Exploring Different Careers Whilst at University

Recently, I finalised my studies at Goldsmiths, the University of London where I studied a BSc in Psychology and Management. I was reflecting and realised that I had explored so many different industries leading up and whilst at university, all of which made me understand things I am interested and things I am not so fond of…

The industries I have explored so far are the Health/Science, Law, Human Resources, Compliance/Internal Audit (Risk), Higher Education and Technology.

Storytime begins…

Health/Science

Shock horror- but I wanted to be a doctor when I was younger. I ended up completing two weeks of work experience at Queen Mary’s Blizzard Institute, where I shadowed PhD students in Cell Biology and Neuroscience and helped to assist them on their projects. I got up to some pretty cool things such as loading gel onto an electric plate and carrying out electrophoresis, PCR experiences and participating in worldwide conferences where scientists would discuss their findings from their experiments.

Pros:

  • You cannot really bring work home in this type of industry because you need to carry out experiments in controlled environments. For this reason, it is easier to develop a healthy work/life balance.
  • More or less everyone at University Lab was pretty cool and would explain the interesting projects they were working on.

Cons:

  • The salary that PhD students get is shocking because it is very minimal.
  • If an experiment gets contaminated, you need to start everything all over again.

Law

I completed two weeks of work experience at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (law firm). I worked in the Corporate Business and UK Trainee Recruitment Departments. I also had the opportunity to work on a case study ‘The Bribery Act 2010’.

Pros

  • I was intellectually challenged, I have never analysed a case study before but I had the opportunity to breakdown two main sections of the Act and understand how lawyers think logically.
  • This was my first corporate job, and I had insight into how a career in the financial services would be like

Cons:

  • The hours are very long, I started work at 8am and finished at 6pm

Human Resources

  • I worked in Human Resources in two different companies; Aviva (within Diversity & Inclusion and Reward), and Beazley (I rotated around the different aspects of Human Management such as Payroll, Talent Development, HR).

Pros:

  • Everyone is so nice and talkative in HR, it is like joining a family
  • I had insight into more intricate aspects of HR such as D&I initiatives organisations want to implement and MBTI personality tests and how they work at work

Cons

  • I found the work to be on the same level each day; it was not too challenging
  • I think it is harder to get promoted within HR in a company you stay in longer, this is because most people in managerial roles stay there until they retire; I don’t know if this is an HR thing… but it is something I have noticed, but then again we are all in charge of our career progression and one can just apply for a more senior role at another company.

Compliance/Internal Audit

I worked as a Compliance and Internal Audit Intern at Beazley. I worked on real audits and worked on an interesting compliance project.

Pros:

  • You are intellectually challenged
  • Most projects are collaborated on; you get to know your colleagues better
  • It can be fast-paced

Cons:

  • Waiting, when collaborating on work

Higher Education

I worked in Higher Education in two instances, firstly as an Exam Processing Officer for the University of London and secondly as a Student Ambassador at University.

Pros:

  • It is not so much about academics, but more so emotional intelligence
  • Every day is different
  • Calm environment
  • Pay is really good

Cons:

  • The paperwork can be tiresome

Technology

Recently, I completed a summer internship as a Technology Intern at BGF, a private equity firm, which I enjoyed so much! I worked on many interesting projects and had so much exposure to Microsoft tools such as CRM and SharePoint.

Pros:

  • It is fast past, there is something new to learn each day
  • There is always someone to ask to help clarify something
  • Technology is evolving each day, so most of what you do is very current

Cons:

  • It can get really busy

All in all, these are some of the industries that I have worked in and some lessons I have taken from them. What about you? Is there an industry you are interested in going into? Which industries have you explored so far?

Life is a learning curve, do not be afraid to try something new; if you find out a career does not suit you, you still learnt something 🙂 

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