Meet the UCL students shaking up the graduate job market
Their start-up VCH will change your life
At some point, every student is faced with the prospect of graduation and life after uni. Terrifying, right?
We spoke to the students trying to make internships and grad jobs a little less stressful, with a website called Varsity Careers Hub. Tom Murdoch (UCL Russian and French) and Oliver Ng (Russian and German) are working alongside students from other top UK universities on the site. We had a chat to find out more.
So, what does VCH actually do?
Tom: It's a curated database of students' and recent graduates' CVs, which employers can access to approach students with job opportunites, rather than the other way round.
Oli: The idea is to streamline the process, and make it easier for both employers and us when it comes to internships and grad jobs. Trying to balance uni life, social life, health and employment can be a real issue, so we hope to make one of those things less demanding.
How can it help UCL students specifically?
Oli: The site only works with UCL, Oxford, Cambridge, LSE, Imperial and Durham, so employers know that they'll be reaching top-level graduates. Uni in London can be a lot to handle, and not having to worry about applications would make it easier.
What advice would you give to freshers?
Tom: Enjoy yourself – it goes quicker than you think! To make yourself most attractive to employers (and have the most fun!) make sure you're doing things outside of academia too. Get involved in clubs and societies within and outside of uni – and any positions of responsibility you can get are really great too!
How important is a spring week / summer placement?
Oli: There's no point in pretending it isn't important for a lot of careers. Not only does it give you something to go on your CV, but a lot of firms actively recruit from people who've done placements with them.
Tom: It can also really help you work out whether you actually want the job you think you do – sometimes the reality of a career is very different from what you think it will be.
And finally, if you could go back to first year and start uni all over again, would you change anything?
Tom: I'd definitely stress less about careers stuff and just try more things. I'd also be braver and get stuck in with UCL more. It's such a big uni that sometimes it can feel a bit like you're getting lost, so I would make sure that didn't hold me back as much.
Oli: If I'd known about VCH, I definitely would have used it to help streamline the internships application process. I'd also spend less time stressing and more time getting involved in things around uni.