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It’s been a hectic year for all working on the society in 2011-2012. Coming off the success of the Best Newcomer award in April 2011, we strove to increase the number of events held, double our membership and most importantly, make a difference to the students at York. I’m pleased to say we’ve done pretty well. A blockbuster 14 events have been held over the two terms, with presentations ranging from general question and answer sessions, presentation skills workshops, case studies and a cocktail making class! Our membership has been widened with many students from Linguistics, Psychology, Law, Politics, English and History taking part in workshops and events. The committee has played a huge role in ensuring events were organised, marketed well and were successful on the day. Thanks to our new Treasurer, Will, we managed to secure a grant from the York Annual fund for £600, which has been used to fund events, promotional material and other expenses. Bright Futures investors also helped out with event related costs, so we’ve managed to keep ship-shape with our finances over the year, with enough left to fund a few fun events over the summer term. Personal highlights have included helping to organise never before seen events at York, including our Big 4 Panel, which received unanimously positive feedback from company representatives and students alike. With regards to succession from the current committee, we’re still planning on holding a hustings event later on in the summer term so we have the benefit of advanced marketing and knowledge of the society throughout the term. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed building up the society and playing a leading role in its development over the past two years, and with new people on board wish it every success in the future – onwards, bigger and better! Aman Vice-President ’10-11, President ’11-12

Aman Brar – President Laura Patrick – Secretary Will Appleyard – Treasurer Stuart Duncan – IT/Alumni/Overall ‘go-to’ guy for getting things done Ryan Bellman-Jefferys – Corporate Liaison Daniel Gardiner – Corporate Liaison Effy Wang – Event Officer Dara Leung – Event Officer Martin Ferry – Marketing Officer Vladimir Skovorodov – Marking Officer

Social has been one of the main themes of Bright Futures York during the past year. Our new facebook page has received over 200 likes and is one of the main focus points for our event marketing. Twitter has seen our most impressive growth; we run the most active society account on twitter with over 700 tweets, 300 followers and the largest online list of present and former York students. We are now a premier resource of information for students using social media at York. Using Twitter as a quick method of feedback, answering queries, or relaying the latest campus news has enabled us to keep up-to-the-minute with our member base and the latest graduate recruitment information.

We have found that regularly updating our social media presence created the greatest student engagement. It was noticed that events which were published on Facebook the earliest, generated the biggest turnouts. Even if this was not the only factor, and it was just the events themselves which created interest, publishing details early definitely contributed to success. We found a new way of connecting via Linkedin this year and managed to generate the interest of several York Alumni in the society. After a message on the Alumni Linkedin group, we got several really positive replies, many of who put themselves forward to get involved and contribute to our society in the future.

The website still is extremely popular with both students and recruiters alike. This year we have added the calendar function through which we publish not only our events, but those of the Careers Service as well. This has led to a healthy relationship and has meant that now our events are published on the Careers Service’s system as well, further increasing the exposure of the Bright Futures brand.

This academic year, the York Fresher’s Fairs were hugely successful with Bright Futures York signing up a record breaking 586 new members, contributing to an overall total of 970+. The vast majority were signed up in October with an enormous amount of interest from Fresher’s looking for ways to improve their employability and meet potential employers. Our early links with the Economics, Finance and Law societies encouraged students from a wide range of courses to become members, whilst on the day we found a large number of linguistics and psychology students were interested as well!

Part of the Society’s popularity was down to the initiative of the committee in setting up stalls in more than one location across campus; this way we maximised the number of students who were exposed to and became aware of the Bright Futures logo and what we were about. Another factor was that many key events had already been booked and so could be promoted.

Our branded t-shirts, banner and leaflets definitely gave a professional impression that Freshers responded to. Another interesting concept of our own was the distribution of Bright Futures York business cards which displayed all of our contact information (email, Facebook, Twitter). These proved popular with students.

Kicking off the year was the Bright Futures Icebreaker. This took the form of an informal introduction to the society, our aims, past achievements and where we wanted to go for the year. We had an engaged cohort of students turn up and get involved in discussion, providing us with key details and opinions which we wanted to take into account when planning events. A large number of the attendees were first year students, putting aside the myth that students don’t get involved in thinking about careers until the last moment! Our second activity was a well-known one, for the people that have attended regional or national events before. The task was to create an elephant from newspaper and tape, give it a name and a realistic life story along with working in quickly arranged groups of strangers‌.all in a few minutes! It’s always fun to see the different ways groups tackle the problem, from allocating different segments of the animal to make, specialization of tasks, to everyone pitching in at the same time. Nevertheless, the feedback to our first session was overwhelmingly positive and we made sure to advertise the events coming up further on in the term.

Accenture came back to York for another session introducing their company and the benefits of consultancy as a career. Amit Sinha, a previous York graduate attended and was able to give a personal viewpoint on how to apply, linking activities he did whilst at the university. Throughout the session, Amit covered the roles of a management consultant and the different type of consultancy (e.g. management, I.T and outsourcing) that Accenture deliver; what skills are needed in the industry (such as commercial awareness, communication, confidence, analytical skill and leadership); the career path in such a field and application process. Members were put into group to work on a case study and help create awareness of the skills necessary for the role of a consultant and develop them further. Delving into a simple concept such as a petrol filling station brought up an amazing amount of analysis to be completed when considering supply chain management, marketing, customer relationship management, financing, etc. It gave members a real feel for the types of questions they would be asking, and then trying to answer for a client when completing reports and providing suggestions on where they could expand to, how they could change their processes.

On Thursday 3rd November 2011, we held an event which was designed as a panel Q&A session with networking afterwards with the Big 4 of the consulting world: EY, PwC, Deloitte and KPMG. Set in the magnificent Ron Cooke Hub on our new campus, the idea behind the event was that students could come pre-prepared with questions on any part of either the recruiting process or working day-to-day in any function at any of the Big 4. Over 60 students attended, with a wide range of courses represented, making it one of our most successful events to date!

To ensure that all questions would be able to be fielded effectively, we ensured that we had both staff members in functions such as management consultancy and audit, as well as having members from HR attend the event, and all companies were represented evenly. Our aim was to remind students that a finance or accountancy degree isn’t needed when working in any area of professional services – an issue which comes up time and time again in workshops and events. The panel members, most previous York students themselves, had taken degrees ranging from natural sciences to music, proving the point by simply being there!

All students which attended the event which we spoke to afterwards found the event very useful in that it has allowed them to improve their approach to internship and job applications at the firms, and in particular answer the particularly tricky competency questions which are most difficult to provide a stand-out answer for, such as “Why this firm in particular?�

Moreover, many attendee students were able to network with the representatives afterwards, and this has led to them building more effective networks and being able to keep in touch with members of the Big 4 du ring their application processes for internships and graduate jobs.

IBM’s reputation as a stellar organisation for graduates to work for brought in a number of interested students. We were keen to encourage members from all degree courses to attend, as though whilst IBM is still a technology company, much of its income now comes from the consultancy, business and finance arms of the business. A sales specialist from IBM outlined the different graduate schemes, along with providing some extra details on training and IBM’s unique Hursley research lab in the UK. Afterwards, the floor was open to any questions on the application process; how IBM selection days work and overall work/life balance at the company.

This was definitely a new one for us! Pinsent Masons came to Bright Futures with a brief for an event which would cause a stir around campus and provide a unique insight into the company. We were allocated a number of places for the event from our membership base, with the rest split between the Law Society. The event itself had a short presentation on the firm itself, a 90 minute cocktail making master class from the bar staff at Revolution York, and then an open bar for informal discussion and networking. What more can you ask for in a graduate recruitment event? Although none of the Bright Futures committee could attend due to work schedules, we heard everyone involved had a spectacular time, and hopefully it will have contributed towards an increase in applications from York to Pinsent Masons.

We partnered with the Economics society on an application click with Ernst and Young. Members were able to ask any questions on the application process, along with any other areas of the company from HR and new joiners to the firm. There was also an opportunity for some informal networking with drinks later on. For those interested in a career at EY or other professional services firms, it was an invaluable opportunity to get the important questions answered!

The trend is definitely that older students sign up in January. For example, 70% of those that signed up this Re-Fresher’s were 2nd Year or higher. These students just have, for whatever reason had no prior awareness of the Society’s presence up to this point. All of these students stated when signing up that they think that it is an absolutely fantastic idea and that they wished they had joined sooner. We gathered another 50 members from the event, putting on a strong start to 2012.

With China becoming ever dominant in the world and with new exciting careers constantly opening up, we were very grateful to have CRCC Asia come and do a presentation about the opportunities they offer for students looking for internships in China ranging from Finance to Healthcare. Leading the presentation was Laura from CRCC, who had previously done the programme herself, but also accompanying her were two York students who had secured internships in Shanghai during the previous summer through CRCC as well. This gave a much more personal insight for students who attended, as they were able to gain a much clearer representation as to what to truly expect on such an internship. After the presentation that gave a comprehensive summary of the opportunities available as well as all the logistics to carrying out such a placement. Ryan and Daniel, both members of our committee had completed placements in Shanghai the previous summer, and were able to an extensive Q&A session, reliving their unique summer and gave a far more in depth and more honest opinion on the programme that enthused attendees.

With a desire to offer an event that attracted students outside of our typical financial and management consultancy themed events, we were fortunate enough to be able to secure two employees from Procter & Gamble to deliver a presentation and run a business game and case study aimed for prospective marketing and sales graduates. Running the event was Duncan Piper, National Account Manager, for the Sales side and Matthew Thomas, Assistant Brand Manager, for the Marketing side. Having both previously attended York, it gave a far more personal feel to the event as they were able to better relate to the students having been in their exact same shoes only a couple or few years earlier.

Throughout the presentation Matt and Duncan kept everyone engaged by making the session as interactive as possible, and also gave a very comprehensive view, not just of their roles, but also of P&G as a company considering it is one of the largest companies in the world. They also gave details on career paths at P&G with advice on what tends to be looked for in potential graduates. For the second half of the session, all attendants were split up into groups and given a business game and case study to work on, delving into the decisions made when marketing a new product. The case study was based on a real product by P&G, although simplified for the means of the game. After having half an hour to decide the strategy each group would take, they each had a chance to present to Matt and Duncan, which would include not only their marketing choices but their reasons for each, having to justify their positions where necessary. Throughout each presentation Matt and Duncan challenged, critiqued and praised the attendants, helping them to develop their ideas and thought processes for any potential case study they may come across in the future.

For this event, we partnered with Alex Smallwood, a student who is a brand manager for business tycoon Peter Jones’s latest venture: Venor recruitment. They are on target to place 500 graduates within the recruitment sector this year, making them a recruitment company for recruitment people...if that makes sense! A number of interested students from a variety of degree courses attended. Alex explained the differences between a contingency recruiter and a permanent recruiter, and also how headhunters play a slightly different role with the most senior candidates. He also elaborated upon the salary system for most recruitment companies, with the commission element a large bonus factor the most impressive and hardworking recruiters. Afterwards he opened the floor to questions and took down interested student’s name to forward on to the company for possible placement subject to interviews and assessment centres.

On Wednesday 23rd February 2012, we held an event ran by Deloitte which focussed exclusively on preparing for assessment centres and greatly benefitted a number of students who were soon to have assessment centres for very competitive internships and graduate jobs, such as at KPMG, RBS and Accenture. The format of the event was a presentation by Darren Page, a senior recruitment manager ,which covered all aspects of what assessment centres entail, but more importantly how to perform well at them on the day. This was particularly valuable as a number of attendees, who had assessment centres scheduled in the few weeks after the event, had never actually attended one before, so this event provided vital preparation. In particular, given that Deloitte in a key player in the management consultancy field, a great insight was delivered into the “e-tray” exercise which is commonly used in consultancy assessment centres, and a number of our attendees knew that they would have to complete such an exercise in their own assessment centres. The Deloitte representative was able to field all questions from the students very well and was successful at widening the scope of the event to talk about firms other than Deloitte, and this was crucial in making the event as beneficial as possible for all attendees.

This was the first of our events that had been initiated through the York Alumni Linkedin account. The speaker was Arif Kadir, graduating in 2001, he now works for one of the most prestigious firms in the global consulting industry: McKinsey & Company. Normally based in Houston, luckily for us Arif was on a case in the UK for three weeks and made the trip up to York on Saturday the 11th. An event on the weekend, and in a new informal, intimate format never before trialled, we didn’t know what to expect. After a last minute change of location to V Bar, and seven on-the-ball attendees, we got the event underway. We started with introductions, after which Arif gave his. Something we found out through discussion was that Arif had started the UN Society while at York and, it was a nice coincidence, that two students attending were current members of that very same society. We talked about the benefits of being employed in the consulting industry in general, such as the fact that you’re constantly exposed to leading edge thought at several levels, both internally and externally. In addition to this Arif added that the travel is fantastic and that through his job he has been an incredible number of countries around the world. After talking about what it was actually like to work for McKinsey, we discussed the application process and quite how you go about getting a job from a top employer. Arif’s main advice for consulting interviews was that he could not overstress the importance of excelling at the case study section (He also recommended using a study guide, such as Crack the Case). The conversation moved, after some hot drinks, to the MBA admissions process, as well as Arif’s time working in the oil and gas industry. The questions kept flooding in (we actually overran!) as everyone was really engaging with what Arif, and other members of the group had to say. After many handshakes, Arif’s main piece of advice was that, if you wanted to work for a company such as McKinsey, you should not live your life to get into business school. You need to do what you enjoy and, most importantly, you need to do it well. If you can demonstrate that you have succeeded in your endeavours then you have a good shot.

For our last event of the second term we hosted Kantar Worldpanel’s debut visit to York. Talent Project Manager Gemma Brown came to campus to inform students as to what makes a perfect presentation as well as spreading the word about Kantar WP. A relatively unknown firm to students, this event was extremely beneficial for Kantar in raising awareness of who they are and the opportunities they offer. As a result, marketing the event and generating interest proved difficult. However, for those in attendance it was thoroughly enjoyable and worthwhile. Gemma was very friendly and approachable with attendees and answered all questions posed. In the talk she introduced a new concept of presenting known as ‘E S I 1 2 3’ which is easy to remember and can add structure to any presentation. After Gemma had given her presentation, it was our turn. We had to formulate our own talks on a topic of our choosing and had two minutes to present. This was a fun and practical way to put into practice what we had just learnt. Presentations being a large part of the application process at Kantar, Gemma had seen the best and the worst and, as a result, was able to provide insightful feedback on our own efforts. In addition to this, the presentations were peer-reviewed meaning that we could learn from each other.

When You Grow Up, or WYGU for short, is “the social network for career guidance, development and mentoring that helps you find your perfect career, or to help others with theirs”. But what exactly does that mean? Well, firstly it should be noted that all three of these sites offer their services for free. On WYGU you create a profile page with your skills and interests and their fantastic matching engine does the rest. They go with the mantra “we’re all different and there are jobs out there to suit us all”. The matching engine shows what your skills can do for you, or what skills you would need to work on for various opportunities. Furthermore, one of the unique aspects of WYGU it is the perfect place to connect with a mentor. What better way to find out about a career than by speaking to someone actually doing it? There is one feature that caught my eye. WYGU has its own blog section where you can link your own blog to be viewed by the WYGU community or you can search through the current database (which you can filter by keyword or tags). Here you can find all manner of useful information in one easy-to-navigate format. WYGU then, is a social community where you can connect with those of similar interests in varying stages of their career. Path Motion's selling point is that it advertises suitable career opportunities to you based on what people like you have done before. It has a neat feature that allows you to sign up with either your Facebook or Linkedin account to get started quickly. Like all of these sites, “the more you tell us about yourself, the more we’ll tell you about yourself”. Concise and user friendly, Path Motion finds useful job vacancies, selected for you. “We provide you with the vacancies we know you’ll like and options you haven’t considered”. Once you identify what you’re good at doing and what’s important for you in a job, prepare to discover everything that they think will suit you. Of course, this is not set in stone by any means. You are still in control of your own options; consider Path Motion as an opportunity widener helping you gain a deeper understanding of what’s possible. BraveNewTalent is a professional networking site that lets members follow top employers, including Google, Tesco and IBM (and many, many more), with the option to receive alerts of their news on Facebook, without the employer becoming a Facebook contact (and therefore viewing photos). They advertise themselves as the new way to research recruiters online; something every good graduate should do before an interview. There is also a vast quantity of informative, industry specific videos online dedicated to helping you find your ideal job. Here you can get info about interviews, assessments, career planning, working for the best companies and more. Furthermore, Brave New Talent has its own Q&A discussion forum where you can get answers to “some of life’s toughest questions”. Here you can find all of the answers, ask questions or, if you’re feeling especially helpful, you can try your hand at answering a few. Brave New Talent then is the perfect site for employer research as well as career research in general. Those are just three sites and there are loads more out there. I hope you found this review informative about some aspects of social recruitment. If you weren’t aware, I’m confident you now are; and if you were, I hope you know a little bit more. As always, self-exploration is the best way to learn, so go ahead, there is no harm in signing up and let us know what you think by commenting below. We would love to hear your views and advice. Or any other social recruitment sites that you think would be of interest

Blog post by Stuart Duncan on

With fierce competition in the market for graduate jobs, the slightest advantage could be the crucial factor between approval and rejection. And I mean if it is disappointing news, you are in good company; there are very few people who have never been turned down. So what do you do when you receive that generic email or, if you're lucky, phone call with the bad news? You try again, right? But what will make this time different? Einstein, a smart man in his own right, said that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. The best way to improve your future performance is to learn from what happened last time. Often the question "What is your greatest weakness?" comes up in interviews, regularly stumping candidates. How are they going to answer this is they never ask for feedback from previous applications? I mean, I know it can seem a little bit of a long shot at first. I would never have asked for feedback if it were not for the advice of a friend. I thought that if they had feedback, then they would have already sent it to me. I thought I wouldn’t get a reply, that I would be ignored. But what do you have to lose? If you have a contact address from prior correspondence then you can get the attention of the person who checks that account, and if they don’t have access to your feedback then they will know someone who does. Take the feedback on board and use it proactively. It is just as important to find out in which areas you did well as it is the areas where you need to improve. Sometimes you might think that improvement may be impossible. For example you might not consider yourself very good at leading presentations and can’t see how to improve. This is all about knowing the correct techniques, after which it’s all down to practice. If you didn’t know already, the Careers Service host a variety of skills courses, including one titled Perfect Presentations. There are many other courses, so whether it’s Decision Making or Project Management that you want to improve there is a course for you. There will always be an element of luck, but it is up to you to put yourself in the best possible position to get the career you want, and this all starts with acquiring feedback and moving forward, not sideways.

Blog post by Stuart Duncan on

Anual Achievement Report 2011-2012  

The second report from the Bright Futures York society