Please tell us about your current role and employer.

I am currently working as a Communications Officer at the Integrity Council for Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM). In this role, I work in a team of three in managing both internal and external communications for the organization. My responsibilities encompass coordinating events, preparing content for speakers, website etc., monitoring media channels, handling journalist inquiries, and triaging external queries.

ICVCM is a non-governmental organization (NGO) established post-COP26 with support from the UK Government. Our primary objective is to institute standards within the voluntary carbon market, emphasizing transparency. We have devised a comprehensive framework, and in the upcoming year, organizations will submit applications for verification to trade carbon credits.

In simpler terms, imagine a voluntary carbon market as akin to a stock market, with companies engaging in the purchase of carbon credits to offset their emissions. However, this market, since it’s voluntary, lacks regulation and transparency, paving the way for potential issues. ICVCM has taken the initiative to set forth a set of rules for organizations to voluntarily adhere to, earning them a label that attests to their authenticity and transparent trading of carbon credits, thereby avoiding greenwashing practices.

What was your biggest achievement during your course?

Aside from successfully graduating with Merit – I would say it would be landing multiple job offers – I had about 3 offers by the time I graduated, which certainly gave me a good choice!

What were the best things about your course?

It’s hard to choose but a few of the best things I would say include the professors – so engaging, and very insightful regarding application of what we were studying in the real world and the School of Mathematics careers events – They were a great opportunity for us to learn about various roles that we could venture into, when entering the job market. I, for instance, didn’t know what an implementation analyst was until then!

What are your top tips for securing a job in the United Kingdom?

1. Start early – my top tip for anyone trying to land a job in the UK. International students have little to no idea about the UK Job market. The earlier you start, the quicker you learn.
2. Utilise the resources you have – Most of the students can engage with the resources but not action for the output. For eg. Getting your CV reviewed is great but it is of no use if you are not editing your resume to fit 10 diff roles you are applying for, even though it’s tedious.
3. NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK! – Make meaningful connections, It is so important to learn this skill (not just making connections, but also keeping them!)
4. Jump on the startups – Both my roles have been in startups. It’s a wonderful way to learn experience and they are keen to keep talent as well. As much as it’s great to have a job in the big-4 of top companies, do not limit yourself to applying there.
5. Join societies and uni clubs – As much as they are a great way to make friends, they are also super useful when it comes to learning and practicing your skills.

How do you feel the learning experience on your course helped to prepare you for your career?

My course was more on the technical side, which gave me alot of those skills. It lended me the ability to think methodically, and learn to manage time and deadlines. My first role was quite technical and involved coding, which I had never learnt before until my course – hence was super helpful! Aside from that, I also learnt some fundamental project management since you have to manage multiple subjects on the course, much like in real world when you might be working on multiple projects/clients.

What was your journey to getting a job after graduating from Birmingham?

I started applying for jobs during my last month of dissertation module. It was definitely not an easy process, with hundreds of applications to be filled, making sure my resume was customised for each of them, thousands of rejections and preparing for interviews. Having said that, the university and careers network had been a huge support throughout it all. The career fairs featuring representatives of various companies gave me a chance to talk to recruiters first hand and understand what they were looking for when hiring. This was a game changer as one of the people I spoke to was from Accenture who I connected with on LinkedIn and later helped me land a graduate role starting 2024 in Accenture!
The free CV review service, one on one sessions with Career advisors, the Careers Network mentoring scheme and many more, were such helpful resources! My mentor supported me by reviewing my resume over and over, practicing mock interviews with me, and offering valuable advice on interview tips.

As much as I was concerned with getting a job that had visa sponsorship, it was not my first priority. Since I had the 2 year PSW after my graduation, I was open to roles that would provide me experience. My first role was as an Implementation Analyst at a SaaS company in Stratford upon Avon. I worked there for nearly a year and transitioned into my current role, which also offers visa sponsorship! I would say don’t hesitate in talking about sponsorship and what it involves with your employer. I only received mine after I discussed in detail what it requires, and what the implications of it would be. More often than not, especially with startups or non big-4 companies, people are unaware about the sponsorship process, what it means for us as an employee and them as an employer. However, it is completely okay and infact very useful to have an honest conversation with your organisation/potential employer about it.