Graduates of Global Distinction is the title of our 2020 Employability Strategy and our best graduates whether they are UG, MSc, MBA or PhD can succeed in public, private or the third sectors. They possess a “can do” attitude and have resilience by the bucket load.
Our ninth in our series of “Graduates of Global Distinction” features Andrew Brown a 2015 NBS graduate with a BSc in Business Management. Andrew wasn’t deterred by not securing his dream job of a graduate role in one of the “The Big 4” Accounting and Consulting firms upon graduation. The big 4 are EY, Deloitte, PwC and KPMG they are global organisations and competition for graduate roles is very fierce with UG, MSc and MBA graduates. The good news for NBS students is that we are developing a strengthening relationship with the big 4 and they are a key feature of our annual Employability Week.
Andrew took advantage of our Graduate Trainee Management Scheme (GTMS) in 2015 and secured a role at Banham Zoo working closely with CEO Martin Goymour. Martin has been closely associated with NBS since he attended our first business breakfast in November 2014. This blossoming relationship between NBS and Banham Zoo has included MBA consultancy projects and sponsored employability prizes .
Andrew has also played his part in developing our continued relationship with Banham Zoo by appearing on Norfolk’s Mustard TV in January 2016 to promote our GTMS programme. If you watch the interview, it was only a matter of time before Andrew landed a plum graduate role in London as a Consultant within EY. He then appeared at our GTMS launch in March 2016 to network with our students. Andrew is a great ambassador for NBS and he tells the story in his own words.
I graduated in 2015 with a first class degree in Business Management from NBS. Prior to my final exams, I applied to GTMS – the Graduate Trainee Management Scheme in the hopes of landing a graduate role. Prior to sitting my final exams I received an offer from GTMS.
I joined the Zoological Society of East Anglia (ZSEA) in August 2015 as a Business Support Advisor, based at Banham Zoo, Norfolk. The organisation had recently become a charity & was looking to build on its existing charitable activities. During the role I worked directly with the Chief Executive and fundraising department to identify and implement plans to increase fundraising activity.
As the GTMS graduate roles last from 9-12 months, I wanted to ensure I had a graduate role following the scheme – whether that be with my GTMS employer or another firm. I decided to apply to EY, one of the “Big 4” accountancy and consulting firms.
I applied to the Advisory Consulting Programme (ACP), a two year graduate scheme designed to give exposure to an array of consulting projects through four 6 month rotations within different areas of EY’s consulting practice. I joined the firm in September 2016 and have been exposed to a number of projects in sectors including Energy and Government. My work has varied from composing bid proposals to win new projects, to working on transformation programmes for Government and Public Sector clients.
Within my first month at the firm I attended a three day induction event with all of the graduates from across the UK&I offices, attended a week’s core consulting training with graduates on the ACP, and worked on business development projects within energy and pharmaceuticals.
EY places emphasis on personal development and as a result I’m currently working towards the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) qualification. All graduate consultants at EY are enrolled to study the Certificate in Business Accounting, which is the first step to becoming fully CIMA accredited.
At EY you’re encouraged to get involved with internal projects – Think of these projects as extra-curricular activities. They’re a great opportunity to meet new people and help EY Advisory grow internally. I became a part of the community and events team within the customer & strategy department and worked with colleagues to build a new collaboration site for both customer and strategy teams. The site allows internal teams to share information about their respective area and projects within the Advisory community. I also ran workshops for colleagues so they could create new areas of the site & share their content effectively. The site was commended by senior members of the firm and has recently been launched – achieving over 3,000 views in its first few months!
I was fairly proactive in my search for a graduate role. For the most part, I applied directly through organisation’s graduate websites and used sites such as Glassdoor to find out more about companies I was interested in applying to. I also used UEA Careers Central extensively when preparing for graduate interviews/assessment days. I attended a number of employability events which involved CV and cover letter workshops, assessment centre training, and mock interviews. These were really useful and helped identify the key skills I needed to display throughout application processes.
Throughout university I was always working with different people, in different teams, on different projects and learnt to adapt my ways of working depending on team dynamics. The development of this skill has proved valuable as my experience at EY has been very similar, working in teams of various sizes on both client and internal projects, which have varied in sector and type of work.
Studying Business Management at UEA equipped me with commercial acumen, interpersonal skills and a proactive approach to work which is highly valued within the workplace. In my third year at UEA I undertook a project management module which was particularly enjoyable. The practical nature of the module was really useful as it helped to strengthen my problem solving, teamwork, and presentation skills – all of which I use at EY.
I remember visiting UEA for the first time during an open day, attending an NBS talk and immediately knowing that this was the place I’d like to spend the next three years – the campus had a unique feel about it that I didn’t find anywhere else. Another key selling point was the degree of flexibility the course offered at NBS. I had chosen to study Business Management but I liked that there was the opportunity to change to Accounting and Finance within your first year, and also the module flexibility throughout the second and third years of the course.
While studying at UEA, I was a member of the Management Society and also the University Golf team which I captained in my final year. I also volunteered to be a mentor for Young Enterprise UK, a country wide competition for sixth form students across the country to setup & run a business. Each of these activities allowed me to further develop my skillset. I’ve also continued my volunteering efforts at EY – I currently mentor for the EY Foundation’s Smart Futures Programme. The programme focuses on helping young people who face barriers in the labour market – such as living in a low income household – to find pathways into work, higher education or self-employment.
For current students I recommend going to the UEA careers fair – speak to different companies & find out about their graduate schemes and vacancies. It’s important to do your research and work out what industry you’d like to work in.
For those in their first and second years of study in particular, I’d recommend applying to spring week and internship programmes. These will help you acquire a solid understanding of different careers and ultimately help you to decide on the career for you. I also highly recommend using careers central. Sign up to the CV workshops, book mock interviews and attend assessment centre sessions to prepare for job application processes. They are also useful to discuss career options with – Careers central are there to help you!
With thanks to Andrew for contributing to the NBS blog.