I wanted to experience living in the UK, specifically London, and I had heard good things about Middlesex University. It is a reputable university and has a diverse student base, both deciding factors for me.
I would say that everybody should use their first year to really explore what is on offer at Middlesex. Find out more about what areas of your course particularly interest you. You should then look at your interest areas and see how these align with your career aspirations and personal goals.
I enjoyed my time in halls. When I was at Middlesex, I was based at the Trent Park campus which was a good campus. There were quite a few students based in halls there and it was a good feeling to all be in London studying together. I made a number of good friends in halls who I still keep in touch with.
I have always had an interest and wanted to pursue a career in computing. When I looked at the course modules, I saw that I could tailor these to suit my particular interests which I really liked.
What I really liked about Middlesex was the model of engagement with students. We could select lectures based on our interest areas and we also participated in smaller working groups which enabled us to gain more hands-on experience."
I found my final year particularly inspiring as this taught me research methodology and how to analyse and present findings in a structured manner. These skills have been useful in my career.
I think the skills and knowledge you acquire at university are particularly valuable early on in your career – from the subjects you learn about, to the methodology of solving issues and learning from your experiences, etc. It's really important you leverage these when starting out.
Every day comes with its own challenges – it is never mundane as each client and project is different. You get exposure to different types of work and the opportunity to travel and learn about business practices in different countries. This offers a range of personal and professional development opportunities.
I interviewed for a variety of jobs after university but I think what differentiated me from other candidates was my contribution to academic research. I wrote a range of papers, including a paper on Cloud Computing. I think these papers allowed potential employers to identify ways in which I could be aligned to their business. I think any student with spare time on their hands should look at writing and possibly publishing academic papers or presenting the findings at conferences.
After I completed my undergraduate degree at Middlesex I went on to study for a masters and then completed an MBA before I started working. Further education plays a critical role in showing offer your talent to employers.
I think a lot of new graduates go into a role with certain preconceived expectations about the type of work they would like to do or projects / experiences they would like to work on and achieve. The reality is you often find yourself involved in work which is loosely linked but not completely relevant to your field.
I think it is really important to never turn down these opportunities and to always explore areas which you might not initially think fit with your aspirations. This enables you to build competencies and very often, you find that your interest lies in an area you had not previously considered and that this is what you are really good at.
I don't think I could pinpoint one particular thing but I would say that it is important to always be able to identify mistakes or areas where you can do better and learn from these. Everybody makes mistakes from time to time but the ability to correct these and use what you learn from your errors to your advantage is crucial. People who continue to make the same mistakes or can't identify these find themselves running into the same issues time and again.