What can you learn from business leaders?

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Donna is a first year Business and ICT student, who took up a recent opportunity to meet business leaders at the Higher Education Academy in York. Here she tells us what she gained from the day…

Through the Careers and Employability Centre I recently had the opportunity to attend an “Experience” day at The Higher Education Academy. During the day I had meetings with the Head of Business Development, the Head of Business Administration and a Business Analyst. I also attended a Programme Board meeting, where department heads gave updates on their business areas.

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This was a fantastic opportunity for numerous reasons but primarily because it allowed me to get an idea of what future career I want to follow, as while you can read job descriptions it isn’t the same as someone sitting down with you and telling you what they do in a typical day. Secondly it allowed me to apply what I had been learning in my modules to a business setting. Being told the theory is one thing but seeing how it is applied allows you to make connections between topics that you may not have been able to do previously.

Finally being able to socialise with business executives allowed me to ask if they have any advice for me – what did they wish they had known at my age or when they were first starting out in business. They stressed to me the importance of deciding what career I wanted to follow as a target, and then I can develop my learning around this to allow me to gain the skills that match the job description of my target job. This would enable me to be the perfect candidate for when I am ready to apply.

In addition they gave me advice in terms of the importance of continuous development. There are always going to be changes or updates in your chosen field, and if you don’t keep up with them or invest your own time in attending workshops/seminars then you may become stagnant.

Finally they stressed to me the importance of social media and creating a database of contacts who could support me in my career. With this advice in mind I have attended sessions held by the Career and Employability Centre. A key workshop for me was “Learning to use Linked In” as with me being a business student this is something my future employers will check when considering hiring me and the earlier I build connections within my chosen field the more opportunities I will be made aware of.

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Another workshop I have attended is “Creating your own Brand”. I really enjoyed this as we went through creating a business persona and deciding how you want other people to view you ie. do you want someone to think you are creative? intelligent? knowledgeable?

In conclusion it was a great opportunity that taught me loads, reinforced my knowledge and allowed me to create connections with people who could help me in my future career.