#PhDAdvice – So you want to do a PhD? Busting the Myths!

5. PhD Survival 1Our latest addition to the Hub is ‘For PhDs’ – here we will discuss a range of issues regarding the doctoral process. We will be sharing from our personal experiences as well as reflective pieces from current PhD students and graduates. The aim is to provide a realistic picture of the process for prospective students and also to equip current students with tools to enhance their academic experience. In this article, we will be discussing some common misconceptions about the PhD process.

What is a PhD?

Before dealing with the myths about PhDs, we would like to briefly discuss what a PhD actually is. PhD is an abbreviation for Doctor of Philosophy (also shortened to DPhil at some institutions) and is the highest level degree that can be achieved by a student. It is a postgraduate research degree and is awarded for an original and significant contribution to knowledge in a chosen field after an extensive research study. Majority of PhD entrants (UK) possess a postgraduate degree (MA, MSc, MRes) but it is possible to register for a PhD after completing an undergraduate degree with a first class or second class upper. Typically (In the UK), the PhD lasts for three or four years full time and between four to six years part time.

In recent years in our roles as academic advisors and lecturers, we have come across many students who have enquired about applying for PhD opportunities for a variety of reasons. Some people view the PhD as an opportunity to stay back at University and continue studying until they decide what or where they would like to be in their future careers. Others seem to be fulfilling other people’s (e.g. family) ambitions, others see it a required step to get to the next level in their careers. Whatever your reasons are, it is important that you are aware of what you are getting yourself into when you decide to do a PhD.

Let’s discuss some common misconceptions about studying for a PhD…

You should be very knowledgeable about everything – The whole point of a PhD is to discover or learn something new. You will become an expert in your research area but definitely not at everything! It is actually more likely that the more you know about your topic, the less you know about other things, so do not count on us during a pub quiz! If you do not know everything about your topic when you start, welcome to the club! One thing we found humbling was the realisation of how much we did not know at the beginning of our PhDs compared to having spent three years investigating our respective topics. We sincerely believe that successfully completing a PhD is not as much about intelligence as it is tenacity and  perseverance.

It is just another course – To answer this we’ll say NO it is not! During your undergrad and master’s degrees you would have experienced a range of teaching and learning activities including lectures, tutorials, seminars, independent learning and group work. Some people are surprised and often unprepared for the structure of a PhD. Your PhD should be seen as an independent project where you are the Project manager reporting to your superiors (supervisors) about how you manage resources (time, money) to achieve pre-defined objectives (research aims) to a given deadline (thesis submission). Regardless of discipline, studying for a PhD can often be a solitary process. To make an original contribution to your field, you will be carrying out research that has not been done before. While supervisors can support, the day to day management of your project is your responsibility. Approach your PhD like a job as well as studying for a degree.

It is like a 9 – 5 job – Having said to view your PhD like a job, it is much more than your regular 9-5. PhD students often joke about how much I (Emmanuel) call the PhD ‘a life choice’. At a certain point, your PhD will consume your life because not too long after you start your PhD you realise how little time you have for friends, family and personal enjoyment. I (Amara) remember conducting experiments overnight in the lab…asking myself over and over again why I ever thought a PhD was a good thing! Non-laboratory based PhDs are not left out, conducting research and writing it up takes time, especially when you do it well. To this end we say if you are looking for a PhD which is akin to a 9-5 job, whilst it is not impossible, it is very unlikely.

It will automatically lead to a job (or a better job) – Sometimes we have seen many PhDs surprised at what they consider the lack of jobs available to them after graduation. Getting a job after the PhD is not a given and is definitely not automatic. Becoming employed still requires you shine throughout the whole application process – including a strong CV and personal statement etc. Depending on what you want to do next, having a PhD may even be viewed as at best having no benefit and at worst a hindrance! If you are looking at staying in academia, more often than not, everyone else will have a PhD too. If you would like to go into industry or another discipline, it may be even more challenging.  Please look out for future articles on this theme of PhD employment as we discuss these issues in more detail.

PhDs are for nerds and loners – The renowned Liverpool football club theme “You’ll never walk alone” comes to mind at this point. Several PhD candidates have either failed to complete their PhD because they assume doing a PhD does not require other interpersonal skills such as the ability to communicate and interact with others, be it supervisors or other researchers in their field of study. Yes, a PhD can have solitary moments but see yourself as an ‘independent, team player.’ Many UK institutions have structured processes which allow for regular interaction with supervisors and other academics and co researchers such as recorded supervisor meetings, researcher’s conferences and other graduate school events. You can have fun during your PhD, just probably in small doses. Ensure you network effectively, even if just within your research group, sometimes an encouraging word can go a long way when things are not going well.

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#UniAdvice – Three simple tips that improved my academic writing.

Writing 1Do you approach writing assessments with fear or excitement? Do you procrastinate till the day before your paper, dissertation, essay, technical report is due because you just do not like writing. In this article, Emmanuel shares his journey to becoming a better writer. No one is born a great writer, we all have to work at it!

Speaking to my students in a revision class this afternoon about writing dissertations, I was reminded about some of the advice I received that changed my understanding of writing and actually made me appreciate academic writing and dare I say, start to enjoy it. The funny thing is that like many other students at university, I enjoyed creative writing.  I could write for fun, tell stories and create tales etc. However, I found academic writing challenging. I will share three of the key bits of advice I received during my masters and doctorate.

The first major change in my writing came from my MSc project supervisor (and mentor) who told me that my writing was too modest. Initially, my thoughts were, of course it should be modest. Clearly I did not understand the logic behind the statement and as she occasionally reminds me, she read my work about ten times before giving the go ahead to submit (I despaired at that point). Looking back over the years, my writing was modest for many reasons – one in particular which resonates with many students which is cultural background. Coming from a cultural background where you are not meant to criticise or question ‘authority’ creates a writing mindset where you write like you are walking on coals of fire “softly softly” just to get through the writing rather than express your ability, knowledge and critical awareness. She said, “Your writing is a reflection of your personality” so project yourself well through your writing.

The second bit of advice that got me through my academic writing was the importance of planning your write up before you put pen to paper or better still, fingers to keyboard. With the experience of marking dissertations you get to see different levels of engagement and ability to write but it is all so easy to see the unplanned dissertation or thesis write up. An unplanned dissertation or thesis is usually more difficult to write and for the marker hard to read or follow. Without planning, written work can lack coherence and structure. So what to do? There is no generic first step but before you start writing it would be helpful to seek advice from your tutor, adviser or supervisor (who obviously understands your topic or project) about how to plan your writing and what would be important to communicate in your work; review past successful dissertations in similar subject areas and have the key materials you need to begin your writing. For example, if writing a science focused dissertation or thesis, without  a well written ‘Methods’ and ‘Results’ section, you are unable to articulate your findings and tell a good story. Many Universities provide writing support through their learning development units so take advantage of them!

The third key I received from my doctoral supervisor was simple but effective. Writing a thesis is like telling a story. Considering these great bits of advice came from women, does it mean women are better writers???? Food for thought. Back to reality now, if you cannot tell a critically appraised, logical and well written coherent story then your write up would not be received as well as you might think or believe. From personal experience and talking to several examiners, it is common that at the end of a viva (Oral examination) examiners tend to comment on the quality of the writing and in some cases how easy or nice or pleasant a thesis or dissertation was to read. Think about this, if your work is easy and pleasant to read, perhaps it would be easy and pleasant to assess??? So remember, tell a good story (not a narrative) of your academic work or project and ensure it reads well and makes sense before you press the submit button.

Many thanks to my supervisors for the key tips that ensured I developed a liking and value for my voice on written academic work. Please share your own tips in the comments sections. For any suggestions or tips about getting through the academic writing process, please feel free to email us at info@aspiringprofessionalshub.com. Connect with us on Twitter @emmanueladukwu and @amaratweets.  

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#UniAdvice – Before you choose a course to study at University

We recently attended a series of international Higher and Further education institutions’ education fairs in Nigeria. It was great to meet very enthusiastic prospective students as well as their parents! We did however identify an area of concern regarding ‘course or program choices’ which is something we have also encountered in the UK. The reasoning behind some of the course applications and choice of courses were in some cases worrying while others were alarming! Why did you choose the course you studied (or are currently studying) at University? Are there things you know now but didn’t know then?

Why does course choice matter?

Well if you consider the huge financial commitment required for studying in Higher Education, you will agree it does. Regardless of what part of the world you come from, going to University is an expensive business. This cost often multiplies by several factors if you choose to study in another country as an international student. The importance of course and University choice can therefore not be overemphasised. A colleague with years of experience recruiting international students often asks applicants an important question, “If you are given £30,000 (convert to your own currency), would you or your parents happily pay for the course you have enquired about or chosen? Why? This question provides food for thought and must always be at back of the mind of anyone making an application to study at College or University. Answering this question can allow you reflect on how your course choice fits in with your life/career goals.

In one of our previous articles, we talked about ‘Beginning with the end in mind.’ This is also important when it comes to choosing a course. Would you invest money (insert education costs) into a business which after 3-5 years would yield no profit, no return on investment and require another huge cash injection to ‘hope’ for some level of success? For majority of us, the answer to that question will be a big, fat, No! Perhaps then, what you study should be given the same type of consideration.

For home students in the UK, what is the point of getting into debt (on average £35,000 – £40,000) to fund your education just to find out that you chose a course you actually hate?

Things to consider when making your choice – do your homework!

Prior to applying for and choosing a course to study, it is important to think about the course in careful detail. Seven times out of ten, when we ask Forensic Science students the reason for choosing their course, their response is ‘I love watching CSI! That in itself is not an issue if you enjoy subjects like analytical Chemistry, but if you do not, well, there may be problems on the horizon. Some courses e.g. Medicine or Dietetics have interviews as part of the application process – if you cannot articulate why you want to get on the course, you may not get a place! If you hate Biology and Chemistry and have never done well in them, why do you want to study Medicine?

How would you answer the following questions?

Why go to University in the first place? – Improved earning potential? Pre-requisite for chosen career? Have fun before entering the ‘real world?’ Develop subject knowledge and transferable skills for the future?

Why this course? – What subjects interest me? What are my academic strengths and weaknesses? How does this course fit into my life goals?

What is the course structure? – E.g. what modules/subjects? How many credits?

How will my course be taught – lectures, seminars, tutorials, lab sessions, how many contact hours etc.?

What is the expertise of the staff at the department or faculty that offers the course?

What are the career opportunities after the course?

Is the course accredited or linked to a professional body?

What support (academic or pastoral) do students get on the course or program?

Some of these questions pertain mainly to course choice but others could help you choose a University as well. We would recommend that applicants, their parents or fee paying guardians reflect on the answers to these questions as they navigate the often daunting application process. Use a Careers service e.g. National Careers Service (UK only) or talk to recent graduates.

Oftentimes prospective students as well as parents are uncertain or unsure how much to ask or are scared to ask critical questions when attending an education fair, open days or speaking to college or university representatives. Our advice is to think about that event as going into a BMW showroom to buy a car – you would not spend that amount of money without asking a few questions. University representatives are usually very happy to answer all your questions and provide you with accurate information.

In some cases, we have had students focus more on the night life and the vibrance of the city or town. Don’t get us wrong, these are important aspects too, but quite often, we meet students who at the tail end of the degrees regret the choice or course or are lost as their course choices seem to have limited and often uninteresting career options.

Parental or family influence in choosing

At an education fair we attended, a lady enquired about studying for a PhD and whilst she came across as interested, it soon became evident, upon further discussion,  that she was fulfilling someone else’s desire not to be the only family member without a PhD!

In other cases, parents have insisted their children study courses to meet with a family tradition etc. Coming from an African background, we can relate! Medicine, Law, Engineering, Accounting are the courses that are very dear to our parents’ hearts. From experience, this is due to the fear their children may be stranded without ‘good’ jobs after studying certain degrees.  Providing clear information to parents about what courses consist of, their value and the variety of career paths upon completion of these courses more often than not changes their opinions. This is why it is very important to do your homework!

Get information – A lot of Universities now offer ‘taster’ sessions to provide a glimpse of what studying your course at their University could be like. You may be able to attend a psychology lecture or conduct an experiment in a teaching laboratory! Attend Open Events and Education fairs – the latter being particularly pertinent for international students.

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#MyUniStory – My experience of being an international student

8-studentsI attended a student conference recently where students shared their experiences of being in Higher Education. I was surprised at how inspiring and moving some stories were. ‘Reflections’ is our latest addition to the Hub, here we leave our aspiring professionals to just share their stories. Story telling remains one of our most effective communication tools and we hope you will take something away from each one. In the first article of the series, Ebu will be sharing her experience of being an international student in Canada.

My name is Ebubechi and I am an international student in the first year of a Psychology course at Fraser International College (FIC), Vancouver, Canada. I will be transferring to Simon Fraser University (SFU) this fall (September 2015) for my 2nd year. The programme at FIC has been designed to prepare international students for integration into the Canadian University system as well as preparing for life as a University student. I would recommend a similar pathway to any international students considering embarking on an undergraduate degree in Canada. There is no difference in subject course content between the 1st year at SFU and FIC. The difference lies in how teaching is delivered. My classes are taught in a tutorial style format with smaller classes, allowing more interaction between students and teachers.

My experience as an international student here may differ slightly from other students as my education up to this point has been across two continents! Having started out my primary education in Nigeria, my Year 6 – 6th Form (Primary school – A ‘Levels) was completed in the United Kingdom. I guess this means I could say that I am used to what can be described as a ‘Western Education System.’ This also meant that my whole education had been in English and there were no language barrier to overcome as such. Despite this, there were aspects of the Canadian Higher Education system that were alien to me such as their grading system. Here, your performance in every class contributes to your Grade Point Average or GPA and you have to achieve a certain number (3.0 for Psychology) at the end of the 4 year course to obtain your Bachelor’s degree.

My lowest point was my first week here. I suffered from homesickness and I was surprised by how much I missed my family. I felt so alone, as this was my first time of going to a different country on my own. However, with prayer and the support of my family (thanks Skype!), I was able to overcome homesickness. I am very reserved by nature and it usually takes me a while to develop relationships in a new setting. However, when going to a new school, especially University, you have to remember that everyone you meet is in the same boat as you, i.e. being away from home and not knowing anybody. When I realised this, it was easier for me to start making new friends both in and outside of classes.

I started making friends who shared the same experiences as I did such as moving away from home for the first time and getting used to my surroundings (trying not getting lost so many times), everything started to fall into place and I became more comfortable. I have got involved in my college as part of the Campaign team which means I have to give talks to students on different issues that affect them like study skills and promote the services available from the University. This has helped me learn a lot more about the University as well as develop my communication skills.

For the most part, I have not found much about living here too different. Thankfully the spelling remains the same e.g. ‘colour’ is ‘colour’ not ‘color’! Thankfully, I live in Vancouver where the weather is a lot milder than other places in Canada. The weather is also very similar to London, i.e. rain, rain and more rain. If you are planning on moving to Vancouver, NEVER go anywhere without an umbrella. Please. A surprising discovery was how much everything is taxed here which in my opinion makes things much more expensive. In the UK, VAT is included in the price on the tags so you don’t really notice it. In Canada, like the US, it is not included in the retail price so you have to make sure you have enough money as you do not want to be embarrassed at the till! Generally Canadians are friendly people, of course you will find the oddball here and there but most people are very approachable and accepting as it is a very diverse country with lots of different cultures.

Preparing for life at University is difficult as students have to come to grasp with a totally different way of learning (insert independent!). Doing this in unfamiliar surroundings sometimes feels like an additional hurdle to overcome on the path to succeeding. My advice to international students would be to ensure that you look out for the support available from your University. In today’s connected world it is much easier to stay in touch with family and friends. It is hard but what about life isn’t?

Overall, I would say that I’m happy here and this is for several reasons. Going abroad to study has increased my confidence and independence beyond my imagination. Here, I am responsible for the choices I make and how I choose to conduct myself both at school and socially. Therefore, I would recommend that if you have the opportunity to study abroad even if it’s just for a year, take it. You are going to discover new things about yourself that you didn’t realise before.  Also, not very many people get the opportunity to study abroad and for that I will always be grateful.

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#UniAdvice – 7 Ways to Enhance your University Experience

University studentsWhat thoughts come to mind when you reflect on your time at University? If you could go back in time and start out again, would you do anything differently? For students currently in Higher Education, have you ever thought about what you want to take away from your time at University? 

The answers to the questions posed above are quite revealing. Recent graduates says things like ‘I wish I had focused on identifying and developing, skills, attributes and more importantly, relationships that were necessary to succeed after University.‘ Interestingly, for the most part, current students tell us that they want to finish with a good degree (2:1) and have some fun while doing it. There is nothing wrong with having a good time at Uni, in fact, it is advisable you do! This article is about thinking of ways to make the most of the relatively short time you spend in Higher Education.

Begin with the end in mind – While graduation may seem a long way off in your first year, sooner or later your course will come to an end. Apart from a degree certificate, what else are you going to leave with? ‘Beginning with the end in mind’ is a concept that was first described by Stephen Covey in his best selling book, ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.’ This is about reflecting on where you want to be at the end of an endeavour before you start out. In other words, throughout your time at Uni, think about what you want to leave with. This allows you to modify your thinking and actions towards SMART goals to get you there. This enables you recognise and  maximise resources at your disposal. How do you want your CV to look on the day you graduate? Start working on it from Day 1!

Experience, experience, experience – If you do not do anything else while at University, try and get some relevant experience. The key word being relevant. If you are studying for a degree in Biomedical Science today in the UK, it will be near on impossible to get into a graduate training position without some laboratory experience. Having a part time job in a bar may provide some much needed funds but just won’t cut it for the type of job you are after. This is because Universities are churning out graduates by the thousands each year and there are just so many jobs. Even if it is an unpaid internship, see it as an investment in your future. Another benefit besides making yourself more employable is that you can decide if that profession is for you or not. Believe us, you do not want to get stuck in a career that you derive no satisfaction from.

Get involved! – You’ve committed the next 3-4 years of your life to your University, you might as well get more out of it than a degree certificate. Join a Society or start one. Become a Peer Mentor, a Student representative for your course or run for the Student Union. Organise a student conference or plan a study trip that can help take your learning outside the classroom. Become a student ambassador and engage with prospective students on Open Days. If you’re that way inclined, sign up for University Challenge! Do something that shows you are able to take initiative and are innovative. Do not just go through your University, allow your University go through you too.

Use your University’s Careers service – We are constantly surprised at the number of students that pass through a University and never speak to a single Careers Adviser! These are specially trained individuals who can provide advice and help you with creating a CV, personal statement, filling in application forms, interview preparation and so much more. Most importantly, the service is free! A number of Universities now organise Career fairs and events, providing opportunities to network with prospective employers. We advise making an appointment with a Careers advisor at least once each academic year. This allows you review what you have done in the past year and identify skill gaps. You can then set goals to fill in any ‘gaps’ for the next year. It can sometimes be difficult to see the link between work experience and skills developed. A good Careers Advisor can help with that and help you enhance your CV.

Join a relevant professional body or Learned Society – Most disciplines are associated with a professional body. If you are in your 2nd or 3rd year at University and do not know which body is relevant to your discipline…there are no words! There are many advantages to joining a professional body including – careers advice tailored to your discipline, information about conferences which provide networking opportunities, grants to support you attending a conference etc. Many of these organisations offer reduced rates for students (sorry not free) but are definitely value for money.

Develop key horizontal and vertical relationships – So you want to be a lawyer, accountant or dietitian? How many professionals in your field do you know? Is it possible to ask one of them to mentor you? Mentoring (vertical upwards) relationships are very powerful in opening doors and getting a leg in. You can only get so much information online. Mentors come with a breadth and depth of experience that cannot be obtained from lectures or textbooks. What about you? You can develop mentoring relationships (vertical downwards) with students just starting out. Tell them what you wish someone had told you when you were starting out. Maintain a good relationship with your peers (horizontal). They are the future of your profession and you never know when you will need their skills and expertise.

Do your homework – What do you want to do when you finish? Get a job, start your own business, maybe both, maybe neither? Know what is required for your next step. Will professional certifications put you at an advantage? What are the main skills and attributes employers are looking for in your sector? Where are you now and what do you need to get where you want to be?

This is by no means an exhaustive list and we may do a follow up post soon. We would love to hear your thoughts too so please join the conversation by clicking the comments button.

aa-headshotAbout our writer – After completing a PhD in Microbiology, Amara is building her career in academia, teaching and supporting a new generation of scientists as well as undertaking research. Amara believes in the combined power of education and developing productive relationships as essential tools for building successful careers. She tweets @amaratweets.

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#UniAdvice – So you didn’t get a Desmond? How to ‘fail forward’

Are you a Damien, Billy, Desmond or Thora? Although I’m a Damien, I have friends, family and students who didn’t quite make a Desmond.  Now before you think I may have lost my marbles, I recently found out that these names are used to describe degree classifications based on rhyming slang of the surnames of some famous people. Are you a Damien (Hirst – 1st), Billy (Gunn – 2:1), Desmond (Tutu – 2:2) or a Thora (Thora Hird – 3rd)?  While preparing our previous article on graduate employment, we touched on the point of degree classification and would like to go into further detail here.

7-failureSo you didn’t make a Desmond. You’ve spent 3, 4 or more years at University working towards a degree and now you’ve finished not even with a 2nd lower (Let my people go…lol) but with a third class degree. Before the doom and gloom sets in, be encouraged that there can be success after a third. Not that there will be but that there can be. Whether it happens or not is really up to you. I worked very hard for my degree and I make no apologies for it. I recognised early in my studies that it would be important for me to excel academically to achieve the career goals I had set for myself and that was my motivation. I am mighty proud I did because it was and still is a tremendous achievement. However, for a number of reasons, not everyone does. As a teacher, I am disappointed to see some of my students finish with a third but I realise this this is far from the end of their story.

This article isn’t about sugarcoating the issue in ‘motivational speak.’ If you have finished with a third, it means you have in essence failed at Higher Education. You have failed to meet most of the assessment criteria set in the subjects you have studied. You cannot prove to have a good knowledge of a discipline you have been studying for a number of years. If you have studied in the UK, more often than not you are in debt to the tune of some thousands of pounds. What this article is saying is that while you may have failed at University, you haven’t failed at life.

Lewis Carrol, most famously known for penning ‘Alice in Wonderland’ was an English writer, mathematician and Anglican cleric. Carol Vorderman is a maths whizz and is best known for co-hosting popular programme ‘Countdown.’ Gani Fawehinmi was a human and civil rights lawyer who was also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). All three completed their first degrees with a 3rd. All three ‘failed forward’ from that and became very successful in their chosen careers.

Be honest with yourself – Why did you finish with a third? As University lecturers, we teach all types of students. We observe some students who genuinely struggle academically and may have made the wrong course choice. We note those who are just indifferent. University is just the next place to go after completing A Levels and it is sort of what is expected of them. These students just want to coast through the next few years until they have to make a decision on what to do with their lives. Some students have a life changing experience (death of a loved one, accident, mental health issue) occur during their studies that they never really recover from. Reflecting on your answer to the question of Why? can help you decide what to do next and will be useful for interview preparation because you may have to discuss this so be prepared. If you truly believe you have made the wrong course choice, spend time finding out what you are good at. Utilise the Careers Service in your University and if you don’t have one, find a professional in that area to discuss with.

How much does it matter? – It depends on what you want to do next. If you want to progress into a postgraduate degree, teach or get onto a graduate scheme at a top firm then yes it really does matter. If you want to write a best selling novel, work in art/design or create the next Facebook, then maybe not. What do you want to do next? Has University taught you that you don’t want to be an employee but an entrepreneur? Please read our article on identifying your skills and create a list of your skills and abilities. Compare your list with the skill set required in your preferred role(s) and identify where your skills come short. Identify the gaps and search for training opportunities to fill them e.g. professional exams. Remember that your transferable skills are marketable across sectors!

Be proactive – In today’s job market, a first or 2:1 is not an assurance of immediate employment. Beyond academic abilities, employers are looking for particular skills, competencies and attributes. While studies indicate that more employers now ask for a 2:1 as minimum, this is because more and more students are now finishing with 2:1’s. I have two friends who finished with firsts who could not get a graduate job for months after completing their degree. The first worked as a care assistant and the other as a waitress. They are both now in graduate employment. During her interview, my friend’s boss was so impressed that she hadn’t turned her nose down on waitressing because he too worked as a waiter when he finished Uni and was job hunting 30 years before! Do not be too proud to ‘stoop to conquer.’ In my experience, small and medium size companies are more willing to overlook degree classification than bigger companies.

It is always harder to climb the mountain when starting from the bottom but the view is the same when you get to the top, regardless of where you started.

A young friend of mine recently finished with a third and is now working in a small firm where he is getting hands on training and enjoying it. In two years time, he will be able to take professional exams and will be more marketable. A Financial Director of an asset management firm told me ‘When it comes down to it, I will always offer a job to the candidate who is most hungry for it.’ A third may start you off on the wrong foot but nothing stops you from re-balancing and putting your best foot forward. Failing forward means realising the difference between failing at something and being a failure. One is an event, the other is an attitude or way of life.

aa-headshotAbout our writer – After completing a PhD in Microbiology, Amara is building her career in academia, teaching and supporting a new generation of scientists as well as undertaking research. Amara believes in the combined power of education and developing productive relationships as essential tools for building successful careers. She tweets @amaratweets.

If you enjoyed reading this article, please share and subscribe to our network! If you have an article you would like to share with our readers, please get in touch – info@aspiringprofessionalshub.com.