"I think University makes people come out of their shell more. I became more confident in my abilities, I discovered new things about myself and met some inspirational people on the way."
Mark Boateng is a recent graduate from the University of Surrey. He is now part of the management trainee graduate scheme with Enterprise Rent-a-Car.
What is the one thing you would say about the University of Surrey, or the course you studied, to someone who doesn't know anything about it?
Guildford has to be one of the most social towns that I've been to, with pretty much everything in walking distance. It's the place to be - particularly now, as Surrey moves up the rankings and league tables.
How did you change as a person during your time as a Surrey student, and how has your time here supported you to begin your career?
I think University makes people come out of their shell more. You're put into a situation where you're alone and living with other people you don't know. It forces you to find out a lot about yourself and I think that's what it did for me. I became more confident in my abilities, I discovered new things about myself and met some inspirational people on the way.
You also get to experience different cultures too. Joining a society called Enactus pushed me even further, developing my sales, leadership, team working and pitching skills, which has helped me get where I am today. I'd definitely recommend joining that society - it almost guarantees you to be employable by the biggest firms after graduating!
What do you do now, and what do you find most enjoyable about your line of work?
Eight days after graduating, I found out that I'd be starting a management trainee graduate scheme with Enterprise Rent-a-Car – a company often ranked as one of the best places to launch a career.
I suppose what I'll like the most is the fact that it'll put all the theory I learnt from my course into practise, as well as teaching me about the different aspects of running a business.
What are your top tips for students aspiring to work in your profession?
Be patient! Business is a very competitive market which looks for the very best people, and the application process can be very long and draining, particularly with the biggest companies.
Start building your profile early. Join societies such as Enactus, which give you the employability skills you'll need to discuss in job interviews, and join societies with the ambition to become part of the committee, not just a member.
Make use of the career facilities on campus, such as CV and interview exercises. When applying for my placement, I applied to around 20 companies over the summer and received 20 rejections. I didn't make use of the on-campus facilities and thus had to learn the hard way how to build a professional CV and correct interview technique.
You're bound to get rejections, but if you're like me and you believe that you deserve to be working with the biggest companies, then don't sell yourself short. Pick yourself up and apply to the next big thing, and while you're waiting for their response do something which will enhance your CV: volunteering for example. It all helps, and before you know it you'll have a job waiting for you straight after you graduate.
Is remaining connected with the alumni network important to you?
Of course. It's always good to not only keep in contact with the progress of others who graduated with you, but to keep in contact with the University that got you to where you are. The best three years of my life have taken place here so it's only right I keep in contact.
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