As with many recent graduates (I hope), I have spent the last few months trying to work out; what’s next. Do I want to go straight into the workplace, or should I feed my desire for knowledge further and go back to education?
I am currently working part time in a retail job, which is great because it gives me some pennies to spend and some time to research what I want to pursue.
But it’s not utilizing my skills or the specifics of my education.
A couple of weeks ago, my university’s careers centre asked if I would answer some graduate career questions about how my degree is relevant in my current role. The short answer is; it’s not. However, this forced me to reconsider how best to understand what I do want to achieve in terms of career prospects.
What better way than first-hand experience!
Last week I spent two days shadowing my sister, Sarah, in the London offices of corporate giant, IBM; an great experience, which came at exactly the right time! The perfect opportunity to learn a little of what it would be like to have a career that fully utilised the skills I learnt at university; both specific to my degree and transferable.Helping Sarah with her ‘to-do’ list meant that I was completing tasks towards the output of the Marketing, Brand and Communications team she is a part of. Simultaneously fulfilling my own New Year’s resolution promise to do something measurably productive each day.
I wrote paid social copy for IBM’s projects and collaborations, including the work of their ‘cognitive’ technology, Watson (redefining everything I know about cognitive from a psychological perspective). Watson technology is working towards improving patient experience in Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, and is being developed for other applications, from cancer detection to the next generation of fitness trackers. Move over, FitBit!
As the cherry on top, I have since learnt that the work I did has been approved for publication, so I can add it to my CV towards experience gained for future employment!
Throughout the two days I also spent time learning about other aspects of the business and different roles from Sarah’s contacts; listening in on meetings, calls and having one-to-one talks with people from across marketing.
This made the whole experience invaluable as I gained multiple perspectives and understood a little more about the different types of marketing, across both traditional and digital channels.
To those who took the time to speak to me, thank you.
Unbelievably, a week has now passed since my time in London! Given my attitude towards returning to the land of retail afterwards, it is safe to say that I did choose the right degree, despite my recent reservations.
Now it is down to me to retain my productivity, achieve a place on that Masters course, and smash this week’s job interview. So that next time the university calls about that degree I’ve spent thirty grand on, I can say for certain that it was right choice and relevant in my career.