Applications For Graduate Schemes: Through The Eyes Of Leicester Students.
Life after the recession has been hard. Companies have imploded (Northern Rock, Lehman Brothers to name a couple) and monetary organizations have been under tremendous pressure to resolve the situation. Furthermore, phrases such as ‘spending cuts’ and ‘budget deficits’ have permeated through everyone’s lips and they do not appear to be to going away anytime soon. Graduate employment dropped significantly in the 2008 crisis and is still only creeping up slowly, so students must decide how they stand out from the notoriously large crowd.
Applying for graduate schemes is daunting: you have to be meticulous. You have to apply in early October to stand a chance of being considered as most deadlines are around Christmas. The initial online application can be very taxing and long-winded. Even if you pass the subsequent numerical and verbal reasoning tests, there will still be a telephone interview, a one-day assessment centre, tests and interviews ahead. As a result, it becomes clear that the process requires plenty of stamina and willpower.
As a Leicester student doing BSc Economics in my final year, the whole notion of online applications has been at the forefront of my commitments. Living with three other house/course mates, we now have ‘application sessions’, where we all slump in the sofas with our laptops and start typing away. These ‘sessions’ last for a good few hours, and at best one of us would be veering towards the end of applying for one graduate scheme. Yes, it does take that long. Thomas Farrow, who is a 3rd year Financial Economics student, stated that ‘it becomes very difficult to consistently apply for schemes as the longevity drains you mentally as well as physically; you need to be selective in your choices.’
In light of the difficulty in gaining a graduate job immediately after an undergraduate degree, more students have opted for postgraduate degrees, gaining more exposure to complex theories. Will Hoath, who completed his degree said: ‘I chose to do a postgraduate degree due to the economic climate and have thoroughly enjoyed the experience.’ However, he also advised that ‘you should only take a postgraduate degree if you want to do the degree, don’t do it purely to enhance your CV.
So what are the options? From my personal experience this year, by going to a plethora of talks and workshops, you gain a valuable insight into what specific areas you are interested in. Ben Abbot, says that ‘workshops are key indicators on where you see yourself in five years time and in particular what certain jobs suit your attributes.’ Additionally, apply for jobs early as this will not hinder your application at all. The phrase ‘the early bird catches the worm’ is true; just make sure your bird has golden wings. Alternatively, you could not apply at all and gain work experience by work shadowing, volunteering or other notable activities. The experience gained through this will enhance your CV and make you more attractive to employers.
Maybe you cannot see yourself in the financial world and conclude that you want a different career. Other pathways are available. Ultimately, with graduate places being limited and applicants for graduate schemes at an all-time high, it becomes clear that if you are determined enough and have the right mindset, there is every chance you can walk your way into your desired career. But as with most things in life, it is may not be as easy as you first thought.
About the author: Henry Law is a final year student studying BSc. Economics at the University of Leicester. His interests include theatre, sport, and Asian economies.