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January 24, 2013

Winter Graduation: Everybody's Free (to wear hats and gloves)

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Suit up Graduates at the University of Warwick
Suit up: BSc students graduating in 2008.

Graduation is as much about reflection as it is a point to embark upon your chosen career. My start to university life, in 1999, happened in a fairly good year:

  • The first new Star Wars film in 16 years had just been released
  • the Millennium (not Falcon) celebrations were only a few months away (and we really did party like it was 1999)
  • and Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)’ had recently done well on the ‘hit parade’.

The song, for those of you unfamiliar with it, is a spoken word essay, by the film director, to the "ladies and gentlemen of the Class of '99.” It would be a few years before I graduated but some of Luhrmann’s advice has stuck with me to this day, especially his words on sunscreen.

I’m not a Warwick alumnus but I’ve several friends who graduated from the University of Warwick so I asked them (and alumni on LinkedIn) what knowledge, like Baz, they would like to impart on the ‘ladies and gentleman of the Class of 2013’. Here’s what they had to say:

Luda Begley née Anestiadi, writer and freelance translator, San Antonio, Texas. Luda completed a master's degree in Creative Writing with distinction, Warwick Writing Programme (2008-2009).

“Once you leave our dear bubble, don't lose that spirit, motivation and enthusiasm you began your studies with. Always remember why you came to Warwick in the first place and follow that goal. And once the ceremony is over, go give a hearty hug to your tutors; trust me, the more time passes after you graduate, the more you realise how much they deserved it!”

Richard Casey, Director, Chapter 1 Executive Recruitment. Richard studied Chemistry (1983 – 1986).

“My advice would be for those candidates heading into industry (non-academia) to get a good grounding with a big organisation first. You can easily head out to a smaller firm later in life but it's very difficult to head the other way. Also, unless you are absolutely passionate about it, think carefully about the rush for investment banking: the salaries are normalising somewhat and those who work there regard it as less fun than it was even ten years ago.”

Jonathan Goggs, Alumni Engagement Intern at the University of Warwick. Jonathan graduated with a First Class BA (Hons) in Politics with International Studies (2012).

“In this job market, I'm reminded of that classic quote from the Simpsons to sum up graduation: “Freedom! Horrible, horrible freedom!

“My advice to those following non-conventional career paths would be brand yourself, find your specialism, and work your way towards making yourself indispensable at your organisation. And don't be dispirited!”

Andrew Steel, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Veritas Traducción y Comunicación, S.L. MBA, DipTransIoLET, BA (Hons), MCIL, MITI. Madrid Area, Spain. Andrew graduated with a BA (Hons) in Film and literature (1990-1993).

“Become a master of principles, not policy. Act on principles, not policy. Live by principles, not policy.” (Quoting author Jeffrey Gitomer).

Ian Cotgias, ESG and Other Risk Capital Manager at Friends Life Group. Ian studied MORSE: Mathematics, Operations Research, Statistics and Economics (1988 – 1991).

“Listen and learn from your colleagues in whatever path you choose to follow. Also, be proactive and take responsibility for [yourself]. I say this because graduates can be distinguished by those that expect everything to be done to them without input from themselves (i.e. training, communication, promotion) - they are often the least happy in their jobs. Then there are those that arrange to have coffee with senior members of the organisation and work to understand what's going on, where they can fit in and this allows them to build a picture of what they want to do. You'll be surprised how approachable seemingly unapproachable colleagues can be and how much of a leg up that can give you.”

Good luck to you all, wherever you choose to go and whatever you choose to do…and trust Baz on the sunscreen.

January 21, 2013

Winter Graduation: our honorary graduates

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University of Warwick Chancellor Sir Richard Lambert and Honorary Graduate Pascal Lamy Graduation 2009

Chancellor Sir Richard Lambert and Honorary Graduate Pascal Lamy, Graduation 2009

More than 165,000 students have graduated from the University of Warwick since it took its first cohort of 450 undergraduates in October 1965. Alongside the students graduating this week (at the Winter 2013 Degree Congregation), there will also be four honorary graduates. We will be interviewing them for the Knowledge Centre, with audio, images and text appearing online soon.

The honorary graduates receiving awards at the Winter 2013 degree ceremony are:

  • Earl Cameron CBE will receive an Honorary Doctor of Letters (DLitt). Cameron, who was born in Bermuda, now lives in Kenilworth. His acting career stretches over more than 60 years with film credits for, amongst others, Inception (2010), The Queen (2006) and Thunderball (1965). His television appearances include Doctor Who, Jackanory and Lovejoy. Cameron was awarded a CBE in 2009 for his services to drama.
  • Dame Fiona Reynolds will receive an Honorary Doctor of Science (DSc). Dame Fiona was Director-General of the National Trust until November 2012 and is a Non-executive Director of the BBC. She was awarded the CBE for services to the environment and conservation in 1998 and was appointed a DBE in 2008. From September 2013 she will be Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. She is also a non-executive director of Wessex Water.
  • Caterer, broadcaster and writer Prue Leith will receive an Honorary Doctor of Letters (DLitt). Leith, who is one of the three judges on The Great British Menu, established the Leiths School of Food and Wine in 1975 and sold the school, which teaches amateur and professional chefs, in the 1990s. Her first novel was published in 2005 and she has since published four others, as well as an autobiography and several cook books.
  • Sir David Chipperfield will receive an Honorary Doctor of Science (DSc). After graduating from Kingston School of Art and the Architectural Association in London, Sir David worked at the practices of Douglas Stephen, Richard Rogers and Norman Foster. He established David Chipperfield Architects in 1984. His practice was awarded the RIBA Stirling Prize in 2007 for the Museum of Modern Literature in Marbach am Neckar, Germany. The Practice also created the Turner Contemporary in Margate and The Hepworth Wakefield.

August 03, 2012

Hello From the New Online Writer

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Hello! I’m Francesca Tenenbaum, and I’m one of the new Online Writers for The Knowledge Centre. I’m a Warwick graduate, and read Modern Languages and Literature here a couple of years ago. Clearly, I loved campus life so much that I just couldn’t stay away.

My first week here may have just come to a close, but in a few days I have interviewed the deputy-manager of the IMF, Dr Nemat Shafik, Dr Saskia Sassen from the university of Columbia, learnt what polymer technology is, and begun to write about current University research into the uses of Cloud technology for local SMEs. Oh, and written about the Asian Financial Crisis. No big deal.

Even though I’ve worked as a writer for a few years already, working for the Knowledge Centre, at least if my first week is anything to go by, is going to be an incredible way to broaden my experience, and bridge the gap (for an old school Humanities student like me) between my own interests and all of the other incredible research that takes place here at Warwick.

I’m really looking forward to researching and writing features about my own areas of academic interest (in particular: anything Shakespeare-related or anything about Italian literature and culture) but also broadening my own insights into everything that is happening here at the University. And, of course, bringing that content to the Knowledge Centre’s readers.

Happy reading!

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