Career Planning at Warwick
I remember that all throughout secondary school, the main focus of my parents, teachers and I concerning my future, was getting me into a good course at a good university. I had a rough idea of the kind of careers I might want to pursue after graduating (management consulting, human rights law, and international development were my top three), but I didn’t really know how I would go about getting into any these fields or what their work actually involved. Within my first month at Warwick, I realised that a lot of people were far (far!) more serious and productive about their futures than I was about mine. By week 4, it felt like everyone around me was talking about internships in ‘the city’, something called ‘The Big 4’ and these things called ‘spring weeks’. I was honestly left so confused by some of the conversations my friends had with/around me that it makes me laugh now to remember.
I was clueless about firms who provide financial and professional services because I didn’t come from a background where people knew/talked about them or worked in these places. Although it wasn’t the most fun feeling in the world coming to Warwick and feeling like a fish out of water, I’m really grateful to have done so because it’s meant that my time at Warwick has educated me on so much more than just my degree. I remember how during my first term in first year, a friend thought I was genuinely joking when I asked her to clarify what she meant by ‘P.W.C’, but at the end of my first year, I was on my way to PwC for work experience with their Africa Business Group in London.
Some people dislike the almost ‘hive-mind’ nature of career-planning that exists at Warwick (and, as I’ve been told by friends, many other top 10 universities) because there seems to exist a heavy focus on ‘city jobs’ (banking, finance, consulting, accounting etc.), and I can see why it might be annoying when you have no desire to enter these fields but it feels like everyone around you does. However, I’ve met a considerable number of students during my time at Warwick who definitely don’t want a city job (or aren’t yet sure what kind of job they want) and I’ve found that good support is offered to them for career planning just as it is for those seeking to follow more ‘conventional’ career paths. For example, during my second year, the PPE society held a ‘PPE Careers Carousel’ for those wishing to explore alternative career paths to banking and consultancy – paths such as retail, marketing and charity; the event featured companies such as John Lewis, Red Cross, Patchwork Foundation and VSO and gave students the chance to speak to these firms and ask questions about their sectors and organisations.
There has been a lot of career support offered by the university during my time at Warwick. Several careers fairs have been held in each academic year in order to expose students to a wide range of sectors and firms (some of the fairs have been sector-specific e.g. the Business, Finance & Consultancy fair, and the Law Fair). Careers fairs involve multiple firms setting up stalls and their employees handing out materials about careers with their companies as well as answering individual students’ questions about their firm and the experience of working and getting a job there. Warwick Student Careers Services & Skills is another form of career support offered by the university; they are a team specially dedicated to helping students plan for and pursue their career both while at Warwick and once I graduate. I’ve found them especially useful as I booked a career consultation meeting with one of their consultants in my first term at Warwick when career planning felt like a pressure and source of confusion, and received advice on the work experience, internships etc. that I needed to be pursuing while at Warwick in order to help me achieve my post-graduation career goals. The Student Careers team was also useful for my internship applications in second year as I made appointments with them and had my CV and applications checked for errors and areas for improvement before submitting them. I hope this post has made the idea of career planning at Warwick feel a little less daunting for those of you who might be worried about it; as always, please feel free post below any questions or comments you may have about this post, and I’ll get back to you 🙂