Category Archives: How I got my job

Hear from other Leeds students and graduates about how they got their jobs and internships

How I started my own business – Retrasafe

This week we have another SPARK business blog post. Leeds student Jumana talks about setting up her Retrasafe – an award winning ladder stabiliser business.

My Business Journey

downloadI started my business with my partner two years ago after my first year at Leeds. This was my first business venture and so had no clue what to do. My partner had a problem trying to use his ladders safely in many places so we decided to tackle the problem that many others also struggled with. We had designed a retractable ladder stabiliser and set up Retrasafe to make and sell the stabiliser systems. We launched the product a year ago and the product has won British Safety Industry Federation Commended Award for Product Innovation in 2016 and was a finalist for Association for Project Safety Health and Safety Innovation Award 2016. We have done exhibitions both here and abroad and have got a lot of interest around the product from small and big companies. I also got to visit the House of Commons and meet the Duke of York when I won the Duke of York Young Entrepreneurs Award 2017. We have now got a couple of different products that we are marketing and selling.

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How I got my job – Financial services, Audit at Deloitte


Source: GotCredit

Economics and Politics student Tom talks about how he landed his position in Financial Services, Audit at Deloitte.

The Role

Working in Audit in the Financial Services industry means providing advice on financial reports of banks, insurance firms and investment managers. The purpose is to inform the senior management and other stakeholders on whether the information presented in their financial information is accurate and up to date.

Deciding a career path

After finishing second year I still didn’t have any great idea of what I wanted to do after graduating. I had been rejected by most of my internship applications for that penultimate summer so I wasn’t feeling hugely optimistic! I knew I wanted to work in finance and fortunately, I managed to secure an internship with a charity in their finance department over summer. During summer, I had a look at loads of different career paths and spoke to family and friends who worked in Finance to get an idea of what would suit me. Eventually I decided that I wanted to start my career in Professional services, this refers to roles in Audit, Tax and Consultancy. Compared to banks and investment management firms, professional services firms hire far more graduates and offer better training opportunities. The prospect of being paid to take a professional qualification was an attractive one, particularly with such a competitive job market in the finance industry; it also opens a lot more doors later in your career. Deloitte offers a huge amount of training and development opportunities in all their different service lines.

Why Audit and why Deloitte?

It goes without saying that Audit isn’t exactly the most exciting job in the world! Saying this though, in your first three years you spend a lot of time in college revising for your ACA. Having spoken to friends in the industry, everyone said the same thing, ‘get your professional qualifications and go from there’. Compared to other areas in professional services, audit provides you with a breadth knowledge about every aspect of a firm, something that will no doubt be invaluable for the rest of my career. Despite part of me dreading another three years of exams, I know it will be a completely new challenge which is an exciting prospect.

My key goal was to get a job at the ‘Big 4’, particularly Deloitte. I’d attended open evenings and career talks at a number of firms but the Deloitte evening in their Leeds office really sold it for me (I would recommend going- there’s free food and booze). On a serious note though, all the graduates I spoke to seemed down to earth and Deloitte are a huge global brand, offering so many opportunities to travel or move around internally within the business.

The application process

Like most grad jobs, the application process is long and quite tedious! Professional services firms all follow a similar structure. Personal info, followed by a few longer questions about you, your experience and why you want to work there. For Deloitte, I also had to do a personality test which assessed you on areas like determination, risk taking ability and accuracy. After this, you go through the psychometric tests (numerical, logical and verbal reasoning). I found these challenging but there are so many resources to give you a hand; I would recommend using and any packs that the Careers Service have.

Interviews and Presentation

Next up was the interview stages. Deloitte was the only ‘Big 4’ firm that didn’t require a telephone interview which made the process slightly easier. For my other applications, the telephone interviews were competency and strength based. I’d recommend focusing all your answers on the firms’ values and make the most of people’s comments on websites such as Wikijobs and Glassdoor, where people talk about their interview experiences. Most of the time you can pre-determine what questions come up. Whilst the interview was taking place, I would have flash cards on my wall with brief points on for all the different potential questions.

The next stage was the Assessment Centre, once again it was a different format to the other ‘Big 4’. I was given a case study of a few different investment options and had to pick which one I would go for, given a few different situations. I then had a one on one interview whereby I was questioned on the case study and had to explain a few calculations. After this, the interview was quite casual and followed a similar competency/ strength based format. The other Big 4 interviews are slightly more formal. For PWC, you first do a written exercise, then redo numerical and logical tests and finally do a group case study.

The last few stages move along a very quickly and I was soon asked to come in for the presentation and final interview stage. 5 days before the presentation I was given a topic that I needed to prepare. You are given a fair amount of detail for what they want from you. The best advice I’d give is to draw all your points back to why your topic is vital and relevant for a firm like Deloitte and make sure you show your knowledge of both general current affairs and any news that relates to the company. After the presentation, there was about 10 minutes of questions and then another round of strength based questions, mainly questions like ‘give me a time when you have demonstrated…’


Apply early!!! Applications are time consuming and grad/ intern spaces fill up very fast.

Don’t rush applications- get people to check them.

Attend open evenings and talks- you can sign up through the Careers Centre website. Mentioning that you made the effort to go to these events and dropping some names looks great on your applications and later interviews.

Utilise friends who work in the industry to give you tips on the process and the kind of people that the firm like to hire.

If you can, enrol in the Career Development module, I can’t emphasise how much it helped the application process.

Good luck!

Making applications? Don’t forget to check out the applications information on our website, or book an appointment for further application and interview guidance.

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How I got my job: Secondment on the role of science and engineering in policy and parliament


Katie Timms is undertaking a PhD in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine at the University of Leeds’ Institute of Medical & Biological Engineering, following her undergraduate degree in Medical Sciences (2015), also from the University of Leeds.  In this post she explains why she chose to do a secondment during her PhD and how networking and her proactive approach helped her to secure it.

Why did I decide to undertake a secondment?

Browsing through twitter one afternoon I came across a poster describing alternative careers for scientists, based on the Science Council’s ’10 type of scientists’. In case you were wondering, there’s a quiz on the Science Council’s website! I have always been interested in science and research, but was curious about the alternative careers available following my PhD. Continue reading

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How I got my job – Data Analysis and Digital Communications Intern


This week, HR student Hristina talks about how she landed her placement at the University of Leeds Careers Centre. She gives a bit of insight into the Leeds Internship Programme as well as application tips and advice.

I’m currently the Data Analysis and Social Media Intern here at the Careers Centre – after I finish my placement I will return to my final year of studying BA Human Resource Management. My placement is a part of the Leeds Internship Programme and I’m involved in analyzing data and producing various monthly/weekly reports, working on the Careers Centre’s social media presence, as well as lots of other ad-hock activities and projects.

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How I started my own business – Too Good to Go


This week, Chris, a MSc International Business grad tells us how he founded Too Good to Go, a social enterprise dedicated to reducing food waste. Read on to find out about his journey and get some useful advice on starting your own business.

About the business:

logo-tgtg_good-1Too Good To Go is an environmental social enterprise dedicated to reducing food waste. Through our mobile app, users can purchase food from restaurants, cafes, bakeries and other stores that would otherwise be thrown away at the end of the day for massively discounted prices.

As of March 2017, we’re active in six European countries: UK, France, Germany, Denmark, Norway and Switzerland. Together we’ve amassed over one million users and diverted over 400,000 meals from landfill – all in the space of 18 months. It’s been a rollercoaster of a journey, and one that’s well worth sharing!

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How I got my job – Placement year with UCB in Belgium


Biological Sciences student Alisha talks about her decision to do an industrial placement abroad with UCB biopharma, Belgium. She talks about the experience and give some useful advice for students looking to do a placement abroad.

About the placement:

For my year in industry I decided to go to Belgium to work at UCB biopharma in Braine L’alleud (near Brussels). Here I worked in the investigative toxicology department on a project involving drug induced cardiac injury. My activities varied on a day to day basis from undertaking experiments in the lab, to analyzing data and compiling literature reviews in the office. This meant that I got to experience how research projects worked in medium sized pharmaceutical companies such as UCB, and being in a relatively small department meant that I was making a real contribution to the project, which will lead to me having my name on a poster and published article next year. Continue reading

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How I got my job – Pladis Graduate Scheme


This week Andrea, a MSc Global Supply Chain graduate tells us about how he got is graduate position at Pladis and gives some detailed advice on the application process.

Hello all,

My name is Andrea Scirè, I am 22 years old and, after having finished my course in September, I graduated in December 2016 from the Leeds University Business School with a 2:1 (68%) MSc in Global Supply Chain Management.

When I left my home town, Rome (Italy), in September 2015, I could never have imagined that, slightly more than a year later, I would be working in the UK as a graduate with pladis (the number one biscuit manufacturer in the UK and Turkey and worldwide, known for iconic brands such as McVitie’s, Godiva and Ulker). But, believe me or not, this is what happened.

In the next few paragraphs, I will explain how the Professional Development Hub of the University of Leeds Business School and the Careers Centre helped me in getting selected from over 200+ candidates applying for this graduate scheme.

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