Career advice – fresh from the oven! What to expect after SSE?

Career fairs are part of SSE student life, as are company presentations, corporate dinners, networking breakfasts, mock interview lunches, what have you… Sometimes, it feels like one continuous CV-editing-and-motivation-letter-writing process, occasionally interrupted by exams or assignments. A career-sprint nightmare? Is that what to expect from SSE?

Ok, I was exaggerating, I admit! But there’s a seed of truth in that description above. Sadly, our career choice is oftentimes the result of herd behavior and window dressing, rather than search for fulfillment.  That’s why I decided to compile three simple tips for those at the doorsteps of your MSc studies. You think it’s too early to think of career if you haven’t even started your studies? Trust me, it’s just like in chess: you gotta think one step ahead to win the game.

Tip #1. Begin with the end in mind.

Are you unsure what you wanna do after your studies are over? You’re not alone: this is a natural state for most students. But it’s also a dangerous state to be in for too long. Once SSE studies start in August, you get overwhelmed with opportunities from day one. There are investment banks holding presentations almost every day, management consultancies organizing get-away trips, case competitions and networking dinners, all along with countless extracurricular activities. Trying a bit of everything is fine, just as long you can establish your priories early on. In most cases, less is more. That’s why having a vision of your ideal career path before starting your Master’s is a huge plus.

Tip #2. Leverage your USP.

Have you ever felt like a small fish in the big pond? Chances are, you are going to experience that feeling at SSE. It’s great to be surrounded by all those smart people with incredible experiences, but it could also undermine every confidence you have in your abilities. That’s why you should know your unique selling points (USP), and leverage them in your career search. Sometimes, even seemingly unrelated skills can make you stand out. Whether you enjoy bungee jumping, play the guitar, or have 10 000 subscribers on your cooking blog, make sure the potential employer knows that.

Tip #3. Persevere on your journey.

It strikes me how many self-help gurus focus on the “secret of success”, which is as plain as this: work consistently hard, and you’re gonna make it! Once you have a clear goal and know yourself well enough to ensure your destination is worth it, the only thing left is to make the journey. Opportunities will be coming along, but consistency is the key. Whether you aspire to become an investment banker or a published author, an entrepreneur or an Olympic champion, practice makes perfect. Remember that the rule of 10 000 hours applies!

While some of you are still waiting for your admissions results, I wish you all an exciting career journey. There’s no need to turn it into a rat race. After all, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get”. That is, if you believe Forrest Gump…


Written by Marta

12 Feb 2015