Around 90 people attended the ‘Dinner with Industry’ event on Thursday Week 8, all of which included company representatives, former Lancaster alumni, current students, as well as consultants from the Careers office. The event began as an informal, small-scale careers fair, where attendees had the opportunity to become acquainted with the company representatives. Students and employers continued their engagement over a three-course dinner, where they had the chance to converse further with one another regarding career pathways and find answers to any queries they had regarding graduate schemes and placements. Between the three courses, the guest employers would move to a different table, allowing the students to network with various different company representatives, and giving insight into what their job was about and how it was possible to apply successfully for it.
Amongst these representatives there was Machar Smith from Graduate Recruitment at Expedia, who gave an interesting talk about the types of placements available for graduate students, and what companies expected from applicants. Smith particularly stressed on the importance of preparing for interviews, as more often than not employers were likely to ask questions that stretch beyond what is merely included on your CV. He therefore suggested that prospective graduates should prepare well ahead of interviews, as you will never know what kinds of questions will be asked.
On top of giving advice for applications, company representatives had the chance to talk about their role within a specific company, and what companies stood out for the most. This was the case for TK Maxx, whose representatives Dan Arnold, from Merchandising, and Charlotte Boyce, from Finance, gave plenty of insight into what type of duties employees had to perform at the company. Arnold particularly mentioned the successful trial-and-error strategy behind TK Maxx’s buying decisions, which has allowed for different products to be tested on the market. The two representatives also said that talent was highly valued in the company, and trainees who showed most of it were more likely to find full-time employment afterwards. Members from the Careers Service were also available to give advice and answer questions. For instance Elaine Davis, a Careers consultant, stressed how important this Dinner was for students to learn and gain confidence on talking with different people.
Lastly, the event proved to be extremely successful amongst Lancaster newcomers. Billy, an Advanced Marketing Management MA student from Taiwan, said he obtained some great insight into finding work in the UK. Alexia, a European Management BBA student from Italy, said that she was surprised to engage with such communicative people who were able to answer to all her queries, and says she has become more confident about applying for jobs as a result.