GaGa offers careers advice on global scale

Workshops informed audiences about the importance of global experience in the competitive graduate job market.

Sophie Norris
29th February 2016

On Wednesday, February 17, Newcastle University Business School hosted their annual Gain a Global Advantage (GaGa) event.

The workshops and speakers on the day aimed to teach students about the importance of gaining experience of the international environment, both culturally and in the job market, in order to land jobs at some of the UK’s top graduate employers.

Speakers included Giles Morgan, Global Head of Sponsorship and Events at HSBC, Wijnand Aalderink, Director of Careers at the Univerisity of Groningen and the Quilliam Brothers.

During their workshop entitled ‘The Quilliam Brother’s Story’, Patrick and Sam Quilliam discussed the success of their Newcastle-based teahouse and the long journey they took in order to run their business. Their experience started with their older brother’s visit to Budapest, and included various other trips to India in order to build up contacts and source their tea.

Patrick said: “If you know what you’re talking about and have visited the place where you source products, you are trusted a hell of a lot more.”

When asked if they intended to open other tearooms in the North East, he added: “It would be foolish to try and replicate the tea house, it’s so special.”

Jesslyn Alverina, Alumni Relations Officer at Newcastle University Business School said: “Business is increasingly global. Graduates need global and intercultural awareness in order to successfully work in diverse multicultural teams as will be required of them in the business world.

“This event has provided students with the chance to network on a one-to-one basis with guest speakers in global senior roles. This exposure has also led to follow up contact between students and some of the guest speakers.

“Business School students who undertake global interships as part of the Business School’s GEO programme and participated in the GaGa event have gone on to achieve graduate jobs with the likes of Santander, PwC BT and Accenture.”

Over 80% of employers actively seek out graduates who have international experience (QS, 2011).

At the end of the day, a workshop called ‘The Global Hotseat’ enabled finalists to be grilled by top industry professionals, including Iain Gibbons from Virgin Money and Lynn Bassett from Nike UK/Ireland.

Three finalists were asked a series of questions such as ‘what makes you nervous?’, ‘who do you look up to personally?’ and ‘when have you worked as a team?’. The participants were then judged on whether they would get the hypothetical job on offer.

At the end of the contest, a discussion was opened up to the wider audience to give them a chance to ask top employers questions about interviewing and experience.

Earlier on in the day, the cafe hosted a ‘GetGlobal’ fair which included stalls from the Careers Service, Geo Internships, the Language Resource Centre and a social entreprise stall.

Fiona Miller, a representative from the Careers Service said: “with an increased focus on globalisation for business, many companies’ top goals are to expand into other countries.”

According to figures given by the Language Resource Centre, ‘12,862 employers look for someone with language skills’ and it is through social enterprises such as Enactus that students can ‘gain a global advantage’ over other applicants.

Enactus has done work in Dufatayne by helping to teach locals how to make sanitary products out of banana trees.

The engineering students have helped empower people on a global scale and hope to expand their work across the North East further by working with veterans in the local area.

There are various societies on campus who work for charity projects overseas and this is a great way to set someone apart from other candidates when applying for highly competitive roles.

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