myself being one of the first people to try Risperidone – an anti-psychotic drug which had great success. I guess during this time I was incredibly lucky and had a great childhood. I was one of seven children with very supportive parents but it was really hard for my parents to see me so ill. I was taken off the medications but then relapsed again at 16 and then 18. But despite everything, I still achieved 4 A levels ABCC from a State School. I somehow knew that Maths would open doors for the future. It was my best subject and I thought it would impress people. I was really happy to get to University of Bath to study Mathematics and Computing from 1998-2002. I spent my year placement at Motorola and then they sponsored me for my second year and final year which was excellent. Somehow, I had managed to get through university without telling anyone about my psychosis. I didn’t tell anyone because I was so worried about the stigma and how I would be received. I survived because I had the support of a long-term girlfriend and by getting a lot of sleep as the drugs made me feel so tired. I wasn’t sporty so didn’t do much exercise, but looking back realised that probably would have helped me. Anyway, I just paced myself and was glad to have got a 2:2. I was also very fortunate that I didn’t have any psychotic episodes during this time.

It wasn’t until the final week of my final year that I told my personal tutor about my mental health as I had asked him to be my referee for MBDA.  The tutor actually put on the reference – “this student is extremely good at keeping secrets!” MBDA (part of BAE Systems) offered me a job on their graduate scheme and I worked my way up to principal engineer on their missile systems. I had disclosed my disability when I joined and it had taken 11 months to get my clearance which came with certain restrictions on how I could work, but the organisation was always very supportive and wanted me to do well. I worked on some really interesting and diverse projects including an internship for RUSI (a big think tank).

Suddenly out of the blue in 2006 I had another psychotic episode and this time diagnosed as having Schizo-affective disorder with manic type, now labelled as Recurring Psychosis. I guess it may have been kicked started by the fact I had been under a lot of stress outside of work, and also my drug dosage had been reduced yet again. This time I was so bad that I couldn’t even look after myself and I was eventually sectioned 24/7 for six months. In this breakdown and other later breakdowns, I suffered with hallucinations and delusions.  It wasn’t a great time in my life and it was hard for my family who visited me regularly. I have never taken drugs (other than my medication), never smoked and never drank and yet here I was again.

My company were great and they paid me for those six months and then I went back to work. I worked successfully for another five years and I was still on medication but I hardly had any time off. Then in December 2011, I fell ill again and I just couldn’t get well and was sectioned three or four times and by October 2014 I lost my MOD clearance which was devastating as it meant I lost my job. Looking back this time, the doctors believe that I ended up with a chemical imbalance, as I was now exercising a lot and spending a lot of time in the gym and somehow this had diluted how the drug worked.

I was finally put on a new drug which is working really well and appealed to the MOD on my clearance but I couldn’t get it back. So in 2015/16, I decided to take some time out and went travelling.

I thought about what I wanted to do and realised that I had always had an interest in military science and I think my time at RUSI had inspired me on that as I would often attend lectures. I had always enjoyed reading magazines such as Foreign Affairs. It was a friend who recommended the Masters in International Security at University of Bath and so I thought “why not!”. I mainly did it out of interest and really enjoyed it although I found the essays hard though because with my STEM background I didn’t have that much experience. My dissertation was on The Ethical Mandate of Autonomous weapon systems in a UK context. If I ever manage to go back into the Defence industry, then I think my Masters will prove to be extremely useful.

What’s different about being at the University of Bath again for a Masters? Well, this time I decided to disclose my disability and it’s been really great to have support. I saw a Counsellor from Student Services every week who helped me to deal with any stress/anxiety I may have had on the course, although I do know that stress is not related to any relapse I might have in the future. I also used the Skills Centre and had my essays checked. As well as this I have used the Careers Service - a lot! I attended a workshop on Developing Resilience to Support your Career run by Careers and Student Services and found this particularly useful. I attended a webinar on To Disclose or Not to Disclose your disability which included information on where to find disability friendly employers. My personal view from having a mental health issue is to disclose after you get a job offer! However, I appreciate that for every individual this will be different. I also had several one to one appointments with a careers adviser. This was useful as I had thought about going on another graduate training scheme but realised through the guidance interviews that I had a load of experience and needed to find a higher-level role. As well as discussing career options, I used the career meeting to seek advice on improving my CV which was actually a challenge to do as a mature student and so the advice was useful. I eventually decided that my career goal was to be a consultant or chief engineer with a particular technical specialism. My longer-term career goals, well I have even thought about going into politics! I really admire those people going into politics later in life even if I might not agree with their political views. I’ve even thought about doing another degree in my spare time.

So, my advice to anyone who has a disability is to get the support you need but also get involved. This time round I joined the Debating Society and the Philosophy Club as well as took part in activities within POLIS attending extracurricular seminars on campus and also at BRLSI in Queen Square.  Don’t be secretive either about your condition. I don’t publicise my disability but I will talk about it if asked. The way people view mental health conditions is changing and I think high profile people like Stephen Fry help to do this. It’s really important when things get tough to look back at your previous achievements and remember what you have accomplished. Despite my condition, I have achieved a lot – a 2:1 for my final year project and I am very proud of my French GCSE. And just remember there is nothing wrong in being ill for a year – sometimes that just happens, or taking a gap year to recover. Don’t see these things as a fail – it will in the long term help you to do better grade wise. Repeat a year too if that’s the best thing for you. Most importantly, stick to your medication.

After CV checks/applications checks, and support I ended up with two job offers and had to book another careers appointment to help me with deciding which job! I have just started working with Alten – a multi-national software engineering consultancy and currently working for Rolls Royce designing engines for private jets – really interesting work. So as I start on another career journey, I hope my story will encourage you to do the same!

(For information on support offered by Student Services visit the Welfare and Wellbeing Advice Team. Drop in sessions run daily.) 

 

Getting a graduate job or placement when you have a non-visible disability

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📥  Advice, Diversity, Labour Market Intelligence, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

 

Applying for graduate jobs can be daunting, but when you have a disability, this can sometimes add to the stress of applying for graduate jobs. This blog aims to allay some fears and also encourage you with tips, advice and information on where you can find help and support to succeed in the graduate labour market.

Defining a non-visible disability

It’s probably a good idea at this point to define what we mean by a non-visible disability. These are basically disabilities which are not immediately apparent. They are also sometimes referred to as “invisible” or “hidden” disabilities. An interesting fact is that one in every two people has some kind of health condition -this may not necessarily equate to a disability under the Equality Act definition but it does mean that there are a lot of people living with things that are not immediately obvious to the eye.

Some of the non-visible disabilities that many of us have so to name a few:

ADHD, Dyspraxia, Deafness, Anxiety, Dyslexia, Chronic Fatigue/ME, Coeliac Disease, Narcolepsy, Repetitive Strain Injury, Tinnitus..

Its worth knowing at this point that there are therefore huge numbers of people working successfully in the workplace with non-visible disabilities.  For example, how many of you know which non-visible disability these well know people from the entertainment and political arena have?

George Clooney     George_Clooney-4_The_Men_Who_Stare_at_Goats_TIFF09_(cropped)

Lady Gaga

Lady-gaga-icon-thatgrapejuiceKylie   Kylie Minogue

381px-Theresa_May_MPTheresa May

Donald Trump                    Donald_Trump_September_3_2015

Daniel Radcliffe Daniel Radcliffe

(answers will be put up on our Careers Facebook Page in a few days time!)

So many people have a non-visible disability but they have successful careers. So how might they have done this?

Become an expert!

What’s important when applying for a job is that you become an “expert” on your disability. It’s important that you understand how your disability affects you and the adjustments you would need to work well in an organisation. So think about what would make your life easier. This may range from flexible working, working from home occasionally, specialist equipment, line management support – a preference for having clear goals and regular meetings to check progress are some of the things to think about.

The question an employer will always want to ask is “What is your disability and how will it affect your ability to do the job?”

Once you feel comfortable with the above and have thought about your needs, and the support you might ask for to succeed in the job, think then about your strengths.

Know Your Strengths

It’s so important to know what you can offer an employer, so spend some time thinking about your personal attributes and your knowledge and experience. For example, a person with dyslexia, has often learned to be very organised because short term memory can sometimes be an issue.

If you suffer from Chronic Fatigue/ME for example, again you may have worked out how to be extremely organised during your degree to meet deadlines and cope with tiredness. You may also have developed strong resilience and empathy skills as a result of your condition.

Think how you have achieved on your degree course and how this could be transferred to the workplace. Perhaps some of the techniques or tools you have used during your academic study would be easily transferable to the world of work. If you are finding it difficult to articulate your strengths, do come and speak to a Careers Adviser.

Finding Jobs

You may find it useful to target disability friendly employers. Look for particular accreditations such as Disability Confident employer or the Two Ticks. disability_confident_employer_roller

EmployAbility www.employ-ability.org.uk is a not-for-profit organisation that provides support and advice for students and graduates with disabilities. Employ-Ability also runs a wide range of internships and graduate recruitment programmes on behalf of many of the most prestigious and progressive blue-chip and public sector organisations.

When or if to tell an employer about your disability

“So how do I get a job and when, if, and how should I tell an employer about my disability?”
When to disclose has probably been the most popular query I have had this year as a Careers Adviser covering students with disabilities.

Disclosure to employers is complicated and a challenge, because you don't always know exactly what you'll be doing in that job, and whether your condition will be relevant. As many disabilities aren’t obvious to people, students may also find it tempting not to let a potential employer know in advance. However, there may be many benefits to disclosing and particularly early in the recruitment process. One recent graduate I met at a Careers Adviser’s training event in London last week said that he really hadn’t wanted anyone to know he had dyspraxia/dyslexia and when applying for the Civil Service Fast Stream, he chose not disclose the first time round and then failed on one of the final tests. The second time round he was advised to disclose, was given extra time and support and he was successful in his application. His biggest regret is not doing this earlier!

Firstly, if you are not sure, you can decide anytime whether to disclose or not. However, the important thing to bear in mind is that you will not come under the protection of the Equality Act 2010 until you do. For more information on this take a look at https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/equality-act-2010/what-equality-act

or Diversity Link information.

At the Psychometric Test, Application or Interview stage?

If you do decide to disclose think about when you might. You may decide if you have dyslexia or suffer with anxiety or ADHD, that it would be good to tell an employer of your disability prior to sitting any psychometric tests as you may need to ask for additional time and in some cases you may need to give the employer time to consider alternative tests in order to measure your capability to do the job. A key tip here is think about telling the employer sooner rather than later as preparation work would need to be done to best support you.

You may decide to disclose at the application stage as  companies may select you then on meeting the essential criteria required to do the job. You may decide that you would prefer to apply and then if shortlisted disclose then. It may be that you need some reasonable adjustments for the interview in order to compete successfully.

You may decide that actually, you will wait to see if you get a job offer and then speak to an employer about support you might need in the workplace.

Some graduates decide to wait and see and will start working before making a decision to disclose.

It’s really up to you and what you feel is the best time if at all. If you would like help on making this decision then please do book to see me – just email me - Melanie Wortham or careers@bath.ac.uk. If you are leaving Bath then we can do a Skype appointment.

Links to information and Advice

There are many non-profit organisations and charities who also offer advice and support. Some of these are:

EmployAbility (specialist organisation working with disabled students and graduates)
Disability Rights UK (includes a useful careers guide)
RADAR (disability rights organisation)
Leonard Cheshire Disability (the UK's leading charity supporting disabled people)
Great with disability
Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB)
Action on Hearing Loss (formerly Royal National Institute for Deaf People)
MENCAP (for people with learning disabilities)
MIND (for people with mental illness)
British Dyslexia Association
The Dyspraxia Foundation
Narcolepsy Association
Interview and Assessment Centre Preparation

Resources at the Careers Service

We have many resources in the Careers Service to support you.

Check out our website http://www.bath.ac.uk/students/careers/

See our selection of DVDs on preparing for interviews and assessment centres http://www.bath.ac.uk/students/careers/information-resources/catalogue.bho/index.html

Book a practice interview to help you prepare for those difficult question and alleviate some anxiety

Try out our video interview software Interview Stream

So my final thought for today is play to your strengths and take your time to prepare for the recruitment process, finding out exactly what is involved and how you can be a success in that job.

For further information and support do contact us by popping into our new facilities in the Virgil Building on Manvers St or sending us an email at careers@bath.ac.uk.

 

Melanie Wortham

Careers Adviser

MW photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What does success mean to you?

📥  Academic Career, Advice, Diversity, Event, inspire

Last Thursday I had the privilege of attending Sulis Minerva Day, a day celebrating the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The final event in a day of inspirational and fascinating talks from eminent female scientists and engineers and engaging soapbox presentations from Bath's doctoral and postdoctoral researchers was a panel event on 'Pioneers and Pathways', with a wide range of speakers from academia, industry and science communication. The panellists, with help from some lively and honest contributions from the audience, discussed their own experiences and thoughts on how to attract more women into science and engineering

The Chair of the panel, Professor Carole Mundell, Head of the Department of Physics at the University of Bath, opened the panel session by asking each of the panellists what success looks like for them. Clearly this is a very personal topic with a wide range of possible answers; a Google search for 'career success' yields 27, 700 000 results. Nevertheless there were some common themes arising in how the speakers defined success. Professor  Mundell said that for her success is two-fold - 'in my personal life knowing my family is happy and thriving, that I have time to be part of that and, in turn, sharing in their successes and passions. Success in my professional life has a similar shape: doing a fulfilling job that I love and for which I am recognised, working with good people and, in turn,  recognising and celebrating their achievements, being authentic and having integrity. I am fortunate to work in fundamental research which comes with tricky problems, but when one is the first to discover something new about the world, that is a real thrill. Success for me is really an accumulation of tiny triumphs, some of which are ultimately recognised formally, which is wonderful and necessary,  and others which may go unnoticed.'

Similar themes came up in the panellists' definitions of success. Dr Patrick Goymer, Chief Editor of Nature Ecology & Evolution, also said that part of success for him was achieving work/life balance, as well as the satisfaction of launching a journal from scratch. Work/life balance was also important to Melanie Welham, Chief Executive of BBSRC. Melanie noted the importance in personal and professional success of being brave, taking opportunities as they come up and taking a leap without knowing where you'll end up. It did occur to me that 'leaps' can be fundamentally scary; and I wondered whether changes or new personal or professional directions might be more helpfully described as steps. We often take steps without knowing exactly where they will lead; career success can be experimental and exploratory as well as carefully planned. Melanie also highlighted the importance of a support network, and advised finding a mentor who is one or two steps ahead of where you would like to be - mentors who are many steps ahead of you can be intimidating.

Developing supportive relationships was also important to Dawn Bonefield, Director of Towards Vision, who said that for her, 'success looks like collaboration'. For Emily Grossman, a science broadcaster and writer, success had meant the ability to bring together her scientific knowledge and creativity, which she considered to be key aspects of her identity, and also having space to look after herself emotionally and to make a difference through her work. If 'making a difference' is important to you in life and career, this great blog post by Warwick Careers Service will help you to think through what that might look like in practice. The Warwick Careers blog also has a lovely post on how mentors can help you achieve career success, particularly by championing your cause and giving you encouragement.

To help you work out what success means to you, think about what is important to you in the different aspects of your life. What is the purpose of career for you? How will you know when you've been successful?

Many of us find identiying our successes quite challenging; take a leaf out of Carole Mundell's book and celebrate your 'tiny triumphs'; keep a mental or physical record of what you've done and think about what you're most proud of and what you learned from the experience. To help build your confidence, think about what you're interested in and enthusiastic about, and then share it with others. Dr. Gerta Cami-Kobaci, a Research Fellow in Pharmacy and Pharmacology, who did a soapbox presentation on her research on designing medicines for pain relief, said she very much enjoyed the opportunity to present her work to a broader scientific audience, and feels that it is very important to be able to communicate with specialists working in different fields of research.

And if you find putting your successes into words a struggle, this blog also has some tips on How to Sell Yourself and Feel ok about it.

 

 

 

Update on Careers Provision for Students with Disabilities

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📥  Advice, Diversity, Uncategorized

As many of you are probably aware the Careers Service has now moved down to the Virgil Building in Manvers Street and we are now open!   So, I thought now would be a very good time to talk about the provision that we offer to all of our disabled students – so this would cover anyone with physical, mental health and learning needs such as dyslexia and dyspraxia. To make sense of our provision I have split this into General Careers Provision and Additional Careers Provision for Disabled Students.

Careers photo

 

General Careers Service Provision

You may have already seen your Faculty or Department Careers Adviser who will deliver some Department-specific activities on campus. Some of our employer talks and promotional activities will also still take place on campus.

However, most of our Careers Service activities have now moved down to the Virgil Building in Manvers Street where you can book Quick Queries and can also book longer appointments through our reception down there as well as attend skills workshops. In VB we also have a number of resources and free leaflets and information booklets which you might find useful. So when you are down in Manvers St do pop in to see the facilities! We are located on the 2nd level near the main reception so a lift will shortly be installed at the main entrance.

To book an appointment in VB just go to https://myfuture.bath.ac.uk

pic of disabilities

Additional Careers Service Provision for Disabled Students

The University recognises that some students would benefit from having careers support still on campus. So in addition to all of the above, my new role as a Careers Adviser is to provide exactly this on campus and I am here to support you during your time with us and in the year after you graduate to ensure that you reach the career goals that you are looking for. So what exactly does that mean?

Appointments on campus

I am based on campus for three days a week and therefore I am able to offer you appointments here. You can either phone our reception to book one of the slots on a Tuesday or Wednesday by ringing 01225 386009 (just let our enquiry team know that you are a disabled student), or you can email me (Melanie Wortham) and I can book these for you. If you are unable to make those times, then I have some flexibility on Mondays to offer you alternative appointments. So basically, we are offering you additional careers provision which will hopefully be useful in busy semesters. In vacations you will also have the support of a careers adviser, and can access appointments remotely by Skype or telephone if you prefer.

 

So why would you come and see me?!

If you just have a short query such as how to explain something on your CV, or wanted to know something about a particular occupation, then book a 15 minute appointment – that is perfectly fine. Or it may be that you are not sure of what you want to do and a 45 minute appointment may be more appropriate.

Here are 10 reasons students’ book to see a Careers Adviser:-

Get advice on their CV and applications
No idea or little idea on what you might like to do in the future
Get some ideas on work experience, and where to look
Discuss placements, internships, voluntary work
Need some help with interviews – we offer practice interviews
Job search
Looking to go into something completely out of the degree area and need advice
Being a mature student and looking for a career change
Considering Further Study
Advice on psychometric tests and assessment centres

I hope the above has given you some idea on the sorts of help and advice that we offer. However, if there are any other careers related issues you would like to discuss, then please just email me and come and chat about it! I very much look forward to meeting some of you over the coming months and years.