The Careers and Employability service provides students and graduates help with careers advice, CV writing, application forms, mock interviews, assessment centres, psychometric testing, skills workshops as well as in class lectures as part of your course.
Students are also able to access a dedicated Employability Adviser as well as a Careers Consultant dedicated to their course.
Guinevere Chan (Sze Kei Chan), International graduate in MSc International Business Management and was able to fully utilise these services during her time at Sheffield Hallam University.
We spoke to Guinevere recently where she updated us on how she’s progressing after graduating and her current role at PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
What made you choose to study your courses?
I chose to study a MSc programme in International Business Management at Sheffield Hallam mainly because I developed an interest in different cultures and how these differences have an impact on the interactions between people and businesses. As I was undertaking a Business and Human Resource Management course at the time, I quickly realised that I would be interested to deepen my business knowledge with an international focus.
What were your experiences of each course?
I really enjoyed being part of the course for three main reasons. First of all, the course is highly practical and we were constantly given the opportunity to apply theories and models to real life business cases, in the form of analysis, reports and presentations. Secondly, the academic staff always challenged us to think critically from different perspectives. I found that having such a mind-set has been very useful in my current job. Finally, the people who are on the course are from a range of different cultural backgrounds, which I thoroughly enjoyed and I made really good friends who I still keep in touch with today.
How did you adjust to living in Sheffield?
I also completed my undergraduate degree at Sheffield Hallam so I was already familiar with the city when I joined the master’s course. However, it was quite difficult at the beginning when I first came to the UK. The main reasons were the different education systems, cultural difference and not knowing anyone in the city.
In comparison to the Hong Kong education system, the biggest differences I found in the UK was the emphasis on autonomy in learning, critical thinking and practical applications. It seemed to me that the higher level of the qualification, the more these aspects apply to my study.
So for new students coming from Hong Kong and China, be prepared to:
- Be a lot more involved in expressing your own opinions in class
- Challenge other perspectives and be prepared to being challenged
- Take responsibility for your own learning progress
- Take part in group work
- Take initiative (e.g. be a course rep)
- Take a leadership role (e.g. leader of a group project)
- Read quality news regularly to keep up to date with what is happening (e.g. BBC News, Financial Times, Guardian)
- Develop your skill set outside the classroom through engaging with extracurricular activities
Did anything help you to adjust to UK life?
Yes, definitely. I adapted to the new city very quickly as I built my circle through taking part in the social activities at Sheffield Hallam. As time progressed, I also started to volunteer to participate in different projects and societies, through which I expanded my social circle and sharpened my skills at the same time. My favourite social activities were the day trips that are organised by the International Experience Team as I was able to travel and see more of the UK and meet new people at the same time.
Did you do any part time work whilst in the UK?
I did. I started off working in the ICE club at the university which is part of the University’s Campus Jobs (paid roles to work for the university) and later I also worked at a retail store called Argos during the summer months.
You have recently gained a Graduate role. Tell us more about this.
Company: Price Waterhouse Coopers. Role title: Associate Management Consultant
My role is part of a two year graduate scheme, in which I will have the opportunity to experience a range of different projects. My responsibilities are varied depending on the projects but a few examples would be conducting market research to identify potential clients and opportunities for the company; and assisting in designing and implementing sustainable transformation programmes for our clients.
Can you outline some of the support you received during your course from the various parts of the University?
During my four years at Sheffield Hallam, I received a lot of support from different people. The tutors helped to shape my thinking and always challenged me to achieve more than I thought I could be. The Careers Consultants and Employability Advisers helped me to build my CV and helped me to understand the steps that I needed to take to secure a job in the UK. I believe that the understanding of the UK job market is absolutely critical to landing a job as an international student. As for the International Experience Team, they offered an excellent visa advice service which helped me to understand the various types of Visas that I would need to obtain to work in the UK after graduation. Finally, taking part in the ICE club and other volunteering opportunities helped me to develop my communication skills, confidence, English language capability and to expand my network, which was also critical to my path in landing a graduate job in the UK with Tier 2 sponsorship.
What advice do you have for any other international students who are seeking a placement or graduate role in the UK?
To the international students who are looking for a placement or a graduate role in the UK, my advice would be plan ahead, make good use of the services on offer from the Careers and Employability centre, take part in extracurricular activities and gain a good understanding of the UK job market.
Here are some questions I recommend to you to get your thinking started:
- What roles and in what industry you are interested in and what skills are required for those roles?
- What kind of experiences or opportunities do you have access to right now that can help you develop those skills? (Such as volunteering, societies, part time work, internships.. etc)
- What do you know about the job market that you are interested in? (Such as who are the major companies that sponsor work visas in the UK or elsewhere, what are their recruitment processes.. etc)
- Why do you want to find a job in the UK and are you prepared to go through some of the vigorous recruitment processes involved?
All in all, landing a job in the UK as an international student can be very challenging. However, it is definitely not impossible as long as you are willing to put in great effort for preparations. If there is one thing that I want you to take away from this, it would be: Prepare, prepare and prepare!
Anything else you want to add?
I wish I had known that everything will work out eventually, and that I shouldn’t put too much stress on myself.