Final year at university is arguably the most exciting and terrifying time of your life. You have to cope with a monstrous dissertation and looming exams, while facing the prospect of your best friend moving across the country for a graduate scheme, your housemates moving home and your course friends going travelling. And here you are, staring blankly at a computer screen in Blue 3 while faced with the prospect of your own employability and future.
Some of you might not get on to a graduate scheme, others may not want to. Some might have loads of volunteering experience but no idea what careerpath to go down, while others will have no extra-curricular experience and want to take some time to build their CVs in preparation for future jobs.
I graduated in July with BA (Hons) English Literature and had no idea what to do with my life. After studying every single Shakespeare drama under the sun, I wanted some time to gain some practical skills, but most of all, I wanted to prolong my stay in Manchester. I didn’t want the commitment of a two-year long graduate scheme, nor did I want to work in a café or bar. I wanted a short term, paid, graduate level internship. In Manchester. I thought I was doomed.
With this in mind on one rainy afternoon in April I turned up at my Careers Guidance appointment mumbling aimlessly about ending up jobless, penniless and living outside the Students Union in a box. Then, the heavens burst open with sunlight and choirs started to sing when the Careers Consultant told me about MGIP.
Whatever dilemma you find yourself facing (as dramatic as mine, or not), MGIP can help. Manchester Graduate Internship Programme (MGIP) offers paid, graduate level internships exclusively for 2015 graduates from The University of Manchester. Last year, over 220 different internships were advertised across a massive range of sectors, and the majority are open to students from any degree discipline. And the best part? They’re all based in Greater Manchester.
Why choose MGIP?
I’m now on a 12 month internship with the Careers Service at the university, and am using this year to learn new skills and experience new opportunities, all of which will be beneficial to my CV. On a more personal level, now that I’m earning a decent wage and not living solely of my student loan, I also have the time and money to experience Manchester in a whole other light.
Students have been choosing MGIP for a whole host of reasons. Stephanie, who graduated last year with a Geography degree, didn’t know what to do after uni, but just wanted something short term, ‘I wasn’t sure what career to progress in, and what area of work to look for, so I decided something short term would suit me to gain experience.’ Rowan, who studied Drama, had the same idea, and wanted to gain some experience away from the lecture theatres, in a professional office environment, ‘MGIP seemed like a great way to build upon my experience in a professional environment, which would be really useful for future job applications.’ They both agree that MGIIP gives you some time out allows you to really think about what you want to do, away from the stresses of dissertations and exams, while earning money, staying in Manchester and gaining valuable skills.
But you can take a year out for different reasons. Some MGIP-ers take a few months out before they go travelling, so at least they have some work experience to put on their CV when they come back. Others, like Kory, want to gain some practical skills before they embark on a Masters or PhD, ‘During my internship, I have gained a lot of new skills as well as developing existing ones.’ His MGIP has allowed him to acquire great knowledge and experience that will really make his Masters application stand out from the crowd.
But maybe you don’t want a year out? Maybe you know exactly what you want to do and are keen to get stuck into the makings of your career after graduation? Richard has a degree in Music, but didn’t want a musical career. (Sound familiar? Although I did English, the last thing I wanted to do was teaching or journalism). Instead, he wanted to break into Marketing and Brand Development. With MGIP, he was able to do that. Despite the job description stating that a degree in a business or marketing related subject was essential, he applied and is now working as a Brand Development Intern at Manchester City Football Club. He encourages everyone applying for MGIP, ‘If you want it badly enough, and think you would enjoy it, then you can put in the work to make it yours. Don’t let someone ignore you because you have not followed the ‘traditional’ path.’
Speaking of traditional paths, Cosmin graduated in 2014 with BSc International Business, Finance and Economics and didn’t want to follow the traditional graduate scheme route either. He explains, ‘I wanted to be a big cog in a small machine rather than a small cog in a big machine’. He wanted to make a difference and by working for an SME (small-to-medium enterprise) he was granted more creative control over his own projects.
Life after MGIP
So, you’ve made a successful applications, wowed the interviewers and have landed an MGIP role. But what happens when your internship is over? Again, it’s totally up to you. You could be like Helen, who graduated in 2012 and worked as a Digital Marketing Executive with a company in Salford Quays, but then decided to go travelling after her MGIP ended. Or you could go down the same route as Margherita, who started working for the UK Data Service after her MGIP, and is well on her way to fulfilling her career ambitions, ‘I would like to cover a managerial position within a consultancy firm.’
Or, perhaps you’ll want to continue with work for different reasons. Lucy graduated in 2012 with a degree in Geography. She did her MGIP with Rochdale Boroughwide Housing and was exposed to a whole new world of social housing (something she had never even considered). Her contract was actually extended and she ended up working there for two years before moving to Unipol in Leeds. She loves the monetary perks of being a young professional, ‘With my last pay cheque I bought a new handbag – one has to treat oneself! Although I miss having free time like I did when I was a student, I make the most of the financial freedom working gives me.’
Basically, it doesn’t matter why you want an internship or what you want to do after it. The MGIP team doesn’t care and the interviewer will not interrogate you. They just want you to submit the highest quality application you can to ensure you’re successful. Doing an MGIP allowed me to enjoy being in Manchester and experience the city with a bit of money and time, while not having to worry about rushing home to do my 300 words for tomorrow’s seminar. It’s enabling me to gain so many skills I didn’t get through my degree, and is giving me some time to think about what I want to do with my life.
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