De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) alumni, students and staff came together and had a chance to network at an Economics event in the Hugh Aston Building.
The event was an opportunity for students to find out about career options and to hear about the experiences and careers of Economics alumni since graduating. It was organised by the Business and Law (BAL) Careers and Economics team led by Helen Solomon, Head of Economics, and Rebecca Barnes, Employability Officer.
The event began with networking. Helen Solomon then welcomed everyone and launched the new Economics Society where it would be possible for alumni to be involved as ‘honorary members’.
She said: “We have waited a long time for an Economics Society, it will build a community and valuable friendships. It is a start of a journey. The event today is an opportunity for all students from different years to network and to give you a heads up of what it’s like to work as an economist.”
Members of the Economic Society added: “It has been set up to make connections and it will be more beneficial in the future for jobs.”
This was followed by an Economics Alumni Panel, and a Q&A session. Helen asked them a number of questions starting with what their career paths were. Some had and were doing their master's, while others had gone straight into work. A recurrent message was how undertaking a placement at DMU had started their career.
Ivy Mwaura, who is a Revenue Management Analyst at TNT Express, said: “I did my placement at TNT Express. When I graduated in 2016 they offered me a job as an analyst in the same team.”
Daniel Wylie, an Economic Advisor with the Government Economic Service, added: “It is important to do placements and internships, it’s a chance to dip your toe in.”
Tobi Tayo, SNP APO Functional Associate at GSK, said: “It was beneficial, I got it through the placement team. I worked in a small-sized company and it was my first window into work. It is more exposure into the working world and is better for you.”
Amar Kotecha who graduated in Economics and Finance BSc (Hons) in 2014 and is now International Finance Manager at Weetabix, said: “It motivated me in the final year, it is a taste of what is available if you work hard. It opens up more doors.
“If you want to do a placement take it seriously, stand out. After you graduate there are lots of students applying for the same job, a placement as well as being in societies and extracurricular activities helps to separate you. I did the Square Mile project, which helped to build my CV.
“The career service here at DMU is very good. Have the conversation with the careers team, I am assessing my options, what shall I do.”
As Helen asked her questions, the alumni gave students some valuable advice. When asked where they found out about their jobs, Amar said: “LinkedIn. A recruiter on LinkedIn saw my profile and approached me about an opportunity at Weetabix. It is important to have a LinkedIn profile.”
Jane Chude, Project Manager at AstraZeneca, added: “I wanted to work for a big company. I created a spreadsheet of all the jobs I applied to. Visit the big companies’ websites such as HSBC, look at their graduate programmes and their deadlines. The more you apply, the higher the chances of getting a job.”
Helen asked about skills they had received at DMU, were they valuable now in work and what personal skills they took to their master's and in work.
Tobi said: “Time management is really important. The concept of time changed when I came back from placement. Strategic thinking is important too.”
Deksan Sayid who is doing master's said: “I am now doing my dissertation, the skills I learnt at DMU have prepared me for this.”
Both Michael Aremu, Co-founder of SD Sessions and Jane stressed how important communication skills were. Michael said: “The tone is important, it shows how you deliver a service. It opens a lot of doors to you and potentially helps you to get other jobs.”
Jane added: “You need to adapt the communication style to the audience, adjust the tone and the way you communicate to stakeholders.”
Both Jane and Ivy believe teamwork is imperative. Jane said: “Being able to work with different personalities and adapting and accommodating is really important.”
Ivy added: “Be humble, I’m hired because I can add value, don’t be afraid to share that value.”
Some of the words echoed by the alumni were: “Be honest and true to yourself, have confidence in your work and deliver it to drive change and make a positive impact.”
Jane discussed why she completed a master's. She said: “I did my master's to separate me from others, to understand where I wanted to go.”
Hayley Smith, who graduated in Economics and Finance in 2018 said: “This is a good networking event to get a master's perspective, it is teaching me a lot about finance and I am gaining a broader knowledge of the different sectors. It opens up avenues.”
When asked if you were a student again what would you do differently, Jane said: “I would utilise my time better, you have so much free time, learn IT skills, gain experience through placements and get in front of roles.”
The event began with networking. Two second year students on the Economics and Finance course, Gerald Joseph and Ryan Parrett, said: “This networking event is a chance to meet alumni, gain knowledge and skills by talking to them. It is hope for the future.”
Posted on Friday 15th February 2019