Grace McSorley is a final year student who had the opportunity to attend a placement at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Here is what she had to say about her time there!
“Last month, I had the opportunity to complete a study abroad placement in Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and it was an amazing experience. The course, ‘Exploring Data through Culture’, was a great learning opportunity and it provided me with the chance to learn several new softwares, whilst equipping me with a range of new data skills and techniques.
One of the highlights was the chance to work alongside a brilliant group of students and lecturers from across the world. The team collaboration was fantastic, and together we presented a research project investigating the rise of Chat GPT and natural language processing AI within education. The insights, skills and experiences I have gained from the Summer School will be invaluable as I commence my final year of university.
Queen’s Master’s student Mohit Khandare visited Graham Construction as part of our Work Shadowing programme – an experience which eventually helped land him a graduate role as an Assistant Planner with the company. Here, he shares his story.
Every year the Careers, Employability and Skills team at Queen’s run a Work Shadowing Week 2023. The programme is an opportunity for students to get a taste of what it’s like to work in their target industry. Students spend a day shadowing professionals which helps bring a job to life and helping students to decide if a particular career is right for them. Observing professionals in the work place not only provides an early career insight, it also serves as a valuable networking platform – as Master’s student Mohit Khandare discovered when he visited Graham Construction during Work Shadowing Week.
‘I was impressed with the team’s commitment to quality
“I had the pleasure of visiting the GRAHAM Interior Fit-Out division working on the Belfast City Quays 3 site doing interior fit-out for Microsoft, B-Secur, and Aflac Northern Ireland and was thoroughly impressed with their project management and attention to detail.
“I was fascinated by the 360° view from the 12th floor, where one could see GRAHAM’s projects, which are either completed and running or in the completion phase. From partnering with global technology giants to household names in fashion, GRAHAM listens to its clients to deliver cost-effective outcomes, no matter how challenging the project may be. “I was particularly impressed with the team’s ability to creatively implement solutions that reduce cost, drive efficiency, and ensure timely delivery. Their commitment to quality and attention to detail was evident in every aspect of the interior fit-out projects I observed.
“Additionally, GRAHAM Group’s focus on structured growth and developing its interior fit-out scope indicates that they are constantly looking for ways to improve their operations and overcome any obstacles they may encounter. The visit also highlighted the importance of coordination and communication among the different trades to ensure a successful outcome.”
‘The team were happy to share their experiences and insights with me’
Having been impressed with the company, Mohit used the opportunity to make vital connections with the professionals he was shadowing. “During my visit, I had the opportunity to speak with members of the GRAHAM’s interior fit-out team and who took time out of their busy schedule to share valuable insights about the company, and on the division’s operations. They were knowledgeable and passionate about their work, and they were happy to share their experiences and insights with me. They also highlighted the importance of innovative design, value-added construction, and on-time completion, which
are all hallmarks of GRAHAM’s approach to project management. I learned a lot about the interior fit-out industry and the challenges and opportunities that come with it.
“My visit to the GRAHAM was a truly enlightening experience and an excellent opportunity to learn about the complexities of construction projects and the skills required to manage them successfully.”
“Thanks to Careers, Employability and Skills at Queen’s for giving me the opportunity to learn and gain this wonderful experience under the shadow of elite construction industry professionals.”
Taking the next step
Armed with an insight into the company, it’s values and operations, Mohit was in an advantageous position when it came to applying for a job as Assistant Planner with the company.
“I am excited to begin my journey as an Assistant Planner at GRAHAM Group’s Interior Fit-Out Division, a company known for its exceptional attention to detail and high-quality solutions in the UK and Ireland.
“As I embark on this new chapter, I can’t help but reflect on the challenges I faced during my time at Queen’s.
“It was a pivotal part of my educational journey, providing me with a global perspective that I will carry forward throughout my career.
“However, it was not without its difficulties. Adapting to a new environment, overcoming language barriers, and navigating cultural differences were just a few of the obstacles I encountered. Through determination and resilience, I was able to overcome these challenges and thrive during those tough times.
“As I begin my new role at GRAHAM, I am eager to apply the skills and knowledge I gained during my time at Queen’s and contribute to the company’s success.
“Thanks to the team at Careers, Employability and Skills for their never ending support and motivation throughout the journey at Queen’s.
“As I take on my new responsibilities as an Assistant Planner, I am eager to learn and grow in this role. I am confident that with the support of the team at GRAHAM we will achieve great success together.”
Claudine Sutherland an Employer Engagement Consultant from Careers, Employability and Skills who runs Work Shadowing Week says: “Work Shadowing Week brings students and employers together in a meaningful way which can be so beneficial as Mohit’s story demonstrates. Mohit had a fantastic experiential day and it’s great news that he has now landed a role as an Assistant Planner as a result.”
Could you join a student team and tackle a real challenge facing a client or organisation? Hear from the students that did!
Students gained a different type of work experience by providing a consultancy service to real clients and working on a real challenge that those clients face.
They worked in a project team with other students from different disciplines and were facilitated through a Design Thinking process to resolve the client’s problem.
This programme provided students with practical experience for developing these Future-Ready Skills: Interpersonal Skills, Commercial Awareness, Initiative, Innovation and Creativity.
Brian Conway – Mechanical Engineering
“My favourite part of the experience was the multidisciplinary aspect. From an engineering background, I think it was interesting to learn about Finance, Marketing, other people’s courses and how they can bring their knowledge to the course as well”
Xinxin Wang – International, Commercial and Business Law
“I learned creative thinking skills to use my imagination in consulting projects and cooperation skills to persuade people to accept my ideas and I will accept the others also”
Hannah McConville – Planning, Environment and Development
“The best part of this week has definitely been meeting new people and putting everybody’s ideas together. I’ve also found it very refreshing taking a break from revising and placement and things like that. So yeah, I’ve definitely enjoyed it
Mary McCormick – Biological Sciences
A big one has definitely been able to collaborate with new people to create new, innovative ideas.
Missed this event? Check out other QUB Careers Events here
At Queen’s University Belfast, the Future-Ready Skills for Leaders programme has made a significant impact on students’ personal and professional development. Participants of the program have shared their positive feedback, highlighting the transformative nature of the experience. In this blog post, we will delve into the students’ feedback and explore the valuable lessons they gained from the programme. Their testimonials demonstrate the program’s effectiveness in fostering growth, building confidence, and preparing students for future career success.
A Journey of Self-Discovery: Many students expressed how the programme provided them with insights into their own strengths and areas for improvement. They appreciated the thought process behind each activity, which kept them engaged and motivated throughout the three-day duration. The experience pushed them out of their comfort zones, leading to personal growth and an enhanced understanding of themselves.
What our students say: “Participating in the Future-Ready Program has been an incredible journey for me. It taught me so much about myself, my strengths, and areas for improvement.”
Importance of Teamwork and Communication: Students recognized the significance of teamwork, communication, and collaboration through their participation in real-world problem-solving activities. They appreciated the opportunity to work with peers from different degree backgrounds, which provided them with a diverse range of ideas and perspectives. The programme emphasized the value of effective communication and showcased the power of working together as a team.
What our students say: “This was a significant learning experience as it taught me the importance of teamwork, communication, and collaboration. We got to work on real-world problems and provided solutions that were innovative and practical.”
Confidence Boost and Leadership Skills: The Future-Ready programme played a crucial role in boosting students’ confidence and developing their leadership skills. Engaging in activities such as pitch presentations and marketing presentations helped students realize their communication abilities and the impact they could make through their speeches. This newfound confidence encouraged them to pursue more opportunities and take on challenging situations without panicking.
What our students say: “I learned that my communication skills were in fact good and that I was making a genuine impact with my speech. This was a real eye-opener for me because it increased my confidence as a person to pursue more opportunities in the field.”
Networking and Connections: Participants appreciated the opportunity to network with peers from different cultural and professional backgrounds, as well as with teachers and mentors beyond their campus. The diversity of ideas and perspectives enriched their experience and expanded their professional network. They recognized the value of these connections in both their career and personal life.
What our students say: “I have made some real connections that are going to be an add-on to my career as well as my personal life.”
Real-World Relevance and Transferable Skills: Students acknowledged the practicality and real-world relevance of the skills they acquired during the programme. They learned to handle complex tasks, manage unforeseen circumstances, and deliver professional projects with tight deadlines. The development of critical abilities such as problem-solving, negotiation, time management, and communication has equipped them to excel in future endeavours.
What our students say: “These learned skills are transferable to real-world scenarios as they will help me to deliver professional projects and tasks with tight deadlines. This would eventually help me to handle complex tasks and projects with deadlines in the future.”
Summary: The Future-Ready Skills for Leaders programme at Queen’s has empowered students to discover their strengths, improve their communication and leadership skills, embrace teamwork, expand their network, and develop transferable skills. By participating in this transformative experience, students have gained the confidence and readiness to face future challenges and excel in their professional lives. The Future-Ready programme continues to be a valuable opportunity for students seeking personal and professional growth.
All students are eligible including undergraduates, postgraduates, part-time and full-time students. We’ve created the grants in partnership with Santander Universities with the specific aim of supporting you through your studies, at a time when personal finances are stretched. You could spend your grant on study resources or use it towards living expenses over the summer break.
To apply, you must visit the Santander Scholarships platform and register for an account, if you haven’t already. After applying you will receive a confirmation email and then you can apply for the Brighter Futures Grants initiative. On the application form, you must choose Queen’s University Belfast.
Although this initiative has been built in partnership with Santander Universities, you do not need to be a Santander customer to apply. You must apply before 11pm on 30 June 2023. Once applications have closed, we’ll pick 10 students at random.
This is a unique opportunity and just one of the many ways we’re working with internal and external partners to support our students with their finances. Be sure to share this with coursemates, housemates or anyone else who might be eligible.
Órnaith Ní Fhearghail is ainm dom agus is mac léinn mé in Ollscoil na Banríona. Tá mé i mbliain na céime, ag déanamh buncéime i gCaidreamh Idirnáisiúnta agus sa Ghaeilge. An seimeastar seo, bhí deis agam modúl úrnua a ghlacadh mar chuid den chúrsa Gaeilge, Gairmeacha le Gaeilge (CEL 3010). Cuireadh an modúl ar fáil den chéad uair riamh i mbliana, agus is iontach an deis í do mhic léinn a bhfuil suim acu a bheith ag obair trí mheán na Gaeilge sa todhchaí.
Gach Aoine, téann an rang uilig ar thaithí oibre sna háiteanna éagsúla atá roghnaithe againn, agus gach coicís, bíonn seimineár againn le comhordaitheoir an mhodúil, Dr. Síobhra Aiken. Sna seimineáir seo, bíonn plé á dhéanamh againn faoin taithí oibre go dtí seo, faoi dheiseanna fostaíochta atá ann agus an Ghaeilge agat (mar shampla, bhí ceardlann faoin aistriúchán againn leis an Dr. Órla Nic Ruairí, a oibríonn san Aontas Eorpach), agus faoi na scileanna éagsúla a bhaineann leis an domhan ghairmiúil.
An próiseas cuardaigh
I rith an tsamhraidh, bhí ar an rang uilig ár dtaithí oibre féin a eagrú go neamhspleách le gnó éigin a mbaintear úsáid as an Ghaeilge ann mar theanga oibre. D’aistrigh mé mo CV ón Bhéarla go dtí an Ghaeilge agus sheol mé ríomhphoist chuig áiteanna oibre éagsúla a raibh suim agam a bheith ag obair iontu, agus murar sheol siad freagra chugam, chuir mé scairt orthu. Ba thaithí ar leith í an próiseas cuardaigh féin, agus bhí sé tábhachtach a bheith daingean.
Sa deireadh, shocraigh mé le Raidió Fáilte – an stáisiún lán-Ghaeilge atá lonnaithe i mBéal Feirste – go ndéanfainn mo thaithí oibre leo.
Raidió Fáilte – cad chuige?
Roghnaigh mé Raidió Fáilte toisc go bhfuil suim ar leith agam sna meáin, agus chun fáil amach an bhfuil oiriúnach do phost sna meáin Ghaeilge. Anuas air sin, ní raibh mórán muiníne agam as mo chuid Gaeilge labhartha, agus b’iarracht í an taithí oibre seo feabhas a chur uirthi.
An sórt taithí a fhaighim
Níl mo thréimhse i Raidió Fáilte críochnaithe go fóill, ach fuair mé neart deiseanna agus traenála ann cheana féin. Bhí mé beo ar an aer mar agallaí dhá uair sa chéad lá a bhí mé ann, baisteadh tine gan amhras! Ach taithí mhaith a bhí ann, agus ón tseachtain sin amach, bíonn seans agam (agus ag an chailín eile atá i mo rang agus a dhéanann a taithí oibre in éineacht liom) a bheith ar an aer i rith an chláir ‘Beo ar Maidin’. Ar dtús, bhí muidne mar agallaithe, ach le déanaí bhí deis againn a bheith inár n-agallóirí – bhí sé sin i bhfad níos deacra, ach ba thaithí thábhachtach í, más rud é go mbeidh mé ag leanúint ar aghaidh le cúrsaí na meán amach anseo. Is deis foghlama í gach aon mheancóg a dhéanaim!
Chuir mé mo chlár ceoil féin le chéile fosta – d’fhoghlaim mé caidé mar a bhaintear úsáid as na cnaipí uilig agus as an chóras atá in úsáid ar ríomhairí an stáisiúin. Ní shílim go bhfuil mórán suime agam sna gnéithe teicniúla sin, ach tá sé riachtanach an buneolas sin a bheith agam, agus úsáideach, cinnte. Bíonn mórán saoirse agam mo smaointe féin a fhorbairt maidir le cláir; faoi láthair tá mé ag obair ar chlár a chuir mé le chéile liom féin faoi roinnt ceoltóirí Éireannacha éagsúla a bhfuil Gaeilge acu (mar sin bhí siad ábalta agallaimh a dhéanamh liom). Ba mhaith liom clár eile a dhéanamh faoi thionchairí na Gaeilge chomh maith, ach seans mór nach mbeidh an t-am agam roimh chríoch mo thréimhse i Raidió Fáilte.
Tairbhe an mhodúil
Tá mórán buntáistí a bhaineann leis an mhodúl seo. Mar a luaigh mé thuas, bíonn neart deiseanna foghlama ar fáil san áit féin a ndéanann tú do thaithí oibre ann, agus faigheann tú léargas ar an tslí bheatha a bhfuil suim agat inti. Sna ceardlanna, faigheann tú léargas ar shlite beatha eile nach mbaineann leis an taithí oibre atá roghnaithe agat, ach, b’fhéidir, a bhfuil suim éigin agat iontu. Is féidir leat tuairim níos feasaí a bheith agat, mar thoradh, faoi na poist a bheidh uait amach anseo.
Bíonn deiseanna aga naisc a chruthú, fosta, le daoine ón phobal Ghaelach a mbuaileann tú leo i rith na taithí oibre. Ní hamháin go bhfuil na naisc sin úsáideach faoi láthair agus mise mar bhall de choiste an Chumainn Ghaelaigh, ach beidh sé tábhachtach amach anseo gan aon agó.
My name is Órnaith Ní Fhearghail and I’m a student at Queen’s. I’m in the final year of my undergraduate degree in International Relations and Irish. This semester, I had the opportunity to take a brand new module as part of my Irish course, Gairmeacha le Gaeilge (Professions in Irish; CEL 3010). The module was made available for the first time ever this year, and it’s an excellent chance for students who are interested in working through the medium of Irish in the future.
Every Friday, the whole class goes on work experience in the various places that they’ve chosen, and every fortnight, we have a seminar with the coordinator of the module, Dr Síobhra Aiken. In these seminars, we discuss our work experience until now, employment opportunities that are available when you can speak Irish (for example, we had a workshop with Dr. Órla Nic Ruairí, who works in the European Union, about translation), and the various skills relating to the professional world.
The searching process
During the summer, we (the class) had to organise our work experience independently, with businesses in which Irish is used as their working language, I translated my CV from English to Irish and sent emails to a variety of workplaces that interested me, and if they didn’t send an answer, I rang them. This searching process was a particular experience in itself, and it was important to be determined.
In the end, I decided with Raidió Fáilte – the Irish-language radio station situated in Belfast – that I would carry out my work experience with them.
Raidió Fáilte – why?
I chose Raidió Fáilte because I have a particular interest in the media, and I was hoping to find out whether I’m suitable for a job in Irish-language media. On top of that, I didn’t have a lot of confidence in my spoken Irish, and my work experience was an effort to improve it.
The sort of experience I get
My time at Raidió Fáilte isn’t finished yet, but I’ve already gotten a wealth of opportunities and training. I was live on air as an interviewee twice on my first day there, a baptism of fire without a doubt! However, it was a great experience, and since that week, I get the opportunity to go on air during the programme ‘Beo ar Maidin’ (as does the other girl in my class who does her work experience there with me). At the start, we were the interviewees, but recently we’ve gotten to be interviewers – that was a lot harder, but it was an important experience, if I’m to continue on in the media in the future. Every mistake I make is a learning opportunity!
I put my own music show together as well – I learned how to use the buttons and the sound system that’s used on the station’s computers. I don’t think I have much interest in the technical aspects, but it’s necessary to have that foundational knowledge, and useful, of course. I have a lot of freedom to develop my own ideas relating to shows; at the moment, I’m working on a programme I put together by myself about a few Irish musicians who speak Irish (which meant I was able to interview them). I would like to put a show together about Irish-language influencers, but chances are I won’t have time for that before the end of my time at Raidió Fáilte.
Benefits of the module
This module has a lot of advantages. As I’ve discussed above, a range of learning opportunities are available in the place where you do your work experience, and you can get an insight into the career of your interest. In the seminars and the workshops, you get an insight into the other careers that don’t relate to your work experience but, maybe, still interest you somewhat. You can have a more informed opinion, as a result, about the jobs you’d like down the line.
You get opportunities to create links, too, with people of the Irish community that you meet during your work experience. Not only are these links useful to me right now while I’m a committee member of An Cumann Gaelach, but I have no doubt that they’ll be important to me in the professional world, too.
Beth MacDougall from EY delivered a session on Resilience. Here are the top takeaways.
Its normal to be nervous
“The one thing that terrified me literally more than anything was what am I gonna do for work. How am I gonna go into the workplace with this really strange title, this really long list of symptoms? And a degree that I don’t know how to be of use anymore and no experience. I was completely shook. I was absolutely terrified because all I wanted to do was work.”
But Beth goes on to say…
“I wish that I could go back to myself six years ago and say it’s going to be okay. It’s gonna be fine.”
Challenge = Change
“I learned that it is absolutely OK to challenge things in a process or on an application form, or in a procedure that you feel like you’re going to make you feel disadvantaged or unfair. There were plenty of times in an application form that actually will ask you to disclose a disability way before the ‘do you have a disability question’…that was my first lesson that it’s okay to challenge things. And that it’s the only way that we’re going to change things, by challenging and by asking the questions.”
People’s opinions are not your reality
“I remember the first time that I spoke with someone about my disability in a workplace, they actually told me that I was a health and safety risk, and it was selfish of me to be wanting to work in a workplace environment, after speaking to me for all of 2/3 minutes. I just wanted to have a conversation and explain, you know, but I can do this! But then why do I have to explain something? Why am I defined by this label that I have attached to me?”
Beth then speaks about how working as a recruiter allows her to speak to a range of people from all works of life
“We can learn from so many different people by having those conversations and again as recruiters we are in that position where we can constantly speak to a diverse group of people and learn from every single one of them. Giving someone a voice, really means that person is going to be able to bring their true authentic best self to the workplace.”
Play to your strengths (and find out how to play to your strengths!)
“Strength-based recruitment was definitely my friend…We might not have as much experience as persons who don’t have disabilities because it’s been harder for us to get that 0r maybe we’ve needed to take a break at times”
“So strength-based recruitment for me was so powerful in terms of I knew I didn’t have the experience that probably everyone else applying for this job did. I actually had no recruitment experience. I had plenty of student experience, plenty of mental health, well-being, events, development – but it was all dotted around different areas. I could only get small different bits of experience in different ways. I didn’t really know how to combine that. Until, I spoke to someone who help me do that”
Be proud and honest of who you are
“My interview at EY was actually the first time I ever disclosed my disability in an interview, outright. First question, “what are your motivations for EY” – well I have a disability. Straight up there. I’ve heard about this and this is why I did it because EY’s brand was all about a culture of belonging – our world your way. And I really truly believe that. I could see the images I could see the stories and I could see the things EY were doing to support people like me.”
“70% of people with a disability actually have an invisible disability which brings its own challenges. You can hide that until you get into your workplace, but if without disclosing a disability it’s very hard to get the support that you might need to be able to thrive and employ yourself the way that you want to.”
Who you are will show in what you do
Beth speaks about how people with different disabilities are often overlooked for employment and workplace stigma towards those disabilities
“People with disabilities are the largest pool of untapped talent. And that is because we do have, again those natural barriers, and sometimes that natural stigma of – traditionally disabled has meant something that someone cannot do.Whereas I would challenge that… people with disabilities are nature’s greatest problem solvers. We have to learn to live in a world that isn’t actually built always for us. We have to find different ways to do things. Which kind of brings me to my final point in terms of people with disabilities are some of the most valuable workforce that you can bring into an organisation. Those qualities of resilience communication, because you’re constantly having to communicate things, and ask for things and explain. Problem solving, creativity innovation, you name it, a person with a disability has to show that every single day in their life.”
As F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, “It’s a funny thing about comin’ home. Looks the same, smells the same, feels the same. You’ll realize what’s changed is you.”
Canada has always been on my travel list; known for its great outdoors, safe multicultural cosmopolitan cities, and friendly people. Engaging with people who had visited, Canada was always described to me as one of those places thats experience is nearly impossible to describe and after visiting once you’ll want to return.
So when the Mitacs Globalink Research Internship was released, it posed as an opportunity to spend up to 12 weeks researching in a country on my bucket list. And when people ask why I applied, I say why not, because I had so much to gain from this opportunity and little to lose.
I first applied for the Mitacs Globalink Research Internship in 2020 however was unsuccessful in my application. Fortunately, due to a change in my degree programme I became re-eligble to apply and reapplied in August 2021. Receiving, notification in September that my application had been nominated for the programme I began the process of filling out the application form, detailing experience I had gained from work experience the year before and what skills I could bring to the programme. With my application submitted it, I was left to wait to see if any Canadian professors would contact me. I was fortunate to be contacted by two professors in November to further discuss their projects and my suitability.
By December, I had been selected and confirmed my place on the 2022 Globalink Research Internship.
From January through to departure in May, I organised my flights, housing, visa, starting/ finishing dates for the internship, and a small amount of currency. Connecting with my supervisor during this process made it feel less intimidating as I was able to ask questions or express queries.
Before I knew it May had arrived, and I was stood at the airport waiting to depart on one of my biggest adventures yet. An 8 hour flight, and 2 hour immigration wait later, I was in Toronto.
The first week, I was provided with a tour around the faculty, opened up a bank account, and familiarised myself with the campus. I was able to meet my supervisor and research team in person as well as start on my project. Over the next 10 weeks I was able to develop a general research topic of Micro-structural analysis of advanced composite structures, into a working conference and journal paper focusing on Investigation of impact response of 2D braided hybrid composites using Micro-CT. Throughout the project I was able to develop my knowledge of braided composites, non-destructive analysis, and composite sample manufacturing.
Alongside researching, I took the time to explore the city of Toronto through events such as Toronto Pride, Canada Day at Woodbine Beach, and a Blue Jays game at the Rogers Centre. These formed some of the key highlights of my internship in addition to trying different foods and visiting the key tourist attractions such as the CN Tower, Casa Loma, and the Aquarium.
As the end of July approached, I realised I had learnt more, made international friends, gained new experiences, and stepped out of my comfort zone to my growth zone. It’s an experience I will always look back on fondly and would encourage people to take as many opportunities to develop themselves personally and professionally.
Ask for help
Take time to explore where you are, it’s easy to get stuck in work
Keep in contact with your support network back home
Take lots of photos and videos
Plan in advance especially housing, visas, flights, packing.
Insight into Management is a program that allows you to experience and understand what it’s like to work in industry. You’re given a case study and told to come up with a product that will solve a problem. It’s a great opportunity to work with people from a diverse range of University degree backgrounds on a common goal, in order to solve a complex problem that interests you and your team!
It’s a chance to be creative, express your ideas and learn from other people’s ideas that, you don’t usually work with on University group projects from within your own degree area so, you really get an insight on how other people think and approach problems.
Perfecting your sales pitch
The highlight of the program for me was the sales pitch at the end of the program. Sales pitch sounds like a scary word, but it was more like an exhibition where you got to see what all other teams had been working on for the past few days. It’s also an opportunity for you and your team to come together one last time to create your stand to show off what you had been working on too!
The programme was challenging, but in a good way that will definitely help you to grow as an individual. You learn so much, from being able to quickly establish a common ground with people you’ve never met before to solving a problem within a quick timeframe.
Learning to manage
I developed lots of skills during the programme. The title ‘Insight into Management’ is very well fitted as I feel you 100% develop the skills required to manage a team and a project as well as skills that leaders have; active listening, creativity, team building, communication, patience, empathy, flexibility, product development, innovation, persuasion, time management, presentation skills to name a few.
Using the skills after Uni
I’ve used the skills I developed on Insight into Management many times since I finished the programme. Firstly, it helped me with my final year project as my final year project required me to work as part of a team and develop a solution to a problem. In my job now too, I work with other companies on projects, and this requires me to be able to understand other people’s points of view and not be shy when meeting new people. I regularly present in my job now too, so having to do the final sales pitch in the programme helped me develop presentation skills in front of people who I may not know. I think all the experiences and skills you learn through this programme will help you in one way or another in your future career.
Advice for students
Give it your all for the 3 days! Be immersed in the programme and try develop the skills that you may not be so confident in because it’s the best place to do it. Be open minded and learn from people who you might not usually interact with (people with different degree backgrounds to yours).
MSc. Business Analytics graduate Sneha Parajuli is now a Strategic Management Analyst at KTP. Here is how she got there…
Describe your career path to date.
After finishing my Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from my home country Nepal, I was working as a Data Quality Analyst over there. My original plan was to complete my Masters and then go back to Nepal to apply my learnings. I had multiple job offers there, but right after I submitted my dissertation, the KTP role caught my attention. The role was somewhat related to my dissertation, so I decided to give it a shot. Through a series of virtual interviews during the pandemic, I was able to get more info about the goals of KTP partner company SDG and how my analytical, marketing and data-science skills align to drive that goal. Soon after the interview, I was told I had been successful, and I would be starting in January next year. The job began with few weeks of university and company inductions and product trainings. With plenty of support from both my company and university supervisors, I feel like I have adjusted well to the role now and I love my new job!
The idea that I will be able to solve the business goal of the company all while being supervised by expert faculties is what intrigued me. On one hand, I had the fresh ideas from my graduate program that I was hungry to apply in the real world, and on the other hand, the fact that I would be under the supervision of the faculty with the proven records; and that is exactly what I need at this point. Owning and managing a challenging project which is central to the strategic development and long-term growth of the business all while receiving full support from brilliant supervisors at Queen’s? COUNT ME IN!
What is your current role like? What about it makes you want to get up in the morning?
Currently I have been working mostly on capturing the overall view of how things currently work within the business, analysing it, developing, and recommending new models/strategies which requires a lot of interaction with the team. The amount of support I have received from the team here at SDG and my supervisors is incredible and I am always motivated to do more.
What does an average week look like for you?
My main goal has been about providing strategic analysis on different areas of SDG. That goal has wider scope, and my week is all about solving a subproblem from that big scope of work. This means I take part in the thoughtful discussions and meetings with the respective stakeholders, and design data-driven models as needed. Moreover, KTP has this amazing program for personal development, which I constantly use to improve my leadership, management, personal effectiveness and more through online courses throughout the week as a part of my mandatory KTP module.
What is the most challenging part of the job?
Because I “own” my own project, sometimes this can be stressful as I have to work under tight deadlines and get the work done on time. The project I am working on is something entirely new to the business and the business is changing rapidly which means it doesn’t always work out as we want it to. But with the support of my supervisors both in SDG and Queen’s as well as the team at work, we manage to get the work done.
What is the most rewarding?
Even though it has only been about four months into this role, I feel like being able to take charge and manage my own project ultimately working towards bringing a transformative, long lasting change within the organisation all while implementing what I have learned throughout my academic journey has been the best experience of my KTP journey so far. Not only this, I have also met so many talented individuals through KTP network where associates working in different companies across the UK share their experiences which is really exciting.
What are your career aspirations? What are your goals?
I believe I have a long way to go and want to keep learning more and keep developing my skills. I hope to continue working as a Strategic Analyst at least for a few years as I really love what I do. I would also love to learn more project management skills and work in a higher-level position someday.
In what way do you feel like you’re making a difference in your job?
I have received a lot of feedback about how my project, with new and innovative ideas, has brought a positive change in the business. I can also see how the business has started to incorporate a lot of my recommendations and is slowly changing to smarter ways of working and I feel like getting to be a part of this is very rewarding.
What expectations did you have about this career path that you have found differed from reality – either good or bad?
I have some experience of working a corporate job for a big company in Nepal and I felt like working for KTP is going to be somewhat similar. But I was so wrong in this regard as KTP offers so much more. KTP encourages the associates to spend approximately 10% of their time on training and development activities to help them gain valuable skills for their personal development and prepare for the future. In fact, we are also given a separate training and development budget which I think is huge.
What skills did you learn at Queen’s that have helped you in your career?
During my time at Queen’s, both as a student and working as an international ambassador, I learned a lot about time management, working under strict deadlines, teamwork, and most of my analytical skills from my course.
What advice do you have for students and graduates wanting to apply for a KTP?
Always keep being updated with the KTP openings and keep an eye out to something that interests you. Never hesitate to apply even if you think you won’t make it as there’s always a possibility that you will. Coming from someone who didn’t even think of working in the UK, I ended up getting the job I always wanted, and I am so happy I applied. KTP is much more than just a regular job, you will learn so much throughout your journey, hone your skills in so many areas and it will definitely be worth it.
How did your Queen’s experience help your personal and professional development?
Getting a master’s degree from Queen’s has been an added bonus for me in so many ways. Not just the technical knowledge from the course, I also undertook multiple leadership courses like Master your Leadership, Inspiring leaders, and Leadership in Practice which definitely helped me develop my personal skills, improve my communication and also enhance my leadership capabilities which I think instilled so much confidence in me.
What’s the one thing you’ll never forget about your time at Queen’s?
Actually, there are two – Sleepless nights during dissertation (which became so much rewarding to me later) and Graduation day as it was the day I finished my degree and was so happy!
Interested in KTP at Queen’s? KTP will feature on our @QUBCareers Instagram during the week commencing 19 July talking about creativity and lateral thinking. Visit the Gradfest2021 site to find out more.