The fifth installment in our “Graduates of Global Distinction” series is from recent alumnus James Georgiou who graduated with a BSc in Business and Management 2014. James is a fantastic ambassador for NBS and UEA and during Employability Week in November 2016 he provided an inspirational talk to our students on his experiences in his graduate role during a time of seismic change in his organisation. James recommends that students should identify a mentor to bounce ideas off. At NBS every student has a personal tutor who fulfills that very role of encouraging students to set themselves personal goals and to develop subject matter expertise that can impress a graduate recruiter. James has kindly written a blog for NBS and he describes his journey in his own words.
My career has developed enormously since graduating. I was selected on to the graduate scheme of a Global IT services company; Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which has allowed me to work with a variety of industry leading clients whilst allowed me to learn from world leading industry professionals. I have seen many facets of the business from procurement to sales & marketing and have taken ownership on many important business processes which shows the trust and responsibility I have been given since joining. Also, to be part of a company that underwent the largest business separation ever, (HP to HPE) was an extremely exciting process and one in which I learnt a considerable amount from.
The most rewarding aspect of my current role is that the projects that I get assigned to can make a tangible difference to thousands if not millions of people. Some of the clients I have worked with have wanted us to develop extremely innovative proposals that allows us to think creatively yet also gives us the opportunity to do a lot of social good. My greatest achievement so far would have to be being part of the core team that was successful in winning a multimillion pound contract for a leading UK retail organisation. Another rewarding aspect to my role is the vast amount of opportunities available. I never know which project I will be assigned to next which means I could be anywhere across Europe. Also, being an American company there is always opportunity to one day work in the companies HQ in Palo Alto, California, USA which is extremely exciting.
My greatest achievement so far would have to be being part of the core team that was successful in winning a multimillion pound contract for a leading UK retail organisation.
I signed up to the UEA Career Central service. I took the offer of getting my CV critiqued whilst also signed up to their job alerts. It was their job alert that pushed me towards the job I am currently in. I am extremely grateful for the advice and guidance UEA gave me during my job search whilst studying.
During my course I had to present my work countless times and I feel this has really given me the confidence in my career to not be shy in presenting my work to a wide variety of stakeholders including senior management and to important clients. Strategic Management, Information Systems for Management and Strategic Business Decision Making are all modules which have had a real tangible effect on how I think and conduct myself in my day to day role as a Business Analyst.
Working to time schedules such as coursework deadlines gave me the important ability to time manage whilst also more importantly have the ability to ruthlessly prioritise work which is extremely important especially in business when you may have a variety of work streams that you are working toward.
Firstly, and I think most importantly, the skills I learnt have given me the confidence to proactively take charge of my career. The skills I have learnt have allowed me to understand deep complex business issues and find solutions to address those for clients and ourselves. The study of business has now turned into a passion and I enjoy reading vast amounts of business related books and blogs and now have vested interest in business around the globe.
What I learnt at University has actively allowed me to add real value to the organisation. I am often asked by Directors and subject matter experts to research particular topics and present my findings to them. This is heavily due to the skills I gathered whilst at University. To be trusted by people of this level is a testament to the skills I learnt through the Norwich Business School.
I was the supervisor of the call room that raised charitable donations for the Universities Development Office by the kind and generous alumni of our University. The skills I learnt supervising were invaluable. I learnt to lead from the front whilst realising the importance of providing clear, constant communication to management on progress. This notion has followed me in to my career and I am now adept at showcasing to management ‘progress made’ just like I had to do at University.
Playing football for the University’s football team also allowed me to learn the value of teamwork and how that replicates with your colleagues at work. Working together to achieve an outcome is a lot more beneficial than slaving away on your own
I chose to study at UEA because I was blown away by how friendly the staff and more importantly the students were when I came to the open day. I thought the accommodation was a lot nicer than some of the other universities that I visited whilst I also liked the look of Norwich City Centre.
Additionally, I noticed the trajectory trend of the University’s performance in the league tables and thought it was still on the up and by the time I left the University UEA was firmly established as a top 20 UK University which proved my hypothesis was correct!
If not already I would encourage everyone, even before getting a job to look for a mentor, someone who you can bounce ideas off in a safe confidential environment and with someone who will most importantly give you honest advice.
My tips would be that it is now not enough to just go to University and get a degree and then expect to land a job. It is what you do to supplement your degree. The best ways I believe to supplement your degree is by doing summer internships so that you come out of university with a set of experiences which can differentiate yourself. Also, to be proactive in your career. If you have already identified a role that you would like to do/work for a particular company do not be scared to reach out to people who do that role and ask what they did to get there. They may have contacts who could kindly give you support and/or guidance. Since I have been in my role I am fortunate enough to have two mentors. They give me unbiased clear cut advice on my career and even life decisions. If not already I would encourage everyone, even before getting a job to look for a mentor, someone who you can bounce ideas off in a safe confidential environment and with someone who will most importantly give you honest advice. If there are any graduates who are reading this and would like to have a chat with me I would be more than happy to spend time advising/coaching on any queries you may have and would very much enjoy sharing your journey from Student to Employment.
With many thanks to James Georgiou for contributing to the NBS Blog.
If you have graduated from NBS within the last five years or more we would love to hear from you.