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Jennifer Bainbridge

I graduated from LANS in July 2017 with a double major in Economics and Chemistry. 

The top skills I developed were my ‘softer’ skills – project management, communication, problem solving and an ability to think outside the box. Whilst the academic knowledge of my degree has been useful, the graduate job market definitely values the non-technical skills (think buzzwords!) and wider experiences that LANS is able to offer. At interviews, I often spoke about the group projects, presenting, personal time management and adaptability that I was able to develop during my degree.

In terms of how my LANS degree was useful for applying for graduate jobs; I think the biggest benefit was the fact it’s a bit of an USP. You’ll get very good at explaining the course to recruiters (after being met with a blank face when you reel off the degree title). However, once people understand it, the usual response is “I wish I could have done that at university”. I had positive responses at every company I interviewed at, including consultancies, big four, and finance companies.

During the LANS degree, you’re encouraged to take risks and be comfortable with failing, and that has stayed with me since graduating.  After three and a half years working for a trading arm for an international energy company, I made the decision to switch career paths and am currently working at a transformational management consultancy firm.  My career pathway so far has been incredibly varied, from project management, business development, and operational roles.  I like to think I have continued the interdisciplinary ethos of LANS throughout my timeWhere do you see yourself in five years time? (specifically, in terms of your career goals).

I really enjoy consultancy work as it is incredibly varied, and I can explore lots of different industries, so I see myself still being here in five years (albeit a bit more specialised). I’d love to have an international career if possible.  Aside from that, I don’t have a clear ‘path’ planned out for myself, the last five years have been anything but straight!

Your combination of subjects is important: try to weave a story about why you picked them (it could just be that you wanted to try something new and challenge yourself). I’d definitely suggest spending time looking at the skills required for each application and finding a couple of examples to back up each skill. You’d be surprised at how many of these return to the opportunities provided by the LANS degree.

I’d also recommend making the most of new opportunities and not being afraid to try out new things (at least once!). University is more than just what you study and employers’ value what you do/can offer outside of it; this continues through to employment. One of my old managers told me that most people can do their job well, but you gain recognition by what else you get involved in both at work and as hobbies. Most people don’t have their whole degree mapped out and that doesn’t change once you graduate. So be prepared to have to face the ‘what do I want to do with my life’ question repeatedly and be comfortable with not always knowing.