Mark Farrington, Chief Operations Officer with Hewlett Packard led a valuable session on landing a graduate job and lessons on how to develop your career once in post. After outlining how HP is responding to competitive challenges and opportunities in the information technology and services sector Mark revealed the competencies HP seeks in its graduates. Reminding the audience of NBS students that the BBC programme The Apprentice is a reality TV show not a systematic representation of how established employers such as HP go about their recruitment practices, Mark stressed the importance of respecting others and being able to work in a team. Showing energy and passion were important as was the instinct to see and work to improve things from a customer’s point of view. It was an engaging talk covering how to prepare for interviews, how to use your previous experience and included anecdotes from experience at assessment centres of what not to do as well as what to do.
Mark then joined a panel of senior managers with experience hiring and working with new graduates. Mark O’Hagan Executive Officer for people and Performance at the East of England Co-Operative Society, Clive Nelson, Senior Vice-President at Marsh, Kevin Bix, Relationship Director at Barclays and Mark Body Tax Head of Group Tax Risk and Reporting at HSBC. Students quizzed the panel on a wide range of topics from whether for graduate programmes there was a difference between a 2:1 and a 1st (no), how much a post-graduate qualification helps (can do, but is a nice to have, not a requirement), and the dangers of exaggeration on your CV (significant). In an open and relaxed series of question and answer, the panel members shared experiences of hiring graduates and gave tips on how to reduce tension during the interview. In a relaxed and personal manner the panel members drew on their own recent experiences of the interview process demonstrating that the lessons they were sharing with NBS students were ones they use in the progress of their careers.