Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer

My experience with Graduate Schemes

Whether you're just starting out your university journey and don't quite know what you want to do afterwards or you are ahead of the game and know exactly where you want to work and what your dream job would be, there comes a time when you have to start looking for jobs.

From my experience, you pretty much have two options in your final year: 1. Apply to graduate schemes or 2. Apply for a direct-hire position.

Direct hire positions open later in the year, usually in the spring of semester 2 so you have enough time to prepare for these and find the right position for you. Graduate schemes on the other hand open very early on, sometimes before university even starts, hence it's important to start applying as soon as possible.

Graduate Schemes are structured training programmes run by leading employers, such as PwC, Deloitte, GSK, Barclays, etc. and they usually last anywhere between 1-3 years. There are many areas which you can apply for, and most of them accept candidates from any subject area. You would usually have different rotations within your chosen programme and would therefore learn a little bit of everything. However, they are very competitive because of the salary and benefits they offer.

Applying to graduate schemes is a time and energy-demanding process as almost all of these companies have a 5 to 6 stage application process. It is important you set some time apart to do your research on the company because questions like “Why us? Why this role? Why you?” will 100% come up and you really have to be prepared to answer showcasing your understanding of what you will be doing. You will also have to be doing numerous situational, logical and numerical tests and as cliché, as it sounds - practice really makes perfect. There are many websites that offer practice tests and I would strongly encourage you to do as many of these as you can until you feel ready to do the real ones. The same goes for interviews. It can feel awkward practising for an interview with someone else or recording your answers, but it is really beneficial and will really help you in the future. Most importantly, and I know it's easier said than done try to not get too attached to a specific company or a role because remember that rejection is inevitable and it can sometimes make you question everything about yourself and what you're actually doing. But you just have to stay strong, think of rejection more as redirection and keep going because at the end of the day you will get your dream job.

Don't forget that AMBS has plenty of resources and an amazing Career Service Team which can help you with anything you are unsure about along the way. If you need to talk to someone about a potential career path, have someone check your CV and a cover letter or if you would like to practice a mock interview or an assessment centre - you can find all the help here at the university. So, keep checking the careers website for any workshops or seminars that are coming up and do not hesitate to book a 1-to-1 appointment with the team who will be more than happy to help you.