By Sheepa Miah, Business Relations Officer
Isabelle contacted the team after successfully securing an internship at GUCCI, thanking one of our Career Coach’s for his help with her CV and LinkedIn profile which played a major role in her employer’s decision in hiring her, especially as a large proportion of recruitment in the Middle East is done using LinkedIn. She shares her experience and advice to students with us:
I wanted to study in a diverse city so London was the best choice for me as it was close to home with a vast international exposure. Other than the excellent location and reputation, I decided to study at Regent’s University London for various reasons; being able to meet other international students from diverse backgrounds and a course which offered very interesting and engaging options like studying a language alongside my classes and the choice to study abroad.
I visited the Careers and Business Relations (CBR) office numerous times throughout my 3.5 year degree. The CBR team was very helpful in supporting me with career path advice, Masters applications, improving job searching skills and preparing me for interviews. Moreover, they offered various workshops throughout the year, which have proven to be very useful as I was able to successfully apply these skills to acquire my work placements. Another aspect that I particularly appreciated was the international guests that regularly visited the University. I was able to meet a lot of interesting people and learn about different industries.
As I was studying Arabic, I was very excited to go to Beirut, Lebanon for one semester. Having never been there before, the IPO office was very supportive in preparing us for what to expect in terms of habits and culture. The study period abroad (SPA) was a great learning experience, even when my communication skills were constantly challenged. It was definitely one of the most enjoyable and exciting part of my course. I was able to learn about a different culture whilst travelling, especially by living with Lebanese people where I learned so many things that books could not have taught me, including the popular hangout places and how the Lebanese experienced the war and constant political fights. I would definitely repeat my SPA if I had the chance to!
For my second semester I decided to undergo a study placement abroad. Being very much in love with the Arab world I decided to work in Dubai for 6 months. I interned in an events management company where I was a Project Coordinator for events of different scales. This internship helped me to learn more about the industry, widened my networking pool of contacts and most importantly it has supported me in my personal development. The work placement challenged me and made me realise what my strengths and weaknesses were. It was particularly helpful in enhancing my experience and establishing what field I wanted to work in in the future.
After graduating I decided to apply for another work placement before starting my Masters. I am currently working in Dubai in the department of PR and Communication for GUCCI. The recruitment process was more complex than any other interview I’ve had in the past. I sent my CV and cover letter to the HR department and after the initial screening, they shortlisted 10 potential candidates.
The process included a two-stage interview, the first one being with the HR department. I was interviewed for about 30 minutes where I was asked the usual questions about my experience. I was then given a paper clip and asked “Tell me about 10 things that you can do with this paper clip”. This question was very unexpected but tested my creativity. The second interview was with the manager of the Communications department. At a later stage I found out that my CV and LinkedIn profile had played a major role in their decision in hiring me over the other candidates.
My internship with GUCCI will finish in January 2014 after which I will start my masters in management in February 2014. I intend to return to the Middle East to work after graduating from my masters, hopefully with my current employer. One day I would like to become a manager of a global brand such as GUCCI.
For any students that are planning to apply in similar industries I would advise you to:
- Know the content of your CV (vocabulary and be able to expand on each bullet point)
- Prepare common questions prior to the interview (eg. what are your key strengths and weaknesses)
- Learn about the company and industry you are applying to (including competitors and what they have done)
- Bring any supporting documents (eg. dissertation, accomplishments from prior internships/job placements etc)
- Attend Careers workshops offered at Regent’s University London.