Yesterday, London experienced record heats with temperatures as high as 33 degrees, but that didn’t stop 1782 of London’s graduates from descending upon Senate House to meet 65 exhibitors at our summer London Graduate Fair. We run this event every summer, autumn, and spring so that students and graduates can meet employees, recruiters, and educators in order explore their options for post-university life.
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The economic and political landscape has been shaky over the last year, so I spoke with some graduates to find out what they wanted to get out of the fair and how they felt about their career prospects.
George - Modern Languages
Why did you come to the fair?
I wanted to explore opportunities. I have not applied to anything yet - I am still trying to find out what could be available to me.
What have you come away with?
I came across some things that I wasn’t expecting to be here. I came looking for career opportunities and I came away with a lot of ideas for further study which seem more attractive than work right now! The two that stood out to me were the National Film School and the Language teaching programme in Japan (Jet Programme). I feel fairly optimistic about my prospects: there are certainly a lot of possibilities.
Natalia - Chemical Engineering
Why did you come to the fair?
I came here with no expectations, but I was also looking for jobs, (possibly a masters) and have found exactly the right programme for me. So I’m pretty optimistic about that! I also spoke to a company that I wasn’t even thinking about - data science. I really like it. I will explore the opportunity and get to know a company I didn’t know existed.
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Baska - Politics and History
Why did you come to the graduate fair? What were you looking for?
I wanted to see what kind of opportunities there are: I wanted to explore opportunities that I didn’t already know about or perhaps opportunities that I did know about but wanted to see if I could be persuaded.
And how has that turned out?
I feel myself drawn towards data visualisation or as I now know it’s called, data science. When I saw the kind of work that they [Information Lab] do, I realised that this is definitely what I want to do. I also saw the Jet programme, where you can teach English and live in Japan for a year.
How are you feeling about your career prospects as a recent graduate?
Before graduating I felt quite confident, but afterwards I completely lost hope with recruitment agencies. When I graduated, all I could find was retail, part time, apprenticeships and, internships. That lasted for around three years. Even though I had a degree, I needed more experience. After this time, I feel like I finally have enough experience that I can apply for permanent roles - but it’s still entry level.
Every student comes into the fair with different attributes to bring to potential employers: some have the ability to quickly build relationships with others, some are technically gifted, others pride themselves on working harder and longer than their peers but when talking to graduates the atmosphere was largely hopeful and optimistic.
Many said that the opportunities that most excited them, the opportunities that held the most promise, were the ones that they had never considered before.
I will leave you with one last nugget of wisdom from a graduate I spoke to...
Do you have any advice for other graduates?
Go into finance.