Maya Modi graduated from Aston University in 2016 with a degree in BSc English Language. She is now working as a Consultant at Capgemini. Here she tells us about her career journey so far.
I split my placement year up into three parts: a semester studying abroad, a semester working in the UK and a summer studying abroad. The studying elements were obtained via Aston and I located the working placement myself.
For the first semester of my placement year, I was an ERASMUS student at Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Seville, Spain. I then came home and spent the second semester picking up my former role within my local Accident & Emergency department. Finally, I spent the summer studying Chinese Sociopolitics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
What were your key highlights/projects/achievements on placement?
Given the placements I was doing, it was difficult to be involved in high profile projects as such, but that didn’t stop me from getting involved with high profile individuals. The lecturers I worked with hailed from renowned universities such as Yale, Harvard and Princeton, so the pressure was on to impress them! My lecturers praised my work, which was a great feeling considering the subjects I was studying were alien to me. I’m also not fluent in Spanish or Cantonese, so adjusting to lecture content was difficult, but I got through it.
How did you go about finding your placement?
I checked Aston Futures religiously for the opening of study abroad applications, as I knew that was what I wanted to do. I mostly liaised with the Careers+Placements team as my main source of finding and securing placements.
How has Aston University helped you prepare for graduate employment?
I think the amount of careers fairs that are open to us are fantastic. I attended most of them, even the ones irrelevant to me. You can practise how to approach recruiters and learn to ask the right questions. I also really liked that Careers+Placements can arrange mock interviews for you and do CV checks.
How did you secure your graduate role?
I attended careers fairs out of my comfort zone to expand the industries I could fit into post-graduation. ‘High Tea Meets IT’ was a careers fair targeted at females wanting to go into the technology industry and we all had high tea together. This was where I met my current employer and from then on, I applied to their graduate scheme via their website.
My best careers advice to another student would be…
I started my LinkedIn page before university. The earlier you start it, the sooner you’ll learn to use it properly. I’d already made a fair few contacts, including graduate recruiters, but as soon as I’d updated my profile to show a placement year my connection requests went crazy!
Your placement year is the thing that’ll differentiate you from the next candidate. Don’t be afraid to mention that you embarked on a placement year!
Keep all of the applications you got rejected from and the CV/cover letters you used when applying to placement positions. Compare it your CV post-placement and do two things:
1) Identify how you could improve your rejected applications – it’s useful for self-learning and creating a stronger personal profile for yourself.
2) Give yourself a pat on the back for how far you’ve come!
Don’t be afraid to approach people in senior positions. It’s a competitive world and if you eliminate the ‘scary’ aspect of liaising with people senior than you, you’ll find yourself mature in the workplace.
Ask for feedback. If you’ve done work for someone, no matter how big or small, request feedback. Build a portfolio of all the feedback you receive and use it to find trends of what you perform well in and where you could improve. In the graduate working world, feedback helps you build a case to put forward for promotion.
We’re here to help you navigate your next adventure – for up to three years after you graduate! Visit us in the Careers+Placements Centre today to discover how we can support your career search.