Shekira Khan, BSc Business Management (Year in Industry) | Nestlé Purina PetCare

Shekira KhanWhy did you originally choose Birmingham? Did it meet your expectations, and if so, how?

I chose Birmingham for a number of reasons, the key ones being the fact that my degree programme offered me a Year in Industry and that the University is so close to the City Centre yet instead of hustle and bustle we have a calm and serene setting where we can thrive. Birmingham met my expectations in that I had a great area to study and concentrate and when I wanted a break there were so many options for me. I had a fantastic time on my Year in Industry and I really feel that I was able to utilise that in my final year in my dissertation and exams, which was really important to me. I wanted to be able to apply my studies to the workplace, and bring back what I had learnt at work to my studies and I was able to do both of these things.

What have you been doing since graduation?

After spending a few weeks in Spain, I soon started the graduate scheme with Fujitsu working as a Service Delivery Manager. My first placement has been on the HMRC account supporting the delivery of desktop infrastructure to over 70,000 users nationwide.

What have you been doing since graduation? 

Following my graduation in July 2015 and a few holidays, I have been working for Nestlé’s pet food business, Purina PetCare, since September. I am in the first year of my HR graduate scheme which lasts for 2 years, and in September 2016 I will move onto my second rotation as a Junior HR Business Partner in a Nestlé confectionery factory.

Have you been back to Birmingham since graduation? Are you a regular visitor?

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to make it back to Birmingham since my graduation due to work commitments. I have had opportunities to visit the University through work as we regularly visit the University as Nestlé representatives for our graduate and placement schemes however my colleagues have visited, held workshops and mock assessment centres and given out free Kit Kats on my behalf!

Are you still in touch with friends that you made while you were here?

I’m still in touch with many friends that I met whilst at University and whilst mine and my friend’s home and work locations don’t always make it easy to see each other in person we catch up together when we get the chance.

What did you learn during your time at university that you’ve found valuable since leaving?

Making connections with new people has been one of the most valuable things that I learnt at University especially moving into the world of work following my graduation. I am in a graduate cohort with 50-60 other people, and I don’t know everyone that well, nor do I work with everyone closely, however it is incredibly important to build your network both with graduates and other colleagues and what I learnt at University is helping me to do that.

How did your time at university help your career prospects?

The fact that I had had the opportunity to spend 13 months working, during University was invaluable to helping secure a graduate role. I had a multitude of experiences and examples to use in interviews and assessment centres, as well as an understanding of the commercial world and what that entails. I found the alumni speaker sessions at University very useful in broadening my horizons which in turn was able to help me secure a position following graduation.

What advice would you give to someone who’s just about to start their degree?

I know it’s a cliché, but make the most of your time at University and really get involved with everything that you can. All of the activities, societies and groups are great for meeting new people, learning new skills and having something to talk about at an interview! Don’t underestimate the leadership experiences that you can gain at University that will be a great help for your future career, being involved in the leadership of a society or sports group all count and will also help you to learn about your own leadership style.

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