Why postgraduate study abroad can be a viable, cost-effective, option

Once you finish your undergraduate degree it can be hard to figure out what to do next. There are so many options available, further study and travel being just two. Conor O’ Doherty, a DCU graduate, chose to combine those two options and set off to the Netherlands to pursue a postgrad degree in New Media and Digital Culture at the University of Amsterdam (UvA).

There are hundreds of options when it comes to going onto further education, and each have their benefits and drawbacks. Moving abroad can be a more expensive and sometimes a stressful option, but it can also provide an invaluable experience.

Conor chose to study abroad for a number of reasons, including cost and a desire to travel.

“I wanted to leave Ireland for a while, although it’s a great place to grow up, I didn’t want to live there for the rest of my life without living anywhere else,” Conor said. “The other reason is that the price difference is huge when it comes to the cost of postgraduate study”.

Fees for a year in the UvA will cost Conor around €2000, whereas the equivalent course in Ireland would cost up to €6,800 per year.

“Although I’ll pay more for accommodation and moving expenses, Irish courses usually cost a lot more and they’re generally a lot longer”.

Having lived away from home during his undergraduate degree, Conor is used to managing finances himself. While in Amsterdam he plans to find a place to live  and use savings for the first while, but then try and find part-time work.

He found the process of applying for the course “relatively simple” but had some problems getting documentation together, as he hadn’t finished his course before the application deadline.

“My application was a bit of a mess to be honest because I hadn’t finished my course so I had to go to different bodies in the university, both here and in the Netherlands, to organise workarounds,” he said. “The University expects plenty of people not to have their degree yet though, so sending on predicted grades was acceptable.”.

Finding accommodation is something Conor is still trying to finalise before his move in August. Much like the accommodation crisis in Ireland, students looking for somewhere to live in Amsterdam face the same problems.

“I’m using a variety of sites to search like Volta and Pararius, but because they’re for Dutch people mostly, I might need to go through an agency,” he said. “Failing that, there’s very expensive emergency accommodation like The Student Hotel, but I’d rather not have to use that option”.

Conor advises anyone who is interested in a postgrad abroad to take the risk and go for it, but to really think it through before starting the process.

“It’s a huge leap of faith, but the only thing worse than not trying it is wishing you had,” he said. “I haven’t even started the hard part of mine yet and honestly, as stressful as it has been, I’m still very glad I made the decision and followed it through.”

Read here for more information on studying abroad from gradireland.com.

For more information on studying in Europe, including information about various universities to which you can apply, visit the EUNiCAS website.


6 skills graduates need to work in the food and drink sector

The Food and Drink sector is growing and thriving with new opportunities for graduates developing all the time. However, as Hannah Kelly explains, a new report has highlighted skill gaps graduates will need to fill if they are to be successful in the industry.

The recently released Food Wise 2025,a report compiled by the Department of Agriculture & Food, sets out a plan for the development of the agri-food industry over the next decade, said they expect to see a further 23,000 jobs created, including the creation of additional graduate programmes, over the next ten years in the Irish Food and Beverage Sector.

“The Food and Drink sector has grown strongly over the period from 2010 to 2016 and has recovered”, the report said. “Employment in the sector increased to 54,000 in 2016, an increase of 6,600 from 2009.”

To achieve further growth though, it was stressed that gaps in skills required for the sector need to be addressed. Graduates eager to work in this sector should aim to focus on developing skills in the following areas that the report highlighted:

  1. Think internationally: Develop your knowledge of, and skills in, international trade and logistics. Companies also place a high emphasis on language and multi-cultural skills. More specifically in this area you should work on developing experience in customer management, dealing with international customers and suppliers and supply management.
  2. Innovation: In particular, companies are looking for graduates with production development skills. More specifically the report identified gaps in portfolio management, packaging technology and design engineering. Talk to your careers advisor or look up companies who could help you bridge this skills gap.
  3. IT and Numeracy: Employers are looking for graduates with good numeracy and IT skills no matter what section of the company you’ll be in. These skills are particularly useful as companies seek to merge roles within their organisations through automated manufacturing procedures.
  4. Supply Chain Management: Focus on customer requirements and standards, managing money effectively and reducing inventory levels. These are all skills companies are looking for in potential employees no matter what part of the business you might be working in.
  5. Leadership: In the gradireland Graduate Salary and Graduate Recruitment Trends Survey, we found that 37.1% of employers identified lack of leadership hard skill shortfalls. Being able to demonstrate the potential to lead a team is important as both more strategic and engaged leadership is a skill gap identified in the industry.
  6. Financial and Commercial Acumen: As mentioned above, a lot of companies are moving towards less structured roles, with cross-functional teams and a broader variety of work the ever increasing norm. This means no matter where you are in the business; you’ll be expected to have good financial and commercial judgement.

For more information on different career sectors visit: https://gradireland.com/career-sectors

 


Ireland’s Top 100 Graduate Employers 2017

gradireland awards 2017

 

Ireland’s 100 leading graduate employers reveals Ireland’s most sought-after employers from the perspective of those that matter most – the students and graduates who will provide the next generation of innovators and leaders in Irish business.

The Ireland’s 100 leading graduate employers survey is part of the European Student Barometer, the largest pan-European survey of graduate trends and is conducted by Europe’s leading graduate research firm, trendence. The data produced decide the winners of Ireland’s 100 and the winners of the gradireland Graduate Recruitment Awards and contribute also to a wider study across all 24 European Union countries.

Here is the 2017 list in full.

You can find more information in gradireland’s book Ireland’s 100 leading graduate employers, published every Autumn and the 2016 edition is still available to view via gradireland.com/publications.

Follow us on twitter @gradireland for graduate recruitment  updates and like gradireland on Facebook


Where are the graduates of 2015 now? #2

what_do_graduates_do

In the second of a series of articles, we continue to look at where the graduate class of 2015 are, based upon the HEA’s recently released ‘What do graduates do? The class of 2015’.

This survey, the 25th of its kind, was published on February 15th and, mostly, points to an optimistic prognosis when it comes to graduate careers in Ireland. However, when it comes to the relevance of qualifications, there are quite differing views depending on the level of qualification and the sector of employment.

Graduates and qualifications

For graduates of 2015, 62% of Honours Bachelor Degree holders rated the relevance of their qualifications as relevant or most relevant to their current area of employment. Meanwhile, 76% of graduates with Higher Diplomas and Postgraduate Diplomas found their qualifications more relevant or most relevant to their work. 70% of Masters and Doctorate graduates rate their qualification as relevant or most relevant to their work, while interestingly, 11% rate it as irrelevant or most irrelevant.

Employment Overseas

62% of graduate with Honours Bachelor Degrees found that their educational qualification was relevant/most relevant to the area of employment, compared to 59% with a Masters or Doctorate qualification. This compares to Higher and Postgraduate Diploma graduates who have the lowest level of satisfaction, with just 53% viewing their qualification to be relevant/most relevant to their area of employment.

Employed in Ireland and Overseas

Agriculture, Forestries, Fisheries & Veterinary, Helath and Welfare and Education Honours Bachelor Degree graduates reported the highest levels of relevance between their employment and education, at 86%, 84% and 82% respectively.

The majority of Masters and Doctorate graduates, as would be expected, reported high levels of relevance between their educational qualification and their employment. Fields that rated their education particularly relevant included Health and Welfare (86%), Engineering, Manufacturing & Construction (82%) and Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries & Veterinary (80%).

Interestingly, high proportions of Arts & Humanities graduates rated their education as irrelevant/most irrelevant to their employment, with 51% of Honours Degree holders, 26% of Higher or Postgraduate Diploma holders and 29% of Masters and Doctorate holders of this opinion.

In our next article, we’ll look at graduate salaries for the graduates surveyed for the report. The entire report can be downloaded here. For further analysis of trends in different sectors, download the 2017 edition of gradireland’s Ireland’s 100 Leading Graduate Employers, the largest independent student survey of final year students in Irish universities, north and south.


Where are the graduates of 2015 now? #1

what_do_graduates_do

In the first of a series of articles, we’ll be taking a look at where the graduate class of 2015 are, based upon the HEA’s recently released ‘What do graduates do? The class of 2015’.

This survey, the 25th of its kind, was published on February 15th and, mostly, points to an optimistic prognosis when it comes to graduate careers in Ireland.

Snapshot:

There were 18,526 students surveyed, with qualifications between levels 8-10.

Overall, 68% are in employment, with 57% employed in Ireland and a further 11% are working overseas. Only 6% of all graduates surveyed are still seeking employment nine months after graduation.

Those with Honours Bachelor Degrees

From the class of 2014, nine months after graduation, 58% were in employment. This has risen to 62% for the class of 2015, with the vast majority (85%) of them working in Ireland. Only one in ten graduates are going overseas to seek their first job, with the UK still viewed as the most favourable destination.

In terms of where the jobs are in different sectors, there is still a huge demand for teachers, and graduates in this area have the highest rates of employment. After education, IT has the highest proportion of employed graduates, at 70%, which reflects the consistent growth in this area.

One of the stranger results of the study was that graduates who were awarded a pass degree demonstrated the highest levels of employment (74%) while those who received a first-class Honours degree had the lowest, at 57%. The reverse is true in terms of progression into further study. While this finding is unusual, it is perhaps attributable to the fact that a higher award is necessary for acceptance into postgraduate study, with those who obtain first class honours more likely to pursue further study.

Those with Higher & Postgraduate Diplomas 

78% of those with these Diplomas are in employment, up from 76% from the class of 2014, with 75% employed in Ireland, compared to 68% from the class of 2014. This has led to only 3% seeking employment overseas, down from 8% in the previous year’s research.

Those with Masters/Doctorates

80% of Masters and PhD graduates are in employment, with 64% finding work in Ireland and the remainder overseas, with the UK the most popular. The sectors with the highest rates of employment for Masters and doctoral students were Business, Administration & Law and Education students at 87% and 86% respectively.

In our next article, we’ll look at the relevance of each qualification for the graduates surveyed for the report. The entire report can be downloaded here. For further analysis of trends in different sectors, download the 2017 edition of gradireland’s Ireland’s 100 Leading Graduate Employers, the largest independent student survey of final year students in Irish universities, north and south.

 


Interning with a professional services firm from a non-business background

By Adam Trundle, Corporate Finance & Tax Rotation Intern, Deloitte

When I applied for the summer internship in Deloitte, I wasn’t really sure if it was going to be for me. I am studying Maths and Music in Maynooth University, so my background in business is pretty much zero!

To be honest I only applied at all because Deloitte were placed so highly in the gradireland rankings. Nothing to lose by giving it a go! When I came in for my interview, it was soon obvious that Deloitte wasn’t just some big, boring ‘accounting’ firm. Everyone was kind and welcoming, no matter where they worked. I was lucky enough to be offered a 12 week internship, split between Tax and Corporate Finance. I accepted my place, but I still wasn’t really sure if Deloitte was right for me.

Adam Trundle during his internship with Deloitte

Adam Trundle during his internship with Deloitte

When I arrived on the first day, any worries I had about not fitting in were quickly dispelled. Our first week was spent getting to know all of the other interns and we were given lots of really helpful general training. When we went out to our respective departments, the encouraging atmosphere continued. I soon learned that no one expected us to know everything about tax already, thankfully! What was more important was being willing to learn and having a ‘can-do’ attitude. Everyone that I met was willing to take time out of their day to explain things to me. It didn’t matter that I didn’t know something coming in because I was there to learn, with some of the best teachers in the business.

After a great six weeks in Corporate Tax, it was time for me to move to Restructuring Services in Corporate Finance. This was a daunting prospect, because while I had some idea of what tax is, restructuring and insolvency were entirely alien concepts to me! When I arrived first, I was given a general overview of what the team I was joining did day-to-day. Every question I had was answered in detail, until I felt confident about my individual role. I am writing this blog at the end of my third week in corporate finance and I can safely say that I have learned more about restructuring in these few weeks than I did up to this point.

I’m really glad that I applied for a summer internship here in Deloitte, even though my degree didn’t originally seem relevant. I would recommend that anyone who isn’t sure what they want to do after college does the same. The learning and development team, the online resources and the people-focussed culture mean that anyone can achieve their full potential. That includes the likes of me, studying for a non-business degree.

Find out more from gradireland about what’s involved in areas like audit, tax and accountancy with our unique series of #FYI videos. Perfect for kicking off your career thinking while you’re still in college!

 

 


Five steps to make your LinkedIn profile shine

Having your CV and LinkedIn profile matching up, and displaying your skills and experience in the best possible fashion, is one sure way of standing out to recruiters. HR teams use the social media platform on a daily basis, so make sure your profile  is an all-star, helping you stand out from the crowd. These five steps can help you on your way.

linkedin-logo

1: What employers do you want to see your profile?

If you’re looking for a job in engineering, for example, you’ll need to research other profiles in the engineering field. Have a look at some successful people working in the area that you want to get into, see how they’ve highlighted their skills, knowledge and experience. You may not have the experience they have yet obviously, but you can work in key phrases, keywords and terms that the industry use, which will help your profile show up on search results. It is vital that you tailor your LinkedIn profile for the industry in which you want to work, the same way you need to tailor your CV for a particular job you’re applying for.

2: Write accurately and professionally

The same way a poorly written CV or cover letter ends up in the discard pile; a recruiter is not going to dwell on a poorly written LinkedIn page. They will be checking to see that your profile makes sense, that it uses proper grammar and punctuation (no emoticons or text speak!!).Make sure there are no unexplainable gaps in your work history or education. Again, research what others have in their profiles; make sure you include some keywords or phrases similar to those used in the job description you are applying for. Also, get a pair of fresh eyes to review it. It’s very hard to spot your own mistakes all the time, so get a trusted friend or family member (with a good eye for grammar) to check it over for you. In addition to grammar, focus on detail in terms of what you can offer. Again, taking engineering as an example, focus on technical capabilities, software knowledge, courses, certifications or other industry-relevant experience.

3: Get recommendations

Recruiters place value in well written recommendations below your profile as opposed to easily-clickable endorsements. If you don’t have enough employment experience for a reference or recommendation, perhaps your manager or senior colleague from an internship of work placement can help. If it can be from someone in your industry of choice even better! Also, be visual, if you have video clips or pdfs of projects that you’ve worked on; share them on your profile.

4: Connect and be professionally social

While the CEO of a major international firm is unlikely to connect with you straight away, other professionals in your chosen sector likely will, as will college alumni and department heads relevant to the sector in which you want to work. It’s best not to solicit connections randomly or anonymously, you’ll likely meet potential connections at careers fairs or other events so its better you introduce yourself before you try to connect. Also, there is an etiquette here, don’t try and connect with someone who you may be going for an interview with or who you have just had an interview with, it’s too over-familiar and could affect your application.

5: Use a professional photo

Sounds simple doesn’t it? But you would be surprised. You know that photo of you balancing the three beer cans on your head on the beach in Thailand? Don’t use that one! You don’t have to be in a business suit, but a full three quarter length photo in smart clothes shows you’re work-ready and aware of appearing professional.

 

For more information from gradireland on getting work ready, visit our careers advice section.