Final year students of ‘International Management & Modern Languages’ (IMML) at Bath University had the chance to speak to three graduates and hear their career stories and tips on how to capitalise on study and year abroad experiences in the future.
Big thanks to Assya, Ben and Rob for inspiring talks and great tips.
Assya – FIMML graduate 2017, Business Development Manager, Waze - France
Assya did a 12 months placement in France and after graduation went back there to enrol on an apprentice track, where she studied for a Master while working for a company, BNP Paribas, at the same time. There may be similar options in other European countries.
Tips for your future career:
- Networking: Keep in touch with everyone you meet during your year abroad, with your professors and year abroad mentors at university. Network with fellow students to share ideas and contacts, and with alumni, using Bath Connection and LinkedIn.
- Choosing electives: Choose electives in your final year to specialise in something that you found interesting in your year abroad.
- Your experience during covid-19: Highlight your year abroad experience in job applications, the skills you have acquired while working from home and be proud of the challenges you have overcome in the last few months!
- Career planning: Plan and anticipate your career early, don’t leave it to the last minute. It is not just black or white, there are many different pathways for work or study. Don’t stress about finding the dream job right away, follow your own path, set long-term goals, then take small steps and lay out a plan. Don’t compare yourself with your friends and what they are doing. Do what is right for you, grad schemes aren’t for everyone!
Ben – SPIMML graduate 2017, Project Coordinator to the Chairman, Quiñenco S.A. - Investment Management, Chile
Ben did a placement with the Business Chamber in Chile and moved back there after graduation to take up a job with his placement company. He has stayed there ever since, working in different roles in private and public sector, such as marketing and comms, project advisor, enquiry manager at the Chamber, Department of International Trade & Office of the Chairman.
Tips for your future career:
- Networking: Most of his jobs came through networking. He got his first graduate role after contacting a former colleague just for a chat, and he was headhunted through LinkedIn for his last job. If, like Ben, you don’t like networking, be aware of how valuable it is and find your own way of doing it. Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date!
- Skills learnt on placement: Networking, office and remote working, confidence working with people – every job teaches you valuable skills, even if you didn’t like it or don’t want to work in that sector. What you learnt in your year abroad will be more important than what you did. Keep a log of examples and stories from your year abroad in a STAR approach – ready for applications and interviews!
- Your experience during covid-19: Change is a constant in the world of work and you have just overcome many challenges. Focus on the soft transferable skills that you have learnt, e.g. showing empathy in the workplace, collaborating with others, being adaptable to change, communicating virtually.
- Choosing electives: Ben didn’t focus on one specialism in his final year, he chose several different ones to learn a wide range of work topics that enhanced his employability. He is still using the analytical skills today, that he learnt in case study projects at university.
- Career planning: Don’t rush, there isn’t just one right way of graduating, consider different paths, not just grad schemes. Many different opportunities are out there that can come up at any moment. Don’t sacrifice your values for working for a big-name company. Think about what you want to achieve in life and follow that goal. Learn from your experiences, take risks and find new perspectives. Whatever you do, continue learning and broadening your mind!
Rob – GIMML graduate 2009, Founder and Manager of AppLingua Ltd, UK
Rob did his year abroad at a marketing agency in Germany – the best year of his life. However, he didn’t realise how much he had learnt from it until some years later. Rob graduated in a recession, a stressful time when lots of grad schemes were rescinded and he lost his own offer because of it. He sees the parallels with what students are going through now. Not knowing what to do after graduation, he went back to Germany to find work. He learnt new skills, got promotions and kept on networking. After 18 months in a job he didn’t enjoy, he took the risk and walked out - 3 days later he started a translation agency for apps and websites. Rob has loved running his own company with the freedom this gives him. He can work from anywhere and has travelled a lot.
Tips for your future career:
- Networking: Networking is key. Keep in touch with fellow students and people you meet along the way, you never know who may help you in the future. Be a mentor for someone, if you open doors for others, they will return the favour.
- Skills learnt during year abroad/study: What he learnt on the IMML degree gave him the skills to run his own company. He could never have done it without the hands-on experience of project management on his placement.
- Your experience during covid-19: Having adapted to challenging circumstances stands you in good stead in interviews and jobs. Remote working and learning will be essential in the future - you know how to do this already!
- Career planning: Every situation presents new opportunities e.g. further study, starting own company, paid internships, volunteering, digital freelancing, starting a community interest company – if you can’t find a job there will always be something to learn. You may have to move sideways to move forward, take a different path to get where you want to be. Different work experiences will teach you different things. Education is important but experience is paramount. Don’t make all your decisions on your own, learn and share with others.
And a final tip from all:
Opportunities appear at any time, your career isn’t structured, it is an open book, try different things and think about what you enjoy doing. There isn’t just one way of doing things and change always happen. Don’t worry, things will sort themselves out. Be proactive and keep learning!
Careers Service also thanks School of Management for support with editing of this blog post and for the invite to their alumni event.