I was in a familiar situation to many students last year, looking online for internship inspiration. This led me to find the Management Undergraduate of the Year Award sponsored by Enterprise, which is a national award programme run by TargetJobs. I remember thinking how incredibly talented and accomplished you must be to even apply for the awards. Over dinner I mentioned the awards to my family, who encouraged me to apply. My Grandad famously says, “you’ve got to be in it to win it.”
When applications opened, I decided to push myself and embrace my Grandad’s attitude to give it a go, what was the worst that could happen? Maybe I do not pass the first-round assessment.
The first stage of the application for Management Undergraduate Of The Year involved submitting a 500-word piece about myself as well as completing online psychometric testing. I was nervous about the testing as I had never done them before, the unknown element was a factor here, which made me apprehensive. However, the practice tests helped to elevate my worries, I also answered everything honestly without overthinking too much about what the questions wanted, being authentic is important, I felt. I had read that often people try to second guess psychometric testing’s, which can sometimes negatively impact the results.
This approach worked in my favour as I was emailed to say I had progressed to the Top 60. Considering over 250 students across the UK applied, I was very surprised, but of course delighted!
RELATED: How to make your job application stand out
The next stage was a telephone interview. This was my first interaction with someone from the Enterprise team, so I was quite nervous. However, I had watched the useful workshop video that we had been sent to give some tips about how to be successful. The main take away I had was ‘be your authentic self’, which was reassuring to hear as I could do that!
Before the interview I researched Enterprise; the history of the company as well as the culture they have created. I really resonated with their impact within making positive changes for social mobility as well as female empowerment.
Throughout my time at the University of St Andrews I have been interested in both pursuits, alongside attaining my management degree. I am part of societies that tackle both social mobility and female empowerment. Finding out Enterprise was a top social mobility employer as well as one of the Times Top 50 Employers for Women really sparked my passion for working with Enterprise.
Being able to connect with their advocacy for making positive change really enabled my enthusiasm to show I had a genuine interest in those areas. My top tip when applying for Undergraduate Of The Year: find out what Enterprise do that really resonates with you (there’s a lot to choose from), and how you connect with them as an organisation. I felt throughout I could be myself and discuss the things that really mattered to me! Using this knowledge, I demonstrated my enthusiasm for both the award and Enterprise, which led to me being lucky enough to make the Top 40 and attend the assessment centre.
I have never attended an assessment centre before, I didn’t know what to expect or if the other candidates would be friendly. I had a very early start to travel from Scotland to London, this gave me lots of time to do some extra last-minute preparation. Arriving at Enterprise European HQ, the nerves started to kick in: Should I be there? I knew I had come this far so I decided to give it my best shot and gain as much as I can from the experience. The words of my Grandad resonating in my thoughts.
After meeting the other candidates at the assessment centre I felt so much better about the process. I loved chatting to my peers, I learnt so much from them throughout the day too. After some quick introductions explaining there would be 3 assessments: A group discussion task, leading a morning meeting and then a final interview.
My advice for these would be to just get involved as much as you can, I was really scared to say something wrong in the group task and felt the imposter syndrome slowly creeping in; however, I pushed myself to participate and really got involved with the discussions, which was the best thing I could have done as it showed what I can do and also helped the group conversations develop.
Everyone is a little apprehensive, the best advice I have is to be the person who goes out of their comfort zone, really throw yourself into the experience! Leaving the assessment centre, I really had no idea of how it had gone but it was only then that I realised how much I really loved Enterprise, I felt really welcomed and encouraged throughout the whole day which helped my nerves a lot, I left feeling connected to the organisation, which was great.
A couple of weeks after the assessment centre I received a call informing me I had successfully made it to the final Top 10! I was so surprised to have made to the final stage, (I even asked if they were sure they got the right person), but I was so excited to have the opportunity to attend the final award celebrations in Canary Wharf.
RELATED: Undergraduate of the Year Awards Grand Final 2022
The final was a huge celebration of all TargetJobs Awards; a unique opportunity to network with inspirational peers and really insightful industry professionals. I loved the final as it also was a time to really step back and celebrate everyone who had made it through to the Top 10 successfully, a huge achievement in itself! The Enterprise team that attended were all so friendly, I really enjoyed being able to spend the day learning more about their journeys within Enterprise. After dinner the winners of the awards started to be announced, along with it came my nerves as we edged closer the Management award.
Being announced as the winner was unbelievable, I never imagined I would be the winner! Enterprise choosing me as the Management Undergraduate of the Year gave me a huge sense of encouragement and belief in myself that I could do this and any other goal I set myself! The experience alone was incredibly beneficial into gaining insight, skills, and knowledge about the recruitment process. Reflecting on the experience, the best thing I took away was confidence, confidence within myself to tackle the recruitment process, but also within my own abilities. I am beyond excited to be able to work with Enterprise for my summer placement and cannot wait to see what the future holds!
To anyone thinking of applying to the awards, I cannot recommend enough that you give it a go, you never know where it might lead! There is no set amount of experience or expertise you need to apply, just a little belief in yourself can take you a lot further than you ever thought. As my Grandad says, “you’ve got to be in it to win it!”
Are you the next Management Undergraduate of the Year? What have you got to lose? Apply now!
Management Undergraduate of the Year finalist, Kerrith, shares why participating in the competition was an invaluable experience that has boosted her employability.READ MORE
Asking questions at the end of the interview is just as important as answering them. Here's how to make your interview a successful one.READ MORE
Enterprise has been listed as one of The Times Top 50 Employers for Women 2022 for the 17th consecutive year!READ MORE