Olivia Dunphy – Capital Connections London

Whether you know exactly what you want to do after university,  you have no clue, or you’re somewhere in between, I’m sure Capital Connections can provide you with valuable experiences and insights. From sitting down to start my application to connecting with people on LinkedIn while I travelled home, the opportunity taught me a lot and I’m so grateful to the staff, students, and alumni who made it possible.

I knew I wanted to work in a career that allowed me to have a positive effect on the world (a rather vague and optimistic aspiration, I know, but bear with me), so I was slightly sceptical about meeting with some of the companies that seemed quite far from the charity sector. I’m glad to say that all of the employers we met with gave me worthwhile information that will definitely help me in my graduate job search.

The first visit was to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media,and Sport to talk about the Civil Service Fast Stream in the room where Churchill delivered his most famous speech. We had the opportunity to meet multiple graduates who are currently on this scheme and ask them any questions we had. What struck me about the civil service is the flexibility within their careers–there are lots of opportunities to move departments and get promotions. This is something I will look for when applying for graduate jobs.

In the evening, we took part in the networking event. I was slightly apprehensive about this aspect of the trip as I had never been to a networking event before, but because all the people there were alumni,we already had common ground and it was easy to begin conversations. There was a huge variety of job roles represented at the event –even some I didn’t know existed! Everybody I spoke to provided me with valuable information about their careers and how to get there,so now I am a lot more confident about following in their footsteps.

The first trip of the second day was to EY. I did not know much about the work they did before the talk,so I went in with quite an open mind. The office we visited was on the Thames and the view from the top floor was amazing! It was inspiring to be there, listening to alumni who were in our positions a few years ago,because it showed us that we can also achieve what they have. While I am unlikely to go into the field that EY are based in,I did find their treatment of employees very admirable. They have won multiple awards for this and I hope to work in a company that also has employee socials and volunteering as part of its business model.

After EY, we split into groups to go to Google or the BBC. I visited the BBC and got the opportunity to speak to the editor of the News at Six and Ten and the Head of the Asian Network. Both of these people are very high up in the BBC, so it was inspiring to know that they also studied English Literature at Lancaster like me. After an interesting Q&A session, we got to go down to the News Room, where staff were busy putting together all the news from around the world. We were very lucky to end the day by visiting The One Show during the recording! It was exciting to see the presenters in real life and witness the creative process behind what we see every evening.

I would whole-heartedly recommend the scheme to other students. It gave me the chance to practice applications, video interviews and networking,so that now I feel more than prepared for applying to graduate job schemes. I was also given the opportunity to be a part of the social media coverage for the trip, which made me feel like I was also contributing to the trip, as well as gaining digital experience that I can utilise in the future. All the visits were interesting and worthwhile,and given the chance,I would definitely take part again.