Make sure you stand out

About me

Sam P.
Physics
Physics
MPhys
James
2017
United Kingdom

About this profile

Early Careers programme
MBDA
United Kingdom
Digital and IT services
Large business (250+ employees)

About the job

What I do

I'm currently on the Early Careers Programme at MBDA, with a focus on software. It involves four six-month placements around the business- three local to software, and one external to another area of the business.

Skills I use and how I developed them

To me, software engineering is problem solving in its broadest possible sense. Skills I require to do my job involve solid interpersonal skills, the ability to react quickly to changing requirements, and obviously the ability to code. Studying physics equipped me with most of these, thankfully.

What I like most

The work/life balance here is pretty good, as is the benefits scheme. Management are approachable and accommodating, and if you can make a business case for training you can pretty much do any courses you like.

What surprised me most

The change in pace of work from university to the office. At uni, everything needed to be done yesterday, and you were guilt-tripped into working when you should be asleep. The office is totally different- you can work 8-5, drop everything, and pick it up again the next day.

Finding and applying for the job

How I looked for work

Careers fairs. Mostly I went for the free stuff, but a couple of companies really stood out, MBDA included.

How I found out about the job

Careers fair

The recruitment process

I actually applied for the summer placement scheme, and afterwards was offered a position on the grad scheme. The process consisted of an online application, followed by online assessments, and finally an assessment centre.

I filled out the online application in late 2015, did the online assessment the same week, and went to interview at the end of January 2016. The following day I received a phone call to say I didn't get the job, however a couple of weeks later they phoned up again to say someone else had dropped out and they were offering me the role.

My career

My career goals when I graduated

Software engineer. Anything that allowed me to program, but also be able to afford a cute flat somewhere. I'm still working on the flat.

My advice to students

My advice to students considering work

It's not enough to excel academically, you have to show a broader spectrum of interest. Recruiters know what skills a degree equips you with, so they look for what else makes you stand out.


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