Guinevere shares her top tips on gaining a Tier 2 sponsored Graduate role in the UK

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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.

Guinevere Chan (second right) whilst working at the ICE club.

Guinevere Chan (second right) whilst working at the ICE club.

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
Guinevere appeared in marketing material for the university during her time in Sheffield

Guinevere appeared in marketing material for the university during her time in Sheffield with hints and tips for other students.

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. 

What happened when SHUCareers went to China…

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Our Employment Adviser Laura Kerley visited China last summer…

On 11th June 2015, the faculty of Development & Society piloted a new and innovative event in Beijing. This was no typical marketing event; its aim was two-fold. Not only did it aim to raise awareness of D&S courses, employability and associated careers; it also included an interactive training session about supporting students with career planning. China’s rapid development has led to a significant increase in the need for career guidance, a premise confirmed by university contacts in Beijing and the audience on the day. The main audience was education professionals and agents, who support both high school and university students when making choices about their future, particularly about study abroad.

I was responsible for the development and delivery of the training session, so armed with this intriguing brief, I set about doing a little research. I spoke to some Chinese students at Hallam to glean a better understanding of their experiences of careers advice and guidance before they came to the UK. A research article about career guidance for university students in China confirmed that although career guidance is becoming more prominent and professionally delivered in some educational institutions, overall it is still at a fairly elementary stage. Although the research emphasises the importance of evolving career guidance practices being tailored to specific Chinese contexts, it also acknowledges that some general principles hold true in both UK and Chinese cultures.

Vitally, the event struck a good balance between the international and Chinese context overall.

Although my UK experience underpinned the training session, it was also informed by my experience with international students. Common ground was certainly found between myself and delegates (and with the help of some brilliant interpreters!) For example, when discussing typical questions asked by students (best epitomised by the question “what should I study to help me get a good job?”), there was mutual recognition of the importance of supporting students to develop self-awareness alongside opportunity awareness. After presenting ways that this is done in the UK, some good discussions were had around relevant case studies and how these ideas could be used and adapted to the context of delegates’ working lives. Resources and websites I wanted to share were tested in advance by the trusty SHU Beijing team and worked on the day (phew!) The response to these was positive, and delegates reported that comparable national resources limited, and were keen for some to be developed. At the end of the session, I was surprised that every delegate wanted their photo taken with me. Although I like to think of this as an immediate form of feedback, I think was largely due to the fact that at 5ft 10, I was seen as unusually tall!

The national and local context was provided by a range of engaging speakers directly related to many D&S subject areas, including:

  • The role of RICS China (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) and future of Built Environment in China
  • Key attributes to be successful in the property industry (General Manager, U-Town Mall, Beijing)
  • My career development after SHU (TESOL alumni)
  • Psychology in China (Professor from the Institute of Psychlogy, Chinese Academy of Sciences)

All in all, a successful event and one I very much hope the university can build upon.

Laura Kerley

Employment Adviser, Careers and Employment

SHU is Going Global!

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Next week is GoGlobal week at Sheffield Hallam. An exciting range of events has been put together, by the International Student Support Team and the Careers and Employment service. The week will be of interest to international students, home students who would like to work abroad, and anyone who would like to find out more about other cultures and our global community.

The programme includes sessions on:

plus Tea Drinking, and Salsa…..!

To find out more about GoGlobal: SHU GoGlobal

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Grappling with Gripple – a student perspective on an employer visit

Earlier this month an excited group of ICE (International Career Enhancement) Club members went to see a successful Sheffield Manufacturing company in action to learn all about their business and how they recruit their staff.  Below Phuong Mai, MSc Logistics and Supply Chain Management student at SHU, shares her impressions of the visit to Gripple:

On 3rd Nov 2014, 20 students of Sheffield Hallam University were honoured to visit Gripple Ltd. Company in Sheffield. The company is pioneer in manufacturing “Gripple Fastener” which can be used in construction and agriculture. It was established by Mr. Hugh Facey in 1988 in Sheffield and now they became one of the leading innovation companies in United Kingdom in 2014. After 25 years, Gripple Ltd. sold more than 500 million units and went global to Europe, America, South America and India. The sustainable growth in a short time of Gripple Ltd. is worthy to learn and inspire young students.

gripple

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International Students who want good jobs choose Alliance Universities

A research report from the University Alliance shows that universities like Sheffield Hallam, part of the University Alliance group, are the destination of choice for international students whose priority is getting a good job.

Alliance universities are 24 of the UK’s most innovative and enterprising universities, and their report has found that 87% of international students studying at Alliance are studying because they want to get a good job. This is compared to an average of 83% at UK Universities overall, and in higher education globally.

The report, ‘Growing Global Graduates’ brings together 24 best-practice examples, including a case study about Sheffield Hallam University’s Venture Matrix programme, which demonstrate why Alliance Universities are so effective at equipping students for long-term employability and why students are choosing to study at them.

Libby Hackett, Chief Executive of University Alliance, said:

“Graduate careers are under the spotlight like never before. Students want to ensure their degree and time at university will help set them up for a rewarding and fulfilling career in a rapidly changing world. Students recognise the value of higher education in improving their employability and the data suggest that Alliance universities attract students particularly focused on their future careers.”