April 2018 – Careers and Employability


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Word from our Head of School…

Welcome to the first edition of our School of Management blog – I hope you’ll find it an interesting and entertaining read. Our theme for this month is ‘Careers and Employability’ which is a topic I’d encourage you all to consider regardless of what year or level of study you’re at with us. We’re lucky to have a fantastic Careers and Employability Service here on campus to support you, and in the School of Management we’re also very fortunate to have the Placements Place – a dedicated office to help and advise you on Year in Business programmes, internships and work placements. The Placements Place team held an official opening event back in January, which I was honoured to be part of, and the enthusiasm shown from students and staff at the event was truly exciting.

It’s never too early to start thinking about your career and what you might like to do next after your course finishes – and hopefully this edition of the blog might give you a few ideas to get you started.

Best wishes,

Professor Gloria Agyemang

Head of School, School of Management


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My Term

By Sabeeta Gill, BSc Management with Marketing (Year in Business)

Sabeeta Gill

March. When it first comes to mind you’d think daffodils, warm weather and a radiant sunshine. Except we only got to see something quite the opposite! Snow! Snow in March? I know I definitely was shocked. Despite all the inconvenience it may have caused, it was no doubt an aesthetically pleasing sight to see. I mean, how amazing did Founder’s look sprinkled in snow? The ‘Beast from the East’ was not all bad after all! And that’s one of the things I like best about Royal Holloway, it’s just a beauty to look at.

May I also add I celebrated my birthday this term as well! Now this was the one day (thank goodness!) it actually felt like spring! The sun was shining, it wasn’t too cold and a lovely breeze to the day. I had a wonderful time with friends and family. Having a birthday in March isn’t always fun, it’s that month close to the end of term when exams are so soon, and it can preoccupy your mind in a way. But here I think occasionally treating myself always helps!

But I must say, always having wanted a career in digital marketing, being able to actually study it as a module has been insightful! Learning all these technical terms like HTTP and that it stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol.

It certainly has been a slightly demanding term with assignments and to be honest I have felt the change a little drastic from the first to second year. What’s also been challenging is my placement search for next year. I know there are a few of you out there in the same position as me, and in all honesty it can be disheartening when you aren’t able to secure one. Or even when you get so far in the application process and then aren’t pursued further. I’ve been there. I know it’s difficult to motivate yourself to try again whilst balancing your assignments. But I also know that you should never give up. It’s just like what Barack Obama said “If you run you stand a chance of losing, but if you don’t run, you’ve already lost.” (yes I had to end it with a motivational quote!!)

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RHUL, Event

Five Questions with…

Dr Abigail Hilson, Lecturer in Accounting

1)    What’s your favourite thing about the subject you teach?

Its ability to make you think strategically about your life choices.  I open an excel spreadsheet before making any financial decisions!

2) Who would be your dream dinner party guests?

Richard Branson…just for the heck of it

Rod Stewart…constant reminder that I am “forever young”

Cece Winans ….the source of all the grace I need!

Bill Gates – I am desperately seeking funds to help some poor female entrepreneurs

3) If you could travel backwards or forwards in time, where would you go and why?

Backwards – to follow up with my networks from business school because these open doors for expanding your reach and enriching career prospects.

4)   If you could give your twenty year old self any advice, what would it be?

Everybody has an excuse.  Some have it worse than you do but make the most of their opportunities everyday.  What are you waiting for?

5) What do you love most about working here in the School of Management at Royal Holloway?

The lovely people I work with and the studious students who make my efforts worthwhile.

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Job Shadowing

By Dr Catherine Harbor, Lecturer

So that summer internship with PwC or the hot advertising agency didn’t work out, and you’ve ended up working at your local supermarket, or at a holiday camp or theme park. That’s still good, because it’s work and it’s experience – but it might not give you the insight you want into the professional position you’d like to hold eventually.

How about job shadowing? This is when you observe a professional in their job; you are not likely to get hands-on experience, but it will give you some insight into what they do.


If you do have a job, ask your line manager whether it might be possible to spend a few days shadowing different management positions where you are working. Or exploit your contacts: Mum, Dad, uncles, aunties, cousins, that friend who graduated last year and scored a great job. Ask them whether there might be opportunities for job shadowing at their organisation. Or approach a company yourself: send them your CV along with a cover letter explaining the role(s) you would like to shadow and how this could benefit you.

So why bother? You’ll get some idea about a job you might be considering for the future. You’ll get an understanding of the workplace and can build your network of contacts. And it may help you decide whether your dream job is really that, or might just be a nightmare

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The sky’s the limit…

By Ed McLean, Careers Consultant


A few years ago David Boadu was strolling our campus wondering where his Royal Holloway management degree might take him. Now he’s a Campaign Manager (Marketing) for Sky.

At one of the Careers & Employability Service’s many events, David and a panel of Royal Holloway alumni returned to share tips on what students can do right now to boost their future careers. Here are their top five tips:

  • Every industry has its language and jargon. Read articles, watch TED talks, follow speakers and industry leaders online.
  • Learn workplace skills, such as coding or marketing skills, through free online courses while studying.
  • Get as much experience as you can. Apply to internships or write to ask for shadowing or work experience. Keep going (and use the available help from the Careers & Employability Service).
  • Start applying as soon as possible and go to as many interviews as you can – each one is valuable practice.
  • Increase your chances of a “yes” by tailoring your applications. What is each organisation looking for and how can you show you have got it?

David Boadu

As David says, “University is about independent learning – get work experience whilst studying, be tenacious in your search for a role, keep abreast of market changes and the direction the industry is going in.”

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Fight Club Employability

By Dr Paul Haynes, Lecturer

My favourite scene in the film Fight Club is the moment that Raymond, the young convenience-store worker, agrees to do everything to become employable in his dream job as a vet.  Raymond took a dead end job because, as he admits, getting the dream job is hard work, requiring time, effort and motivation.


Employability is, of course, not just about effort or being motivated and generic advice about how to become more attractive to employers is usually empty advice.  As with everything valuable and meaningful, getting the job you want involves developing an appropriate strategy and working on its implementation.  The first rule of employability is to arrange a meeting with the careers service (ideally many months before you plan to start applying for work) and make sure you are properly prepared.  Have a clear set of questions and documents to work with (draft application letter, CV, list of potential employers, potential job specification, a list of your employability strengths/weaknesses).  If you need experience or skills, they’ll identify your options. The second rule is to develop a plan and once you have your finalised strategy return to the careers service to renew it.

“You are not your job” as Tyler Durden says, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth the endeavour of pursuing appropriate guidance to land the job you want – just ask Raymond!

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Have your say…

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If you’re a current student or an alumnus of the School of Management at Royal Holloway and fancy contributing to our blog in future months, why not get in touch and find out how you can get involved!


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