March 2018: Looking for jobs as an international student

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Hello from a wintry Manchester! Although we are now in March and it felt like spring was approaching, we’ve recently had a large snowstorm, which is very unusual for Manchester. Although the weather is often unpredictable (rainy days can quickly turn into sunny ones), I’ve learned to always be prepared—the theme of this blog post. One big tip for coming to Manchester – pack your Wellies and umbrella!

This month I will be talking about the structure of second semester and the process of looking for jobs as an international student. Second semester has really taken off, and before I can even blink we are already heading into week 6! I typically have class Monday-Thursday and unlike last semester (less contact hours) am typically on campus about 5-6 hours a day. It’s truly hard to believe that just last year I was putting all of my application materials together to apply to the MSc Marketing programme at the University of Manchester.

As mentioned in my last post, there are a lot of group projects in this semester and the workload has definitely picked up. Some of my most recent projects include Digital Business: creating a digital start-up company/novel idea leveraging digital technologies, International Marketing: critical analysis essay of an international consumer problem, and Marketing & Communications Professional Analytics: developing a full political campaign through research methods. These projects focus on developing your critical analysis skills and really help to prepare you for the dissertation.

The dissertation topics (which each student got to choose individually) will shortly be allocated and all students in the programme will have a designated supervisor to help them further develop their theories and ideas. I felt a bit uneasy about the process as the dissertation is not something we typically do in the U.S., however knowing my dissertation supervisor is an expert in the chosen topic area helped relieve any anxieties; also, picking a topic you’re really interested in, or could potentially work in, makes all the difference!

Although the dissertation and end of the year seems so far away, I’ve quickly realised how fast the time goes. I have always wanted to stay in the U.K. and get a job here starting in September. To be honest, the job process as a graduate is very different than the U.S., which brought about a lot of pressure and at times confusion. The graduate schemes in the U.K. are highly competitive and are almost a guaranteed way of finding a Tier 2 government sponsor that can sponsor your Tier 2 work visa. Beginning in October, I began feverishly applying for graduate schemes. Unfortunately, after 10+ applications and no luck, I was feeling pretty defeated. Luckily, I had some great contacts within career services. Their advice was to increase the content on my LinkedIn, get a mentor through the University, and network as much as possible. I am lucky to say that this paid off and I now have a part-time job (less than 20 hours per week on a Tier 4 Visa) with a local company doing Marketing. I am hoping this right step in the direction will lead to a work sponsorship for September!

Overall, my biggest piece of advice for this time of year is staying on track and learning to be prepared. Whether its managing your own personal study time, arranging times to meet with your various groups, fitting in a part-time job and the effort it takes to network, it’s all possible with determination.

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