October 17, 2005

Warwick Careers Service (Part 2)

An open letter to Warwick University's Careers Service:

Dear Sir or Madam,

I do not wish to become any of the following:

  • merchant banker
  • tax avoidance expert
  • investment analyst
  • accountant
  • corporate banking
  • share dealing
  • broker
  • generally, anything to do with making rich people richer

That is why I did not sign up to receive e-mails about these careers.

I would be most grateful if you could stop sending me e-mails about these, and send me something useful, about the careers I have actually registered an interest in.

I am, ever so slightly, fed up with hearing about presentations being held by companies such as KPMG, Citigroup, HSBC, Barclays, Ernst and Young, PwC, and the like.

I suspect the Careers Service has an interest in getting Warwick graduates into high paying jobs. It looks good on the league tables, after all. But how about respecting the wishes of students, rather than trying to make the Uni look better?

It would be nice if I didn't have to be spammed in this way.


Chris Doidge
(3rd Yr Politics)

- 10 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

[Skip to the latest comment]
  1. Hey, did you get that email the other day about the 'networking' event on thursday? Its about Broadcasting, Marketing, Advertising, PR, Sport, Public Sector & NGO's and i've signed up to go. The BBC are supposed to be there i think. Thought it might interest you too.

    17 Oct 2005, 17:56

  2. Finally, someone else who finds it ever so slightly annoying that a lot of time can be spent trawling through career emails that you did not want. I study history, and moreover a job in an office in some bank would suck the life out of me, so I have no interest in these emails at all. When will they send us stuff about jobs for arts students?

    17 Oct 2005, 18:16

  3. Jobs for arts students? What are those?

    But seriously, I went to the "Alternative Careers Fair" last year, and saw nothing to interest me there either. And apparently teaching is "Alternative". What? When so many graduates go into teaching, categorising it as alternative says pretty much all you need to know about the uni's attitude to graduate careers.

    17 Oct 2005, 19:57

  4. And like clockwork. Yesterday, KPMG. Today, Deloitte.

    Thanks Careers Service…

    18 Oct 2005, 11:52

  5. I don't think that Warwick is pursuing a sinister campaign to affect our career choices, but then I never was the most sinister of fellows. The makeup of the companies that ask to do presentations at Warwick reflects supply and demand in the job market – surely you recognise that? There are millions of people wanting to work for the BBC and far more of them are perfectly competent enough than there are spaces for so logically if you're brave enough to want to go for those kind of careers you've got to expect to have to hunt them down…

    I liked the wording of one recent email: 'Considering a career in Arts Administration – don't'.

    But yes I suppose your point is just that you didn't sign up to hear about those companies, in which case your complaint is perhaps a fair one.

    19 Oct 2005, 10:24

  6. Thea Gibbs

    Dear Chris,
    As you imply by the title of your blog entry, this is the second time you have
    raised these concerns with the Careers Service, and therefore my response
    will reiterate much of the response you received from us last time.

    I thought it was important to reply to you publicly, as I know that some
    students may share your concerns.

    I strongly refute your accusation that the Careers Service has its own agenda
    in promoting certain opportunities to students – we do not make any
    assumptions about what a student ought to be doing in terms of career
    planning. Rather we work with students to help them identify their own
    career goals, and then suggest ways they can work towards them, respecting
    their timescale and their definition of career success. We are here to facilitate,
    not dictate.

    In addition, and more importantly in relation to your open letter, we do not
    make any assumptions about what a student can and can't do based on their
    degree subject. You receive emails from us about events and opportunities
    because they are available to you as a Warwick student. Would you rather
    we assumed that as a politics student you would only be interested in a
    career as a politician? We don't like to pigeon-hole our students in this way.

    The vast majority of graduate vacancies are open to students of all degree
    disciplines. Although you may not believe it, many students with arts degrees
    go on to work in banking, finance and the City, areas which you seem to feel
    are not open to arts students. Prior to joining Warwick, I was a Business
    Research Exec in a venture capital company – and my degree is in history! It is
    important not to make assumptions about the type of opportunities available with
    employers otherwise you limit your options – just because a company is in the
    financial services sector, it doesn't mean they don't need IT experts, marketing
    people, and even librarians!

    We know from student surveys that around 10% of students aspire to a career
    in the financial services sector, and therefore, we know that although people
    such as yourself find this a turn off, for others the events we run are exactly what
    they are looking for. I do acknowledge that at this time of year you see lots
    of marketing from us about these events, but this is a result of the deadlines
    for applications in this sector mostly being before Christmas. Other sectors
    might recruit year-round, or a little closer to graduation, and therefore you
    may find a different emphasis later in the year.

    However, we do not forget about the other 90% of students who are interested in
    sectors other than financial services. Did you not spot the events we have
    already run this term? A Career in Market Research on 7th Oct? A Career in
    Local Government on 12th Oct? Teaching as a Career on 13th Oct?
    Public Sector Workshop on 17th? Careers in Arts and Cultural Management on
    19th? And the list of upcoming events goes on, but you get my point. And
    these events, like those supporting financial services, are open to all students,
    regardless of degree subject.

    In the Careers Service we welcome feedback from students, and I thank you
    for yours. It would be useful to understand a little more about the service you
    would like to see us delivering – as always we are trying to serve all students and
    graduates within the constraints of our resources. But if we are missing a
    trick, we are open to discussion about how we might go about addressing it.

    Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your ideas further.

    20 Oct 2005, 15:47

  7. Thanks for your response, but I feel you've neglected what I intended to be the main issue, and that is spam.

    Just because my e-mail account is provided by Warwick doesn't mean that you can send me anything you like. Today, for instance, I received three e-mails about the City and Finance Fair. For me – not interested in careers such as these – that's three too many.

    How can we opt out of these e-mails, while still receiving information that we have signed up for?

    The comments to this post suggest I'm not the only person fed up with hearing about endless careers in a single field.

    25 Oct 2005, 20:22

  8. Thea Gibbs

    Dear Chris,
    Apologies for missing this point. Unfortunately, the only way to stop receiving the general emails that we send is to request that your data protection status is amended by the Academic Office. It will then show on your student record that you do not wish to be contacted, and so you would not receive any more communication from us. This would, however, mean that we would not be able to retrieve your contact details for our mailings, and so you would not receive the tailored emails either.

    Email the Academic Office at ugoffice@warwick.ac.uk (if you are an undergraduate) or pgoffice@warwick.ac.uk (if you are a postgraduate) to request this change.

    I should also let you know that if you go ahead and change your record, you will be unable to book online for any of our events or services, as our IT system relies on using data from the Student Records System. By amending your data protection status, you would be denying us the right to use this data. This is not necessarily a problem, but I just wanted to let you know that it will affect your future ability to use the Careers Service in full.

    So it's your choice I'm afraid: 1. Receive no information about career-related events and opportunities, or 2. Receive your tailored emails and those of general student interest which you can then decide whether to read or ignore.

    I'm sorry our email system isn't more versatile to allow more tailoring, but at the moment this is the current state of play.

    Best wishes,

    26 Oct 2005, 11:06

  9. Well I hope the Careers Service plans to change this situation, because you're not serving students very well at present.

    Regardless of data protection rules, don't you agree the current system is poor? The idea that I can choose to 'ignore' these e-mails that are irrelevant to me neglects all the complaints made about 'junk mail', and isn't in the spirit of the Data Protection Act, even if it is just about within the law.

    Also, can you confirm that you don't sign agreements with certain companies to send all 'registered' students their e-mails. I'm talking mainly about Deloitte, KPMG, Ernst and Young and the like.

    26 Oct 2005, 11:51

  10. Hi christopher

    I work within Employer Connect the department of the Careers Service which organises and promotes recruitment events to students.

    I would like to confirm that we do not, under any circumstances, provide student information to employers. There is not one instance that we have given any student details to an employer. The only way employers can receive this information is for students to pass their details personally at events. The emails you receive about employers are generated by the Careers Service to let students know which employers are interested in meeting them.

    James Buckland who responded earlier is quite right in his assertion that the makeup of the presentation list and the emails you receive reflects the suppy and demand within the jobs market. We spend an equal ammount of time promoting events and email services to employers in all sectors. In most cases we spend much more time in trying to persuade companies in the 'non financial' sectors onto campus. However, with many of these companies the smaller number of positions available in relation to the huge demand from graduates, means the need to attend one of our recruitment fairs or organise a presentation is much much smaller. As an illustration, there are more positions available within Citigroup than the whole Advertising industry. This does not however stop us from trying.

    I would also like to refute the earlier claim that we stop certain companies attending events in preference to finance companies. This is simply incorrect. We try to encourage as much diversity in the makeup of our events as possible with no preference for any sector.

    I hope that this answers a number of your questions.


    03 Nov 2005, 12:29

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