Oliver Bennett explains how the Cardiff Award helped him get his graduate role at EY…..
Undergraduate life and graduate life are two very different stories. In University you had far off set deadlines of exams and assignment, you were an independent person who only had to look after yourself and had a great deal of what I like to call disposable time. If you are like me you spent a great deal of that time watching television, sleeping, hanging out with friends or if you felt like being productive going to the gym (luckily Cardiff Award help me better utilise some of that time!) Working for EY is not the same as University in that respect, you have less disposable time and more working hours, your deadlines are no longer far off but a lot closer to hand and you are no longer just working for yourself but for a team of people, who you will greatly enjoy working with.
The Cardiff Award prepares you as best as you can be for the working world, whilst still an undergraduate. Without the Award I would not be sitting in the office and working for the company I am now. I was fortunate enough that my dream employer was the main sponsor of the Award. However the Cardiff Award is universal in preparing you for both your applying and working at your future job.
EY prides itself on finding the best and brightest graduates for their organisation and strive to find those that have the full itinerary of knowledge; networking ability; and most importantly work ethic to employee at their firm. That is why they invest in such great programs like the Cardiff Award, programs that showcase the qualities employers look for in graduates.
The work experience you undertake for the Award is a good way of prepping you for the interaction and atmosphere of your future career. Whilst my hours spent in the retail and hospitality sectors didn’t prepare me for the technical side of my job a great deal (not much could) it did however help with social side of it and I feel this is true for a lot of jobs involved in interacting with colleagues and clients. Those social skills you hone in your early jobs before you graduate and start on your career will be invaluable as they will help you not only work with people but also learn faster and better.
My volunteering was undertaken as a mentor within the Business School and was greatly beneficial to me (hopefully also helpful to those I mentored even if not all of them turned up!) This helped me understand the problems other issues some people find with work. It is also was very helpful in teaching me the most important lesson you can know as a fresh young graduate in a brand new job. IT’S OKAY TO ASK QUESTIONS WHEN YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND.
The networking experiences in the Award were fantastic as well, networking is a major part of your career especially if you go and work for a people oriented firm such as EY and for many, can be the key to success in you tailoring your career to exactly what you want it to be. The Award taught me the most important person in helping me build my career was myself as no one will work half as hard for you as yourself.
Lastly I won’t go into detail on every single different course that the Cardiff Award offered as there was so many. These courses, especially those to do with preparing for your interviews and application process, were priceless to me. You would be surprised at how those tips and training are a finite quality among graduates and those coaching session can you turn into a very appealing candidate for any job you wish to apply for.
Anyway thanks for reading my take on the Award and how it helped me get where I am today and good luck!
Oliver Bennett, Business Management Graduate