Annual Achievement Report 2013/14
Year in Review Well, what a year it has been! It feels like so little time has passed since term started in October. In that time though the society has unquestionably gone from strength to strength. We have seen a significant increase in membership from last year, which now stands at 1290 following a massively successful freshers fair. This makes as one of the largest societies at a university with the highest society per student ratio in the UK. We have broken our event attendance record not once or twice but three times and increased our average event attendance by more than 120%, to 63 students from all our 7 events. Another significant milestone was the organisation and execution of our first ever multi-sector event with PwC and Pinsent Masons. We took advantage of funding from our careers service to put on a brand new event titled ‘Share My Internship Live!’. This involved second and third year students giving insightful and honest accounts of their placement experiences across 10 different sectors. All attendees received free pizza. Perhaps the highlight though was our groundbreaking Retro Gaming themed session with Thales. This was not only our first targeted event at Electronics and Computer Science students it was also our first event on the Heslington East campus taking advantage of the fantastic Ron Cooke Hub facilities. The attendees were all extremely engaged and the employer went away very happy.
Having all been elected in uncontested positions it was an objective of ours to make sure the elections got a high turnout and multiple candidates standing. We achieved records in both of these, with 45 members attending and 14 candidates standing. Achieving this goal was confirmation of the progress made this year in terms of building our ‘brand awareness’ on campus cementing the society’s reputation for boosting employability. Finally, we have put in place the foundations for greater successes in the future with a smooth and comprehensive handover process with the new committee. Indeed planning is already at an advanced stage for a series of law events next year based on the success of our event in January with BPP Law School thanks to collaboration between new and old committees. Thanks very much to all of the 2013/14 committee, including those who had to step down but contributed to some fantastic events. Thanks to the national team for all their vital help and guidance. Most importantly thanks to our members for supporting our events throughout the year. Here’s to a successful 2014/15!
Here is a selection of infographics showing some of our achievements from this year. Above you can see we have increased our average event attendance by 120%. The graph to the right shows just how diverse a range of students are coming to our events using our BPP Law School event as an example. Below you can see the large growth in the numbers of people who are opening our weekly emails as a result of our improved marketing strategy.
500 450 400 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0
Contents The Year in Review
The 2013/14 Committee
Events Bank of England
Introducing PwC and Pinsent Masons
Share My Internship Live!
‘How to do Business in China’ with Absolute Internship
‘How to become a Lawyer’ with BPP Law School
Retro Gaming with Thales
CV Checking with Instant Impact
The 2014/15 Committee
The 2013/14 Committee
Anton, Co-president 3rd Year Economics Waiting on masters and summer internship applications
Ross, Secretary 3rd Year History Training contact with Jones Day
Vysh, Events Officer 3rd Year PPE Offer from Aegis Media, considering options
Liam, Co-president 3rd Year Economics Placement year with Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Linda, Corporate Liaison Officer 2nd Year Management New president and currently applying for summer internships
Shallie, Events Officer 2nd Year Applied Social Sciences
James, Treasurer 3rd Year PPE Graduate job with Accenture
Joyce, Events Officer 1st Year Economics New Marketing Officer and currently applying for summer internships It has been a challenging year for the committee with various members having to leave due to other society involvement, volunteering positions and part time job commitments. This meant we welcomed Vysh and Joyce and Shallie to the team part way through the year. The core of the committee however has remained in place and it is remarkable given the circumstances that we were still able to put on a solid calendar of events.
Marketing One of the key issues we wanted to tackle this year was our average event attendance, as despite our large mailing list last yearâ€™s events only saw 28 students on average. It was clear that improving our marketing strategy would be key to achieving this. Traditional marketing methods have their benefits, but using them to reach large numbers of students often requires greater cost both financially and time-wise than we as full time students can provide. Digital marketing methods on the other hand can access thousands of students in a very short time period, so this year we have concentrated our efforts on these. Our primary marketing tool has been departmental emails. All students at the university receive emails from their course administrators with information about upcoming opportunities. We have constructed a database with every administrator contact at the university, and worked to establish good relations with each of these, so that we can ensure our promotional emails end up in the inbox of almost every student at the university. Our estimate is that on average at least 9,000 students hear about every event we run through these emails. We are also able to target specific groups of students, as we recently did for the Retro gaming event we ran with Thales. These emails of course reinforce the weekly emails we send to our 1290 members. One area we feel Bright Futures York was weak on last year was the tone of our messages. The average student has an extremely crowded inbox, so for our messages to be noticed we needed to ensure they stood out. Using advice that James had picked up from a media-marketing expert who he did an internship with, we have worked to ensure our messages strike the right tone, are always eyecatching, and constantly drive the target audience towards our events. The results have been fantastic â€“ as the graph on page 3 shows we have increased the number of students that open our emails via Groupspaces from around 120 at the end of last academic year to 472 for our recent most email. The other tool we have very much focused on this year is social media. Previous committees had established Facebook and Twitter profiles and groups, so this year we have worked to ensure more regular and effective posts using them, using the same tips on tone and driving the message as before. We have also set up a LinkedIn page for the society; however the real improvement in social media we have overseen this year comes from our use of the scheduling tools Hootsuite and Buffer. These have enabled us to send out 4 or 5 posts each day in the run up to events, and at the times we know students are most likely to be online, regardless of how busy our personal schedules are. All of these marketing techniques are of course in the handover document we have written for the new committee. We feel in terms of marketing expertise and procedures we are leaving the new committee in a very good position.
Collaboration Building on from last year’s successful partnerships, we continued to work closely with Econsoc (The Economics Society) and also our university careers service. This has involved cross promotion of key events such as Careers promoting our Retro Gaming event with Thales and our promotion of their flagship Professional Connect networking event and Government Economic Service talks. The highlight of course was our Share My Internship Live! event with Econsoc which is almost certain to be repeated next year due to its enormous success. We have become known for being students ‘one-stop-shop’ to get the low down on what careers events are taking place on campus. We see cross promotion of other events through our weekly emails and social media as part and parcel of our role as a responsible and active member of the wider university community. There is even further scope for collaboration, in the coming year, including establishing enhanced departmental partnerships, which may be of mutual benefit to us, and academic departments who are constantly seeking to improve their careers provision. There are also many other societies that offer potential opportunities for collaboration, which the new committee will no doubt seek to explore. We are convinced it will be easier this year, indeed the new committee have already set to work on building relationships with employers, the student union and other societies. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
Finances Here at York we operate within a very crowded society market place as the university with the highest societies per student ratio of any university in the UK. This makes standing out as a society difficult and is partly why after much debate; we decided to continue to be a free society with no membership fee. We also believe that help with employability should not be something that York students have to pay for given they already pay £9000 tuition fees. This however does have significant disadvantages, including the fact we are unable to receive any funding from our student union. We have managed to get through this year by taking advantage of grants available from our careers service and also getting investors attending events to contribute towards running costs. This included PwC and Pinsent Masons paying for Canapés and Bucks Fizz at our dual sector event. In this case we realised it was easier to get our university catering service to bill the companies directly and this greatly saved admin time on our part. We have also charged the non-investors Absolute Internship and Instant Impact, with these events being a mutual win-win. The organisation gets access to our promotional tools and membership base that they would not have otherwise; we increase the range of events we offer to our members and also raise vital revenue. That all said the new committee have taken the decision that a substantial improvement in our finances would open up significant opportunities such as the ability to subsidise travel to Insight Days as well as important national event expenses for committee members. It will also give the potential to organise more ambitious events with investors who have little money to contribute to running costs. The balance of the society on handover is £140, which is 70% higher than when we took over the society.
2013/14 Events The Bank of England 15th October 2014 Attendance: 53 Around 50 students joined the Bright Futures Committee and a representative from the Bank of England to find out what one of the most influential central banks in the world has to offer undergraduates interested in a career on Threadneedle Street. Students from a host of disciplines were also given information about the opportunities available at the Bank, ranging from summer internships to graduate positions and even post-graduate sponsorship.
…………………………………………… Introducing PwC & Pinsent Masons 21st October 2014 Attendance: 83 83 students gathered in the Exhibition Centre on 21 October for our event with the 2013 Bright Futures Investor of the Year, PwC, and the UK Top 20 law firm, Pinsent Masons. st
As one of the Bank’s newly-targeted universities, attendees were also fortunate enough to be given tips on how to stand out at the Bank’s testing recruitment group exercises, designed to examine the strengths and weakness of each candidate. Everyone was given the opportunity to participate as well as observe others taking part in the exercise—a stranded-island-typecritical-thinking game— giving students a unique window into how recruiters at the Bank assess candidates for its highly competitive positions.
The presentations at the start of the event gave students a brief introduction to the businesses as well an overview of their summer internships, vacation placements and graduate recruitment opportunities. After the informative presentations, our enthusiastic students had a chance to grill both partners and graduate recruiters on the application process and requirements and what it’s like to work in their sector in a lively Q&A session. During the final session, students and 14 representatives including partners from both organisations had a great time networking with Bucks Fizz, Wine and Canapes. This was a golden opportunity for students to get to know more about the company culture, future careers, position descriptions and even exclusive tips on the application process! The great success of the event was thanks to the efforts of our partners, PwC and Pinsent Masons, as well as all event attendees.
Here are some quotes from attendees of the event: “PWC & Pinsent Masons event was really good. Presenting two top companies, Bright Futures open new doors for students studying in different departments (Accounting, Finance, Business, Economics, Management, IT.) It was very helpful to hear about summer interns and a lot more opportunities to join these two companies before my graduation. Thank you! ” Emilia Miteva “Although I came up late, people in the society were friendly and they were willing to help nicely whenever I had questions about anything. Overview, I feel great about attending the events and I have got useful information from both the event and the society. I am looking forward to the next one! ” Samuel Cheng …………………………………………………………………
Share My Internship Live! 11th November 2013 Attendance: 96 Just under 100 York students converged on Monday 11th November to learn of the experiences of other students fortunate enough to complete internships with a host of different employers from 10 different sectors. Bright Futures and Econsoc teamed up to produce the event and make the most of the fantastic networking opportunities on offer at the University within the student population itself. Interns representing the likes of Lloyds Banking Group, J.P Morgan, Nestle, Government Economic Service, Ernst and Young and Santander delivered presentations on the details of what positions employers have to offer and how to secure them in an increasingly competitive labour market. The subject matter covered included tips on how to stand out at assessment centres, how to make the most of internships, and the type of tasks you can expect to take on while completing them. This was followed by an extremely useful Q& A
session where our panel were frank and honest about what working for their respective employer was like. Finally, attendees were given the opportunity to network with one another and the interns over the all-important pizza and drinks. At this point the speakers were joined by additional networkers including those who had completed internships including with Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Kings Park Capital and Raleigh/International Citizen Service. Special thanks goes to the Careers Service for providing funding for the successful running of the event.
‘How to do Business in China’ with Absolute Internship 28th November 2013 Attendance: 18 A small but highly engaged group of students came to P/T/005 on a cold Thursday evening for our final event of 2014 with Absolute Internship. A fascinating presentation from Aurélie, Co-director of Absolute Internship was delivered in two parts. Firstly she explained in detail about the culture of business communication in China and the importance of Guanxi. Secondly, she shared her own experiences and talked more generally about the boost to your CV that international work experience can bring and why students should consider Absolute Internship. Extremely insightful testimonials were then given by two people who had successfully completed the internship scheme. A lively networking session followed the presentations from which Aurélie had to be dragged away to catch her train! This was accompanied by cookies, mince pies, crisps and and fruit juice! “Thanks for hosting me this evening…..lots of interest among students which I thank you and your team for”. Aurélie Co-director Absolute Internship
……………………………………………………………………………………… ‘How to become a Lawyer’ with BPP Law School 16th January 2014 Attendance: 79 On the 16th January Bright Futures York hosted the BPP Law School, one of the largest legal education providers in the country. Jo-Anne Pugh and David Norris, both former solicitors and current tutors at BPP, revealed key information and inside stories of the legal industry, describing what it’s really like to work as a lawyer and the most successful ways into the industry. The event, targeted at non-lawyers but open to students from all backgrounds, attracted 79 students. The evening started with a brief introduction of the legal system. The differing types of chambers and practice were detailed and a description of the professional characteristics and requirements of a lawyer proved thought-provoking for those considering careers in the sector. Jo-Anne and David then presented us with an summary of BPP’s reputable programmes (including the LLB, GDL, LPC for prospective solicitors and the BPTC for prospective barristers) before sharing tips and tricks for getting a training contract, and a little of their own personal experiences. Their overview of the legal industry was thorough and incredibly interesting, and the lively Q&A session afterwards ran into overtime! Due to the enormous success of this event we have plans to put on more events for non-law students at York wishing to pursue a career in the legal sector (see handover section for more details).
Retro Gaming with Thales 20th January 2014 Attendance: 17 Bright Futures York ran a groundbreaking ‘Retro Gaming’ event with Thales on Monday 20th January. Thales are a French multinational electronic systems and engineering firm with operations across defence, security, aerospace and transportation sectors. The event began with a short presentation by Thales’ recruiter Gemma Minish, introducing the company and outlining their graduate opportunities. Students clearly engaged with the informative and interesting talk, with the number of questions at the end leading to an extended networking period with Gemma, enjoyed with refreshments provided by the society. Following this, we were then given the opportunity to try both retro and modern gaming competitions! The Nintendo Classics of Goldeneye and Mario Kart were fired up, with both the skills and the big-talking of certain players providing plenty of fun and laughter. The fantastic 3Sixty demonstration room in the Ron Cooke Hub was also utilised, projecting the Xbox Kinect onto 4 20ft walls and allowing students to play virtual ten pin
Bowling, boxing, football and more on a scale most of us had never seen before! 17 York students from the Electronics, Computer Science and Physics departments attended. Thales were extremely impressed with both the quirky nature of the event and the numbers of students attracted. They plan to use it as a template for further events in future, and we in York are very much hoping to welcome them back next academic year. Students who came to this event not only got vital information about the company but also fed back how much fun they had. We have recommended our successors organise more events like this to attract more students from different departments in order to grow our society outside its traditional comfort zone.
“What a great idea, one of the best careers events I’ve been to” Matthew Wells, 3rd Year Electronic Engineering
CV Checking with Instant Impact 4h March 2014 Attendance: 90 Our new committee had their first taste of event organisation with an enormously successful CV drop-in afternoon with the team at Instant Impact. During brain storming at the beginning of the year, an SME orientated event in the spring term was identified as a priority of ours and this fitted the bill perfectly. Instant Impact are a recruitment agency that help fast growing SMEs across multiple sectors recruit the best university graduates. The session was based in the library, which with its high rate of footfall, was always going to be an ideal location. A fantastic supply chain line of outdoor leafleters and a manned stand within the library foyer fed the CV checking engine room manned by three representatives from Instant Impact. The constant flow of people meant that they were busy all afternoon with barely an opportunity for a break! The drop in style daytime event format was
something the society had not tried before and for this reason the decision to go ahead was taken knowing that is was a significant risk. However, it went down like a storm and has inspired the new committee to consider putting on similar events in the future. Somewhat to our satisfaction, the event attracted more people than the equivalent events at Nottingham and Bristol universities! The event also gave the new committee a chance to gel and get to know each other better. Teamwork is such a crucial element to the success of any Bright Futures committee so it was extremely promising to see the camaraderie they had already developed.
Elections We took the decision to hold our elections early this year for a number of reasons. Firstly, the timing of last years meant that was a lack of candidates standing for positions. This is because with York having such a crowded society market place, the later you hold them, the smaller the pool of talent that is available, as people will already have taken on other positions. Secondly, the fact the elections were taking place in May meant there was limited opportunity for handover other than during the busy exam period. Holding elections when we did has allowed for a lengthy handover period where the old committee can continue to provide support and guidance to the new committee.
The election turnout was amazing; we had 45 people turn up to vote and 14 candidates for 7 positions. The quality of candidates was outstanding and they all had some fantastic ideas about how the society could be taken forward. The experience of seeing some top quality candidates miss out will hopefully have impressed on the new committee how lucky they are to have got their positions and inspire them to even greater success.
The 2014/15 Committee President: Linda Yang [2nd Year; Business, Accounting and Management] Secretary: Rachel Smith [2nd Year; Politics, Economics and Philosophy] Treasurers: Matthew Robinson and Kris Kim [Both 1st Year; Economics] [Street Address] [City], [State][Postal Code] [Web Address]
Marketing Officers: Joyce Man Chu [1st Year; Economics] James Randall [2nd Year; Philosophy]
Events Officers: Jessie Leach [2nd Year; History] Luca Rampoldi [1st Year; Politics, Philosophy and Economics] Dane Wells [1st Year; Management]
Handover One of the key priorities we identified for this year was an early and orderly handover so that the new committee did not feel like they were playing catch up as we have felt at times this year. We have created a comprehensive 3000-word handover document, which we firmly believe will stand the new committee in great stead when it comes to organising events for the rest of this year and beyond. The details we covered included an introduction to the Bright Futures network, tips for event organising (Groupspaces, booking rooms and other formal paperwork), marketing and funding advice. As well as practical guidance, the document also shared our experience and views regarding what events prove popular and are in high demand, and what ‘gaps in the careers event market’ exist. This will allow the new committee to make informed decisions about what events would be a ‘safe bet’ but of course we have also encouraged them to take some calculated risks and run with any new ideas particularly if they have evidence that may prove popular. The old committee have continued to provide support with the following: • •
Delivering the Instant Impact event. Planning events for next year together. The most notable of these is the series of law events for non-law students we have planned in collaboration with the BPP Law School in Leeds. Non-law students interested in a career in law are a key target market for Bright Futures York - they are underrepresented and highly motivated audience. We are planning 3 or 4 events which will be hosted at the university by BPP and include representatives from law firms and barristers chambers in order to cover all the possible considerations a non-law student could have. Building relationships between the new committee and the contacts the old committee have found most helpful this year, both within the university and externally. Both old and new treasurers are collaborating on financial matters to increase our budget for next year that will hopefully allow funding for travel to national events amongst other things.