Alumni Spotlight - Mandeep Thandi
Mandeep Thandi (BA History, 2016) joined Lloyds Banking Group after graduating. She shared her advice for final year students, her top tips for recent graduates, and her memories of studying at Birmingham.
What advice would you give to final year students?
The University of Birmingham will have given you a range of opportunities over the years I’m sure, but remember that you can still try new things. In this last year, I would always take every opportunity to develop yourself, whether it’s more research into your degree subject, volunteering or sporting activities. Find out what you really enjoy and narrow in on it. It would also help to think about what you want to do after university – do you want to roll off into a graduate scheme, a full-time job, or volunteering in the local or international community? Get the most out of your time and most importantly enjoy your final year!
What three things would you recommend final year students do before they graduate?
- Try and get some work experience in an area you may want to work in after university. The Careers Network was a big help for me
- Taking on extra-curricular activities will help you develop your skills - whether academic, sporting or volunteering – and it’ll help you to find out what you truly enjoy. Balance is key
- Be organised! Planning ahead will ease the stresses of third year and put you in a better position for doing everything you want all in your final year.
What is your favourite memory of your time at Birmingham?
There were many great times, ranging from finally handing in my dissertation with one of my best friends to getting my results and hanging out at Joe’s Bar to celebrate. Birmingham provides a great platform to balance academic studie and socialising. In the summer, I would enjoy relaxing on the grass outside Aston Webb with a good book; in the winter, I could hide away in one of the many Costas on site, with some seminar work. One of the best memories I have is at the bustling Christmas Market, where I could catch up with friends before we left for the holidays with a hot chocolate and great festive music. I have to say the friends I met in fresher’s week and the memories I have from the societies I joined have really stayed with me.
What are you currently doing?
Currently, I work in the Group Corporate Affairs division at Lloyds Banking Group, supporting their internal and external communications teams. Since starting in September 2016, I’ve already been in a range of roles, from working in the Retail team and understanding customers’ needs to the core media team and working on social media projects. The skills I gained from my degree really do help me with balancing tight deadlines and keeping up with the news. Looking back, I’ve found learning to be organised while at university really was a time saver!
How did Birmingham prepare you for life as a graduate?
Birmingham not only prepared me for the professional side of life but also the personal, meaning that I learned how to have one! Balancing many essay and exam deadlines throughout the year with making friends in a new environment is something that I can carry forward in any working environment. Being adaptable to different circumstances was also useful as it enables me to cope with moving roles every six months in my graduate scheme. I can learn about the different communications roles and functions of Lloyds while applying the skills and experiences I had at university, whether that is something related to my written skills or applying the experiences I have from societies.
What would your top tip be for new graduates?
I would say take on as many opportunities as you can and find the people you can truly bounce ideas back and forth with. It’ll help you to find out more about yourself and what you like and dislike in a working environment. Remember to enjoy the next chapter in your life and use the great experiences at university as a stepping stone to new opportunities!