Aiswarya Kishor an Indian student who studied MEng (Hons) Biomaterials Science and Tissue Engineering and graduated in 2018 tells us of her career journey so far. Aiswarya is now a Graduate Information Developer at Arm in the UK.
I have always admired people who knew what they wanted to do with their careers, especially because I was never one of them. When I first arrived in Manchester in September 2014, I was clueless about what I wanted to do after graduating and so, every summer during university, I worked as an intern to discern which path suited me most.
By third year, I had narrowed the options down to working in research. To the ears of a tissue engineering student, a career on the brink of medical breakthroughs sounded exhilarating! To test it out, I worked as a research intern at Oxford University. It was during that internship that I had the epiphany that working in a lab simply wasn’t the right fit for me. By then, my final year at university was about to begin and most of my limited work experience was geared towards a career in academia.
The natural alternative to pursuing a PhD and going down the research path was to find a graduate job. I soon decided this would be my goal and started actively job-hunting. During that time, several well-meaning friends warned me that finding a job in the UK as an international student was difficult, to say the least, but I was certain of my goal and determined not to give up. The very day I began applying, the rejections started pouring in and I began to experience firsthand the challenge of finding a company willing to sponsor a non-UK/EU citizen.
Throughout the process, the one thing that worked in my favour was the emphasis most companies place on ‘transferrable skills’. As a proactive person who likes to get involved and try new things, I had unwittingly picked up many of those exact skills while volunteering on campus, juggling part-time jobs, participating in student societies and writing for the Mancunion.
In May 2018, these skills and the loving support of some close friends and family helped me bag a graduate job! I now work at Arm — a vibrant company filled with smart, friendly people — doing a job that combines several of my interests and skills. I’ve now been here for about 6 months and I can honestly say that I wake up every morning looking forward to going to work. Looking to the future, I may not know where I’ll be in 5 years’ time, but I am confident that I can handle whatever life throws my way. After all, completing job applications, attending interviews, writing a final year dissertation and facing rejections all at once? Been there, done that.
Some of my top tips for international students hoping to secure a graduate job:
- There’s no better time to start than now. Keep toxic people a mile away and ignore their words of discouragement. If you really want that job, just work hard and be resilient.
- Grab every opportunity to gain experience while you are still a student. It is surprisingly common for summer internships and placements to lead to graduate offers.
- Don’t underestimate the power of networking — it helps you build essential contacts and discover new jobs. Employee referrals will only boost your chances of getting that dream job!
- Many companies use algorithms to sieve through applications so make sure your CV includes the keywords they are looking for.
- Manchester has a terrific careers service! Make the most of it. Arrange one-to-one sessions with experienced career consultants, network at Meet the Professionals events, find vacancies on CareersLink and speak to a solicitor if you have any concerns regarding the visa application process.