April 22, 2022, by NUBS Postgraduate Careers

Making the most of my my master’s year helped me gain a UK graduate job!

Picture of Priyadharshini Devarajan

Picture of Priya in the UK

by Priyadharshini Devarajan

I’m currently working as a Senior Software Engineer Consultant in Derisk360 which is a Data Consultancy firm based in London. I’m working on a Skilled Worker visa. I started as an international graduate, (originally from India). I studied MSc Business Analytics at the University of Nottingham (Nottingham University Business School) where I gained the Dean’s Excellence Scholarship.

On behalf of my employer, I currently work for the client NatWest to provide bespoke engineering solutions for data quality testing and management in the Data Warehouse team. I started my job in the UK on a graduate scheme where I was a Software Engineer Consultant. I have since been promoted to my current role. Before my master’s and after graduating as a Computer Science Engineer from Anna University in Chennai, I worked in the Bank of New York Technology as an Application Developer.

How I secured my role as a Software Engineer Consultant

I utilised my time at university to expand my network and to build valuable work experience. Here is how I did it…

Recruitment methods: I participated in four rounds of interviews for my current job role. The first round was via telephone, the second round was technical, the third round was a cultural fit interview and the final round was a technical interview with the client.

Taking up opportunities: By taking up lots of experiences and making the most of my time at University I was able to develop an awareness of the graduate labour market and expand my network.

Part-time work: I started searching for a part-time job in the UK from India as soon as my University offer was confirmed. I first circulated my CV to the people I knew, who then circulated it to their network in the UK. I received a part-time job offer even before coming to the UK, by being proactive and searching for a job through my network, developed through my previous work experiences.

Rotary Club, Nottingham: I attended Rotary Club meetings and events which provided exposure to business and experienced professionals from various sectors such as IT, Teaching, Law, etc. I gained mentorship from these highly experienced and successful professionals.

Public speaking: I joined the Robinhood Speakers Club (a local Toastmasters club) to join with native speakers and improve my communication in English. I was a Toastmaster member in India which made joining much easier. I served as Vice President of Education from June 2020 to 2021. This was a great opportunity to learn more about British culture and to meet people from different backgrounds. I increased my confidence in English speaking, presentation and impromptu speaking. This experience helped me in my current role when dealing with clients.

Life Leadership course: Hosted by Friends International: Friends International is a charity in the UK that organises events and workshops for students. I learned leadership skills within a closed group of global students from places like Germany, Nigeria, Columbia, China and the UK. The course is supported by coaches and teachers with business experience and useful networks. My time management skills improved, and I learned the importance of goal setting, reflection, and resilience. This opened opportunities to visit local businesses where I learned more about the business, culture, and ways of working in the UK. I was made aware of local technology-based companies, their hiring process, culture, and vacancies.

The Accelerated Career Leader Programme: The Postgraduate Careers service delivers timetabled sessions for MSc students which helped me in the following ways:

  • Understanding the importance of using LinkedIn, how employers use it, and a greater understanding of networking generally.
  • Learning about recruitment psychometric tests (common in the UK) and how we can prepare for these with university resources.
  • Gaining a framework to help me to prepare for competency-based interview questions.
  • Attending insights sessions with visa and immigration specialists Paragon Law – which helped me to inform my current employer on how to apply for a sponsorship licence and skilled worker visa, which really helped them to hire me quickly and effectively.

Nottingham Postgraduate Award (Intercultural awareness module): I gained knowledge and awareness of various cultures, their commonality, differences, ways to embrace those differences, and adapt to the local culture. I understood the challenges that an international student experiences in a foreign country and learned to embrace those challenges.

Foreign Language Class: I took the opportunity to learn a new language -French, through Nottingham University Business School.

Additional experiences: I attended events and societies to keep my sector knowledge up to date. These included HackSoc, Tech Nottingham, employer workshops and Careers Fairs.

Advice to current students

As a current student, be open to learning from anything and everything. Commit to continuous learning and development. Keep moving, keep trying and explore as much as you can. There is opportunity everywhere. You never know from where or from whom you will get the next opportunity. So, focus on expanding your network and learn as much as you can by participating in many activities, events, meeting people, etc. Reflect on your everyday activities and ask yourself if your activities in the day aligned with your goal. Sometimes you might be distracted but that’s okay. Just learn, correct yourself, and move on. Always look forward and stay optimistic. Replace the word difficulty with ‘challenge’ and adversity with ‘opportunity’. I wish you good luck!


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