Hope everyone enjoyed the Career Fairs last week. Speaking to recruiters I kept thinking how difficult it is to stand out from the crowd – lots of students have a good honours degree, are involved in clubs or societies and have some part-time work experience. To paraphrase ‘The Incredibles’ – if everyone is special that’s another way of saying no one is. However, one good way to set you apart from the pack could be through entering student competitions.
Why should you enter? First off, student competitions are unique opportunities to win prizes such as a cash sum or an equally (possibly more?) valuable internship with an employer. By entering you can also develop skills in key competencies all employers look for, such as commercial awareness, team working, project management and so on. If you do well – or even win – it will look great on your CV too. Don’t forget, you can have a lot of fun working with like-minded people on a competition and you’ll also get a great a sense of achievement.
Don’t just take my word for it though – listen to the experiences of 3 Queen’s students who entered competitions.
Caron Malone, an Electrical and Electronic Engineering student at Queen’s entered a competition run by nPower and ended up on the trip of a lifetime to Antarctica! She says:
“I got involved in the nPower competition after seeing it advertised on the internet. [Our team] got through to the final 10 teams in the UK in the competition. We went over to London for the final in December where the winning team would be announced.”
Caron’s team were highly commended, and following this, she had the opportunity to go to Antarctica –if she could raise £15,000 in a month!
“I immediately started looking for sponsorship and after a load of hard work, determination and support from the University I was able to raise the funds to pay for my place on the expedition…Antarctica is beautiful, incredible, untouched and extra-ordinary!.. I had the most amazing experience of my life-one which I think will be very hard to top!..Of course none of it would have been possible if I had not taken part in the nPower competition. I got so much out of taking part…I developed so much as a person, I learnt how determined I can be and how when I really set my sights to something I can achieve it.”
Andrew Johnston was a 2nd-year Queen’s Accountancy student when he won the inaugural Deloitte Student of the Year Business Competition earlier this year. He was selected by Sebastian Coe to attend the Singapore Youth Olympic Games this summer and gained two weeks’ paid work experience in Deloitte’s London 2012 team. He says:
“The Deloitte Business Competition was the first competition I entered as a student. The prize of paid business experience and travelling was amazing and it was definitely worth entering the competition. I have since noticed that there are a lot of competitions available to students”
Finally, Vincent Murray is a Queen’s graduate of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering and is now with the Enterprise Unit in the Students’ Union. He won the Queen’s Student of the Year competition this year and says:
”Winning the Queen’s Student of the Year competition was a fantastic experience for me, raised the profile of some projects that I am involved with and helped me gain extra-curricular achievements which are priceless in a difficult job market. There’s so many great competitions available to students, some with great prize money, students really have nothing to lose by entering.”
So, if you haven’t previously considered student competitions, weren’t aware of them or maybe thought they weren’t worth entering in case you didn’t win – think again. Here are a couple of competitions available to enter now:
Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year – a chance to win an internship with one of the employers who are finalists in this Programme. Careers have a further info session on how what this is about and how to enter this Friday, 29 Oct 10-11am in the SGC. Sign up at the Events Calendar. Details of programme at www.eoy.tv/win.php
Accenture Leaders of Tomorrow Award – The overall winner will take part in the Accenture Leadership Experience, including a trip to New York to meet a number of business leaders and an internship within Accenture’s consultancy practice. Careers are also running a further info session on this on Friday 29 Oct 11.30am-12.30pm in the SGC. Again, sign up at the Events Calendar. Further details at https://microsite.accenture.com/leaders-of-tomorrow-award/Pages/default.aspx