Jonathan: 2nd Year BSc Economics student 2017/18
Jonathan’s journey to Lancaster University
Jonathan attended a small Sixth Form with a limited choice of A level subjects and was not academically orientated until he discovered Economics. Lancaster University attracted him because it offered independent study options, which suit him better because of auditory processing issues.
Not having done either Economics or Maths at A level, Jonathan had a massive learning curve when he first started his Economics degree course and early results were not encouraging but he stuck at it and was achieving high grades by the end of his first year.
The influence of a schoolteacher lead to him being set on going into Banking, but when he got to Lancaster he found out about a wider range of finance and business-related careers. Researching options Jonathan realised that Consulting might suit him better because of the opportunity to be involved with businesses, to work for specialist smaller employers and to have more personal control over work-life balance for similar levels of pay.
Accessing support from Lancaster University Careers Services
Jonathan recommends both the on-campus workshops where Careers host visits by graduate employers and the Capital Connections Programme as good ways to get insights into a range of different graduate employment opportunities. Capital Connections gave the opportunity to visit different workplaces and hear about their graduate recruitment and development in depth. As Jonathan says, “it’s good to have the chance to find out what you don’t want to do as much as what you do!” He found participating in the Future Leaders Experiences Programme (previously known as Frontrunner) was useful in developing interpersonal and leadership skills he can use in recruitment processes as well as in work.
Careers introduced Jonathan to Upreach – a Social Mobility agency focussed around mentoring students from disadvantaged backgrounds. They assigned him a sector-specialist mentor and arranged an insight day at a ‘boutique’ City-based Strategy Consultancy then gave him advice on how to succeed in the intensive recruitment process for a Summer Internship that included psychometric tests, a written essay on a case study and interview tasks based on real-life situations. He successfully secured the internship at a specialist Strategic Consulting agency in competition with a field of other candidates predominantly from elite Universities.
Jonathan points out to other and future students that if you are expecting to go through the competitive recruitment processes for graduate opportunities, you are putting yourself at a disadvantage if you don’t participate in the development opportunities offered by Careers, because its likely most of your rival candidates will have done. He also thinks that Careers play an important role in helping students to find extra-curricular opportunities and activities while they are at university that will strengthen their CVs, as it seems graduate recruiters are often more interested in asking about these things at interview than the details of degree courses.