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May 08, 2015

How easy is it to get a job after my studies? – A Blog by WMG Student Mattia

Mattia Mattevi

I was asked to write a blog about the difficulties (or not) in finding a job after the Masters course at WMG. I am Mattia, and I commenced study at WMG on the MSc in Supply Chain and Logistics Management (SCLM) after more than 5 years of work experience in the financial and banking industry in London and in Italy (my own country).

I decided to change my career because I did not fully enjoy what I was doing in the banking sector, and I thought (before starting the masters), and I now strongly believe that Supply Chain Management and working for a manufacturing company is what I would like to do in my future career.

Coming from the “professional” world, as opposed to being a new graduate, probably helped me in understanding the mechanisms and the factors that can improve the chances of getting a job. Here are my 'suggestions'. Before though, I would like to stress the fact that everyone has different backgrounds and skills and probably different approaches to this, but I hope that my experience can help in having a different point of view on this matter.

I believe that there are four elements that contribute to successful job hunting.

1) Know yourself and what you are looking for: Easy to say but more difficult to do. It took me 5 years to understand what I like and do not like in a job/industry, and 3 different positions and companies. Nevertheless, my suggestion is to try to explore during the masters what you are good at and what you enjoy e.g. do you enjoy more of the ‘strategic/planning’ bit of a task, or more the ‘analytical calculations’ of it? It is likely that what you liked during the masters might also be what you like in your job. Try to focus on positions/jobs that reflect your attitudes and liking. For example, during my career in banking, I was a consultant doing regulatory issues/project management activities on one side (more of a ‘soft skill’ job), but also I was involved in risk model building and assessment (more of an ‘analytical’ job). This allowed me to understand that I much prefer analytical roles, thus my research for a new job has focused on the latter.

2) Have a CV ready at the highest standards: This is very important, as it is the starting point of your application process
(see point 3). Due to the fact that I came from a professional job, I already had a CV which I believed was a good one. Nevertheless, I decided to attend some of the 'Student Careers & Skills' services seminars, in particular how to build a CV and a Cover Letter, and some one-to-one sessions to assess the quality of my CV. This was very useful and allowed me to modify my CV to be in line with the UK market expectations.

3) Start early and be proactive: I started to look for a job in October when the Masters commenced. This is because the majority of the best/largest companies begin to select graduates from November/December, for positions starting in September the following year (a few weeks after the end of the Masters course). I see three benefits in starting early: (i) you have not fully started with your project, thus you can dedicate time to job hunting; (ii) more jobs are available, thus more choice and probably less competition; and (iii) you start to get a grip on the kind of selection process that UK companies employ - which can be very different to what you are used to in your home Country (this is certainly true for Italy) - such as CV screening, competency questions, on-line tests (numerical, psychometric, verbal reasoning, etc.), phone/video interviews, and - most importantly - the final assessment centre. Because this is a very intense and challenging process, the more you ‘practice’, the better you become. I started in October to send out around 20/25 applications: some did not pass the first stage (CV screening); some passed few stages, and only few ended up with an assessment centre (2 to be precise). The point I want to make is that, the more you apply, the better chances to get into the final stages and thus securing a job very early in the academic year.

Mattia Mattevi & Friends

4) Seek help from the WMG and Warwick support functions if needed: I have already mentioned the 'Student Careers & Skills', but inside WMG there are other source of information and support available. WMG actively look out for job opportunities for their graduates and email out about opportunities that you can apply for. They also organise employers to come and present to students at WMG about their company and job opportunities. Plus we’ve had Alumni visit WMG and tell us about their work experience since WMG.

In conclusion, you would wonder if this approach paid off. The answer is yes. I was lucky enough to secure a job as supply chain management graduate for a large UK manufacturer/retailer before Christmas, starting in September (just after the end of the Masters course). This provided me with the tranquillity to focus on the academic side of my Warwick experience. It was not easy though. In November/December I had nearly 10 jobs application process opened, and I had to do all the tests, phone interviews, and assessment centres which required a good amount of preparation. This, on top of the Masters work, proved to be very challenging, but I believe it was worth the effort. I have some colleagues that also started early and they secured jobs months before the end of the Masters. I would say that the key elements of my job hunting was seeking help and support from the University but, most importantly, being proactive and not expecting that jobs will come to me without putting in the required effort.

November 22, 2012

A Grand Day out at Jaguar

This week I had the privilege of reliving my childhood days by going on a ‘school trip’ or as we like to call it at WMG, an ‘industry visit’. At WMG, we regularly organise day trips out to companies for our MSc students so they can learn and experience the workings of business, management and manufacturing in real life industry so to compliment their MSc and further enhance their understanding.

This week was one of our popular visits to British luxury car manufacturer Jaguar.

A bit of background...

The visit to Jaguar was really interesting and educational. We learnt a lot about the company, the processes and philosophies. So I thought I’d start with a bit of background and a few fun facts…

Jaguar, formally owned by Ford, since 2008 have been owned by Indian firm ‘TATA’, a family run yet huge company encompassing a number of businesses under its umbrella.

It is this year celebrating its 75th anniversary of the Jaguar name and it’s come a long way in terms of innovation, design, leadership and its evident success since the SS 100, the first named Jaguar in 1935. Its latest model, the F-type (pictured) based on the popular E-type will be released in April and is likely to bring some tough competition to the market.

Jaguar F-Type

Jaguar has also designed the ‘C-X75’ a car of the future. It’s a low emission and dare I say ‘electric’ but this should not put you off as it’s designed to deliver the same high performance as its fossil fuel counterparts reaching speeds of over 200 mph. Although if anything perhaps makes you think twice, the price may be just that, priced at approximately £700,000 - £800,000!

Each car at Jaguar is made to order and whilst there are standard fixtures that can be bought, it can also be personalised to the customers’ preference. Our very own Prime Minister travels in his XJ X351 model with specially designed features including bullet proof windows, bomb proof body, run proof tyres and a self-contained oxygen supply!

Back to the Visit…

The best part for me was the tour of the assembly line. Formally the place that Spitfires came to life ready for war, the factory now contains the intricate workings of the Jaguar assembly line starting from the aluminium body parts being put together by £250,000 Kawasaki robots with precision accuracy up to the finished product, with its perfectly polished painted body, and the leather of 10 well-kept cows ensuring comfort within. Though I shouldn’t skip too quickly over the ‘robots’ – they were incredible. The nearest I’m getting any time soon to a real life transformers movie. Camera photography was prohibited in the assembly line so I’ve found this nice little video to give you an idea (visual only unless you have good German language skills) ...

Management and Logistics

From its earlier days under Ford’s ownership, Jaguar has been working under the Ford Production System. But through greater efficiency and lean manufacturing practice and their ‘Just in Time’ approach, Jaguar plan to have adapted to their own production system by 2014 to ensure maximum efficiency whilst preserving the value to the customer.

Logistics are provided by DHL, Jaguars logistics partner who work on site constantly to ensure the flow of materials onto the production line for exactly when they are needed.

Something else that came through to me on my visit to Jaguar was the positivity and cheeriness of the staff. Whilst I’m sure it’s needn’t be said that staff should aim to make a good impression with visitors, I felt genuine happiness amongst the staff and workers I encountered at the Jaguar plant. On the assembly line, whilst there is great pressure for staff to keep the operation moving, there was always a welcoming smile from production line workers. It reminded me of the friendly and British politeness I often encounter at passport control in Birmingham airport (yes I’m serious). Perhaps it’s a Midlands thing! But genuinely in listening to a presentation after the tour, he explained the importance of staff feeling valued at Jaguar, from involving employees in ‘continuous process improvement’ to reward and recognition schemes plus little bonuses such as having a nice Jag for the weekend (yes please). Additionally how can staff not feel happy when a call for assistance alarm on the assembly line resembles ‘merry-go-round’ music to make you feel like you’re at the fair or Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer to remind us that Christmas is coming. Each time the call alarm was pressed and the music played, I couldn’t help but smile even if it did feel a tad surreal.

Thank you to Bob and Mick for our tour, to Jim Wilkins, Partnership Centre Delivery Officer for the fine presentation and the whole team at Jaguar who made for a fun and interesting day out!

WMG MSc students can look forward to several further visits this year including other car manufacturers, electricity firms, information security companies and various exhibitions to compliment the learning on their WMG courses.

There's far more to learning at WMG than having you heads in the books.

If you’ve been on a ‘Grand Day out’ at Jaguar, let us know what your thoughts.

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