Managing Director, Delcas Ltd
How has your Stirling degree helped you in job-seeking and career progression?
The confidence and social skills I developed at Stirling through the fantastic support communities (friends, sports team mates, tutors and advisors) were invaluable in securing many of the roles.
What kind of contacts did you make at Stirling and how did these help you?
The main contacts who helped me were the people on my course who graduated at the same time. Just being able to share the experiences, troubles and successes in the first few years, particularly with many of us going in many geographically different ways, always gave the opportunity to find a success story somewhere to give you a boost of confidence that things would work out in the end. How did your experience at Stirling differ from that of friends and colleagues who studied elsewhere? Living in a campus environment provides a unique opportunity to rapidly develop and refine social skills. It also maximises any opportunities for fun and relaxation due to having everything you could ever need in such close proximity. Having all your academic and social needs met within a short walk across a secluded, stunning and secure campus surrounded almost entirely by like-minded individuals, made the experience second to none.
What made you choose Stirling?
The reputation of the University, its stunning surroundings and the diversity/flexibility of its courses, as well as the assessment methods available.
How did you enhance your CV to break into your chosen sector?
My CV has grown naturally through the variety of roles I have secured and the experiences I have gained from them. However, recognising your own achievements and ensuring you highlight them on your CV is the key to making it a successful one. Is your career what you expected or has anything changed? I never really planned a particular career path, or set any specific goals, but I’m happy with where I am now and the ‘heights’ I’ve reached. Having no real expectations has certainly paid off in the long run.
What other activities would you recommend to build up your skill set?
Get as much work experience as you can, be it working in a supermarket or in a bar as being exposed to and learning how you are going to deal with the public/your customer, your bosses and ‘office politics’ can never come too soon. The way you will deal with them will develop through the various incidents over the years but shaping your skills early before the ‘big role’ will be invaluable as you, and your methods of working with people and handling situations, is likely to be your most valuable asset of all.
What advice can you give to students preparing for life after graduation?
Don’t worry about your future and how things will work out too much just now, as it will be shaped by the opportunities you’re given and the decisions you make when they arise. Concentrate on developing your experience as an individual, both in your social skills and in your academic knowledge and prepare yourself for the need to be flexible, adaptable, decisive and level-headed in your future career and jobs by practising those skills in your academic and social roles now.
The choices you will make when you leave University will be major ones, just as your choices at school were, but don’t take the whole of the rest of your life and bundle it up into one single package. Take a five-year chunk and take the approach that there’s plenty of time beyond those to change the decisions if you need to, then make the right ones for yourself for that first chunk and do everything to the best of your ability and no-one can ask for more than that.
One of my favourite mottos is 'Don’t ask, don’t get'. Never be afraid to look for your next promotion or opportunity to prove you are capable of doing more if you are confident you can deliver on it. Ask, get the opportunity, and succeed at it and you’ll continue onwards and upwards. Bear this in mind though. Ask, get the opportunity and realise you weren’t ready for it and you have two choices:
- Put your hand up, ask for help, let people know what you have was a little more than you were expecting or ready for and they’ll generally support you and give you another chance.
- Don’t put your hand up and try to bluff your way through and all that will happen is that you’ll suffer stress, whatever you had to do will fail, whoever gave you the opportunity will suffer stress and the impact of the failure and you won’t get another opportunity.
So never be afraid to ask for an opportunity, but also never be afraid to ask for help.